You know you’re reeeeally famous when (a) your last name has become optional, (b) total strangers think you’re their best friend, (c) the people closest to you start writing books.
And if you happen to be Oprah (Winfrey), those books probably won’t be tell-alls. Unlike most megacelebrities, the talk-show host, actress, and producer actually seems to be encouraging members of her entourage to take pen to paper — even joining in the fun herself.
”It was her idea,” says personal trainer Bob Greene of Make the Connection, a fitness guide in which the two outline, in tag-team fashion, the sensible, unfaddish diet-and-exercise plan that helped Oprah beat the bulge. ”When she was first losing the weight,” explains Greene, ”she said, ‘You should do a book!’ That was in ’93. But I’m glad we waited, because her friends and relatives were skeptical that she would keep it off. Now she really understands the program.”
In the tradition of the self-help vernacular that talk shows helped to popularize, this ”program” has, of course, steps. Ten of them. The final and most important, asserts Greene, is spiritual. ”The beauty of daily renewal,” he writes, ”is that no matter how yesterday went, you have the opportunity to improve on it and better yourself today.”
Yeah, that’s just what Hyperion must be thinking. After all, In the Kitchen With Rosie, the 1994 effort by Oprah’s then chef, Rosie Daley, sold a delicious 6 million copies for Knopf and stayed on best-seller lists for 49 weeks — the book industry’s equivalent of great Nielsens. Hyperion is banking on similar success, with a million-dollar national marketing campaign and a flurry of publicity that includes September appearances by star and trainer on Dateline NBC, the Today show, and, of course, Oprah.
So who’s up next — the hairdresser? The dry cleaner? No, the next self-help book by an Oprah intimate is by her boyfriend, Stedman Graham. Coming from Simon & Schuster next March, it’s called You Can Make It Happen: A Nine-Step Plan for Success. You mean we could have done it in only nine?