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This blog post was inspired by the Yosemite episode of “Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes” on Oprah’s new OWN network. I find this series absolutely inspiring because it gives the viewers a peek into what goes into making a successful show like the Oprah show was. And it gives us a peek into the life of a 50-something successful woman.

The secret to Oprah’s success is knowing what her viewers want - she may not want that or even agree with it - but she knows what her viewers want. And her producers know what the viewers want. What the producers don’t always seem to know is what Oprah wants. I feel like I understand Oprah - but not always her viewers. But what I’m hoping to understand is who my audience is and how to give them what they want.

Analyzing the feedback I've received from my first published novel, Real Women Wear Red , I've discovered three things:

   1. I’m more likely to please the reader if they‘re looking for a story about a 40-something woman.

   2. I may disappoint a reader if they‘re looking for a Caribbean island experience because the book focuses on the characters and shipboard life and not the Caribbean.

   3. I seem to please readers mostly from the west coast with a few special readers from the east coast - Canada and the UK!

In analyzing early feedback I'm getting for my second published novel, The Tom Jones Club , I've learned three things:

   1. I’m more likely to please the reader if they‘re looking for romantic, women’s fiction.

   2. I’m less likely to please die-hard romance readers (at least I got kudos on the sex scenes - lol).

   3. I seem to please readers mostly from the west coast with a few special readers from the east coast - Canada and the UK!

The Oprah show was disappointed when the Yosemite ranger didn’t jump up and down like an Oprah audience usually does. They were disappointed that Oprah didn’t love camping. The whole point of the show was to show the Black community how fabulous camping is. But Americans are not all the same. Like Oprah said at the end of the show, “Black people don’t want to live like they‘re homeless on the weekend.” The entire Chicago producer team didn’t get it that life is different in the west, either.

What isn’t often recognized in our country is the culture gap around the country. I grew up in southern California and lived up and down the west coast most of my life. But then I married into a family from the northeast, spent a year in Ohio, and then 4 years in Florida. Suddenly, I was exposed to the “other side of the country” culture. And the culture is so different. In fact, while in Ohio, I spoke with someone who derisively spoke of those from the “salt water” states. Well, that would be me. lol!

One thing I’ve realized is that if I’m going to make it as a successful author, I’m going to have to figure out how to connect with readers from different parts of the country. The first thing may be choosing the right genre for my writing.  

I also think my focus may be the whole over 40 thing - my chicksover40 blog was quite popular when I first started blogging in 2005. Women loved 40-something Cyn in "RWWR" and I published a short story in A Shaker of Margaritas: Hot Flash Mommas . The readers who "get" my writing are usually over 40 and they connect with what I'm saying - no matter where they're from. And that's the fiction I need to focus on - focus on my strengths.

But whether people like me or not, get me or not, should all of my efforts fail, well, Oprah said it best at the end of the show when she said this:

    "I'm living a life that's Sensational! If you get it, you get it. But if you don't get it, if you missed that, stick around and there will be another sensational moment coming up."  

I love that! And I think that’s the beauty of growing older - you can feel more in tune with who you are and it matters less and less what other people think. I got so caught up in reviews lately that I forgot that truth for a moment. But most of the time, this is exactly how I feel:

    "If you get me, you get me. And if you don't, well I can't help that. I can't please everyone - I can only write from my point of view. My hope is that I will find those and connect with those who do get it. Because when I do, well, that's the icing on the cake."  

That attitude is absolutely freeing! It’s Sensational!  

PS - If you’ve read my books and enjoyed them, I would so appreciate a review on amazon. Thank you all!

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kathy Holmes wrote Jan 24, 2011
    • You are so right, Eva. I’ve been tossing and turning, trying to figure out what I should change about my writing to connect with more people - I sometimes wonder how I can connect with more people. But it takes people awhile to get me but once they do, they really get me. In fact, I’m going to post another blog post saying something similar to what I already said but I must say it this way, too.

      Thanks so much for your words - helps so much!


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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Msj wrote Apr 29, 2011
    • Kathy,
      Great blog!heart

      I love your reply!heart

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