Guest blogger Jennifer Oko has been a network news producer, a documentary filmmaker, a freelance print journalist, and an author. Her new novel Gloss is a sly and irresistibly dishy peek at the ratings-driven, celebrity mad world of TV news from a network insider. She is also the author of the memoir (written under her maiden name, Jennifer Beth Cohen) Lying Together:My Russian Affair.
You can catch Jennifer Oko read tonight at 7:30 at Barnes and Noble in Bethesda.
Guest Blogger—Jennifer Oko
I am sitting at the Barnes and Noble café in Bethesda, MD, having just smeared cream cheese all over my keyboard and hoping that the damage caused won’t require me to run crying to the Mac “genius bar” down the street. The glamorous life of a just published author. This is actually not my usual writing venue, but two completely self-interested compulsions drove me here (really, what compulsions aren’t in some way self-interested?). The first is that I had to get my car repaired at the Honda dealership across the street and am now stuck in Bethesda until it gets fixed. The second is a little more fun… there is a large poster of me and my new book Gloss in the window.
Gloss was published last week and I am reading at this Barnes and Noble location on Tuesday night, and since the promotional life of a book tends to be short (and the publicity reach of a first time novelist is even shorter), I am trying to grab my thrills while I can.
John Grisham I am not. Not Michael Chabon either. And, as someone who works in the media (my day job is at CBS News), I am well aware that as much as authors need big press, the big press needs big authors. In fact, I was recently informed by one media entity that while they loved Gloss, due to a time/space issue they had to pull my appearance. Which is a bummer. And somewhat ironic since Gloss is a media satire, focusing in large part on the power of celebrity over the news business. Perhaps my sitting here in the shadow of my poster is a little hypocritical because, after writing a book all critical of the celebrity/press relationship, I am soaking up what I can of my own personal 15 minutes (er, seconds?). Because it’s not just about book sales (though sales are certainly nice). It’s also about the quiet glory of seeing your book (the writing of which was once a private, almost secretive venture), publicly displayed on the shelves—and in the window—of a well-trafficked store.