What media personalities have the power to move books into best sellerdom?
July 2, 2010 11:15 AM   Subscribe

Oprah Book Club has made careers. I recently heard that Glenn Beck (!) is also getting in on that action. So - are there other media icons whose word pushes books up the bestseller list? And who regularly and consciously set aside time or space to make it happen?(They need not be US based, by the way.)

I suppose the morning talk shows, but they're sort of generic, no? Also, are they quantifiable?
posted by IndigoJones to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
In the UK there was the Richard and Judy Book Club, which had a similarly big effect on book sales over here.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 11:19 AM on July 2, 2010

Appearing on Stephen Colbert's Colbert Report can result in the "Colbert Bump".

He usually has a featured author in each episode.
posted by hjd at 11:25 AM on July 2, 2010

I've heard many times that getting a book or music CD onto the relevant features in All Things Considered will make your career.
posted by Miko at 11:26 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Daily Show has a much bigger bump than Colbert.

These things are never quantifiable, but when I publish a book, here (in rough order of preference) are the TV/Radio programs I dream of getting my authors on, that I know can sell books (but note that even the best programs aren't sure bets):

Oprah (I have never yet worked on a book that's made her show—this is very pie in the sky)
Morning Edition
The Daily Show
All Things Considered
Weekend Edition
Good Morning America
Fresh Air with Terry Gross
Martha Stewart
CBS Sunday Morning

I wouldn't actually even put Colbert on my "dream" list—since he skewers everyone he interviews (even when he's emphasizing their viewpoints' validity), sales after an appearance there are a mixed bag.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:03 PM on July 2, 2010 [3 favorites]

Don Imus talks about books and to authors regularly on his morning radio show, and would happily talk about his influence. Or at least, he did when he was on WFAN. Now that he's moved to WABC, I don't listen.
posted by booksherpa at 12:22 PM on July 2, 2010

You might be interested in CBC's annual Canada Reads competition. Each year, five Canadian books (sometimes classics, sometimes recent titles, always fiction) are defended by five celebrity panelists in a round-table discussion format, with books gradually being knocked out of competition until one is declared the winner. It's fairly high-profile and definitely helps sales - a CBC blogger reports that "According to BookNet, the books selected saw an average sales increase of 1623 per cent within the first week."
posted by oulipian at 12:33 PM on July 2, 2010

Response by poster: Pretty much what I was looking for, and many thanks to all. (Not that I'm closing the matter, you understand, more always welcome)
posted by IndigoJones at 3:45 PM on July 2, 2010

Glenn Beck totally makes a difference for authors -- the TV show is better than the radio show, but the radio show still causes a bump in sales.

An Oprah is not a guaranteed bestseller actually -- I've worked on books that made it on Oprah with huge impact, and on books that made it on Oprah with barely a blip, even though that particular episode was a favorite of hers and has been re-aired since the original.

The Today Show is totally quantifiable, as is Good Morning America (Today is more desirable than GMA). We frequently negotiate a "network package" -- morning show, daytime show and evening program.

Rachael Ray makes an impact. A radio or TV satellite tour (the author in a studio in their hometown, calling into 10 or 20 radio or TV morning shows in one day) has a big impact.

Amazon guest reviews make a big difference too, actually. We've had a lot of success this year with authors promoting other authors -- the "author mentor program" we jokingly call it. This is where a big author supports a newer one on their blog or Facebook page, or an author with a large platform in one country supports an author with a big platform in another country and vice versa.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 5:12 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

I sortof thought/think that This American Life *made* David Sedaris; not that he wasn't a good writer but rather hadn't been exposed to many readers prior to his readings on TAL.
posted by dancestoblue at 9:15 PM on July 2, 2010

Response by poster: the "author mentor program" we jokingly call it.

Ah, good old log rolling. Not that I disapprove, mind.

Rachel Ray. Who woulda thought? (Still tend to think of her as a foodie, not a chatty.) But sure, makes sense. Interesting too that Orah's not a guaranteed Midas after all.

(Wasn't Sedaris already chatting on TAL before he started writing books? I mean to say, I remember when he first appeared with the Macy's Christmas elf thing (okay, it wasn't TAL, but it was radio). Didn't think he'd be writing books.)

Again, thanks to all. I love this resource.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:22 PM on July 5, 2010

« Older Recommend writing about depression   |   Great social/economic infographics? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.