Several times during the process of a new book release, the guys from our office in Nashville get together with the marketing and public relations team from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I assume the meetings are fairly serious…unless I am there! I do occasionally attend these meetings of the minds and actually, it is interesting to hear the hopes and plans everyone has for a particular book.
There is one moment, however, in every meeting I have attended where everyone laughs uproariously. It’s never decided in advance who gets to say “the line” and it is usually uttered during one of the most solemn times. The question is always directed at me. When the question is spoken aloud, my part is to roll my eyes or act like I’m passing out while everyone else laughs. Then we get back to work.
Here is the question: “Andy, have you ever thought about getting your book on Oprah’s show?”
The reason that question draws hoots from our crowd is because I have actually been asked that question about ten thousand times! I usually respond with, “Good idea! And we do have some folks looking into that.” Which is the truth. It is a good idea and I have had folks looking into that for the past twenty years.
What I want to say is, “You are kidding, right? Every book the woman mentions becomes a best seller. Do you really think that it never occurred to me to get the book to Oprah? Or her people? Or her dentist? Or her third cousin??? Trust me, we have done everything but pitch a tent in the lady’s driveway to get the book—and I mean any one of the books—to Oprah!”
That’s what I want to say, but I know folks mean well and only want the best for my family and me. I understand that people develop a passion for a particular book because it helped them or a family member with a part of their lives. It only follows that caring people would want to share something they love with others. I appreciate that. But after reading a discussion on Facebook a few minutes ago, I knew that you and I needed to have this “talk.”
The discussion was about an article I had written that appeared this morning on FoxNews.com. I won’t go into the details of the discussion, and you can read it here yourself but the gist of it was whether or not I should have chosen FOX to publish my article.
One person commented “the fact that you would write something for FoxNews breaks my heart.”
Okay. I think it is time I tell you something that a few of you don’t know. Brace yourself…here it is… I am not as big a deal as you might think.
You see, the reality of my being published by FoxNews.com is this: The article was offered (for free) to CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, USA TODAY, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and about two hundred other outlets. FoxNews.com is the only organization that said, “Yes.”
While we are talking about this, please know that I don’t get to choose what radio or television shows I do either.
So far in my career as a writer, I have been fortunate to have two New York Times Bestsellers. Two. Do you know how many of my books Robin Roberts of Good Morning America has talked about on television? Two. And after that exposure, they almost immediately sold enough to hit the list.
No matter what else happens, television especially it appears, has the power of life and death over a book from an unknown author. And regardless of what you and my two boys might believe, I am not as big a deal as you might think! Ha! I have actually written books that I think are better than the two that became bestsellers. Unfortunately, it seems my wife and you are the only ones who know I have written those books… Why? No media exposure.
When The Final Summit was released last April, we were thrilled. At long last, we were bringing another David Ponder adventure to the millions of people who first read about him in The Traveler’s Gift. The book did not do well. Do you know how many television shows I appeared on in support of The Final Summit? Zero. None. Oh, we tried to get on every show, on every network, that exists. We tried for months. To no avail.
There are three reasons I am willing to share this (kind of embarrassing) information…three reasons I wanted you to understand how this works behind the scenes.
1) You are more to me than “my readers.” You are my friends, my teachers, my examples, and you are the people to whom I am accountable for my words and actions. In addition, you are my partners in sharing principles that you and I believe will make a difference in the lives of others.
2) When you see me on a particular television show or read my words in a particular media forum, please know that I did not necessarily choose that venue. For whatever reason, they were gracious enough to allow you and me airtime in order to express our way of thinking. Even if you or I disagree philosophically with a particular host or even a particular network, don’t we want to get these principles—these books—in the hearts and minds of their viewers? Of course we do!
3) I need your help. The book How Do You Kill 11 Million People? is coming out now. This may not be the best thing I’ve ever done, but I think it might be the most important! Once again, this book is evidently facing a tough road with “the television thing.” If this book is to make the difference in America that we believe it can, “word of mouth” is my hope and prayer.
In closing, I will thank you again for your tremendous contribution to my life. With your questions and encouragement, you challenge me to think in ways and directions that—were it not for you—would remain unexplored in my mind.
How Do You Kill 11 Million People? was itself born of a good question. And I believe there is a question that remains about the direction and very future of our country and our children and grandchildren. That question must now be answered by good and worthy people like you.
If, when you read the book, you feel that it is deserving of your attention, I am asking you to speak up. Talk, email, give, call, post, share…and if you know Oprah’s third cousin, ask her to help, too!
This is gonna be fun!