Thursday, August 9, 2012

Funny People Laugh To The Bank

Who know that small claims court could be so lucrative? Judge Judy makes 45 million dollars a year to yell at and berate people who seem too dumb to even watch the show. Her TV gig as chief screamer leaves her, by far, the highest paid individual on TV.

America loves its entertainment Next up is David Letterman. He just needs to tell a few jokes and gets paid 28 million dollars annually. Jay Leno gets $25 million. I guess he isn’t as funny as Letterman. Today Show’s Matt Lauer earns 21.5 million bucks. Kelly Ripa is at 20 million and another faux judge – Judge Brown -- gets 20 million dollars. Mariah Carey will get 17 million for American Idol and Howard Stern reeled in 15 million for his America’s Got Talent gig. Jon Stewart, perhaps the most talented of them all, earns 15 million dollars – a paltry two-thirds less than Judge Angry.

So what does all of this mean?

Real actors and actresses aren’t making the most money on TV for their scripted or reality shows. Real newscasters aren’t raking it in either. Only those who make us laugh or entertain us seem to get the pot of gold. Perhaps book publishing should take note.

Books about scandal, sex, and making money seem to sell well. So do some novels. But book publishing may have a potential growth area in comedy and entertainment-related books. Certainly books by or about people like Jon Stewart have done well. Now, more than ever, America needs a few good laughs. It may just be the funnier the book, the bigger the payoff. 

Interview With Bestselling Author Julie L. Cannon

1.      What type of books do you write? I write fiction. Specifically, my stories are literary and they are set in the South. My agent calls my work ’organically spiritual’ which is not surprising since I live in what Flannery O’Connor refers to as the ‘Christ-haunted South.’

2.      What is your latest or upcoming book about? Twang (Abingdon Press, Aug. ’12) is a novel about the cathartic nature of art. Twang shows how you can redeem those seemingly unredeemable times in your life by looking them in the eye and using them to create a work of art.

3.      What inspired you to write it? Conway Twitty's quote that goes "A good country song takes a page out of somebody's life and puts it to music." I played that old 'what if' game writers love. I asked myself, 'What if there was this girl, this exceptionally talented girl who could write music and sing and play the guitar like nobody’s business? A girl who had a miserable childhood? What if she runs away from her past, makes it big in Nashville, but then her manager convinces her to revisit her past in order to write more powerful songs?

4.      What did you do before you became an author? I have a degree in Journalism (emphasis in Advertising and PR) but my work history after college is primarily sales, with a closet life as a writer until I got my first book contract.

5.      How does it feel to be a published author? The published part is very humbling, very surreal sometimes, that I am able to do this thing I adore and that someone would put their faith in me enough to print and publicize my books. I also feel a responsibility when I write, to those souls who plunk down hard-earned dollars to buy my work. I feel I must use my gift coupled with my experiences to give them something real, something that will make their life better. I want to make a difference in this world.

6.      Any advice for struggling writers? If it is your dream to write, if it makes your soul sing, do NOT give up. Sit your behind in that chair and write! I’ve gotten plenty of rejections, but I try not to let them discourage me. I make myself write at least 1,000 words a day, except on Sundays and that occasional instance when I choose to take time off for family and friends. Study your craft! Even though I just sold novel number seven, I still study my craft constantly by reading in my genre, and by reading 'how-to-write' books. Struggling writers should continually submit their work, and stay open to suggestions and criticisms.

7.      Where do you see book publishing heading? From what I've seen, I can only guess that the trend toward self-publishing and e-books will continue to grow. As far as the civil war raging right now between traditionally published vs. self-published, I don't know how I feel. Perhaps we need more police in the self-publishing community? But overall, I think it’s a good thing for book publishing. I remember reading an article that illustrated how fearful people were when paperback books first appeared on the market.
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