Michael on October 22nd, 2007
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Last Friday’s The Wall Street Journal featured an article titled “How Another Seinfeld Scored Her Own Big Hit.” Although Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck sold an entire print run in just three months, we’re always looking to learn.

So what is Jessica Seinfeld’s secret? Let’s just say it has a lot to do with Oprah. Read the article, then read my response below. As you see, I love The Wall Street Journal, Seinfelds and Winfreys. Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll all have lunch. We’ll go out to Chinese of course.

Or maybe some place just called “Restaurant.”

Actually, I kind of feel like some really good soup.

Here’s my response:

Publishers have long known that a single appearance by an author on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” dramatically changes the sales results of the book and, for that matter, the author’s career. Heck, if HarperCollins knew Jessica Seinfeld would definitely appear on the program, I’m sure they would have printed more books and avoided the shortfall in the first place.

Ultimately, the key to creating a mega hit—even for someone already owning the celebrity status the Seinfeld name provides—is getting on Oprah. Collins tells us that they turned down at least one similar book at about the same time they were accepting Seinfeld’s book. Collins also tells us that they took Seinfeld’s book because of her celebrity status. Why did that matter to the publisher? Collins doesn’t tell us the answer to that one, because they don’t need to. It’s obvious: Jerry Seinfeld’s wife has a much better chance of getting on Oprah.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Celebrity status is just leveraging your network, albeit at a higher level. Furthermore, Oprah has every right to bring on her show those who please her audience (and has plenty of guests who are non-celebrities—well, before their appearances, anyway). But in this story, it’s safe to say that the only true master of her domain is Oprah.

And, no, the irony of a letter to the editor as publicity isn’t lost on me. I’d love to get the title of my book in your paper anyway I can. Maybe Oprah will see it.

Michael B. Rubin
Author Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck
Portsmouth, NH

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