American Idol Without Simon Cowell: Five Things We’ll Miss (Paula Abdul, for One).

Paula-abdul-simon-cowellromance-240x300 I'll admit it: I was an addict.


I sobered up this year.

I don't blame the talent. Those kids sing their hearts out. It's their time to shine, their shot at the brass ring.

Nope, what made me go cold turkey was the thought that two of the four constant integers of the marvelous equation that made up IDOL — judges Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul — would no longer be a part of it.

It was bad enough when Paula left. If IDOL were a Hostess Ding Dong, Paula was the kooky gooey center that held together the dry crumbs so blithely tossed out to us,the plebian masses, by Simon.

Think Abbot (Simon) without Costello (Paula).  Or Kirk (Simon) without Spock (Paula).

Or (more gender-appropriately) Ricky without Lucy.

Yeah, okay, Paula is a flake. But to paraphrase Roosevelt, she's our flake.

Or was.

I actually like Kara. Randy knows his stuff, but needs a new schtick.

And who doesn't love Ellen? But seeing her on IDOL is like the first time you saw William Shatner do comedy after STAR TREK. He has the chops, but it's blowin' your couch-potatoe'd mind.

Which brings us back to Simon. What are the five things we'll miss most? Here's my list:

1. The wit. Say what you want about the man, he's sharp (ouch! that hurt!) as a tack.

2. The cutting remarks. No one slices and dices like Simon. Frankly he should move to the Food Network

3. That raised eyebrow at one of his jester's (fellow Atlanta native Ryan Seacrest's) many foibles.

4. The non-posh Brit accent.

5. The advice. He is a master class in the commercial music industry. And in TV land.

In other words, without him, IDOL is . . . . just a singing contest.

Goodbye, Simon. We knew ye well enough to love to hate you.

Well, the king is dead. Long live the king.

Back to reality TV,


Next Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

In bookstores June 1, 2010. Order it

"Hollywood's got nothing on the cast of characters living in
bedroom community of Paradise Heights, who have the secrets, sex, money
and scandal of an OK! Magazine cover story. Josie Brown is a skilled
observer whose clever dialogue and feisty style make for truly
entertaining reading."

, bestselling author of Hollywood Wives and Poor Little Bitch Girl

bookstores June 1, 2010. Pre-order

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From Your
Local Independent Bookstore

From Powell's


I Want My Book TV! Using the AMERICAN IDOL Model in Publishing

If the publishing industry is to survive, it has to promote it's products (books and authors) and its brands (imprints — and again, authors).

That's the wave of the future.

And the eBook — the fastest growing distribution method in the publishing industry — ia taking us there, at warp speed.

Sure, technology is the lead horse, but shouldn't publishing houses be grab the reins — and the bulk of sales?

That means more promotion.

And creating more impulse sales.

And opening up point-of-sale in more venues.

Not just publishing houses, but bookstores, too. If they want to survive (let alone thrive) they must must get on the bandwagon . . .

Or go the way of the buggywhip store.

I'm talking bread and circuses here.

Yep, the more, the merrier. Make it a happening, a be-in.

I'm talking a book slam. In person, and in a BIG way.

Big venue, big crowds. 

Then invite the world.

Some booksellers get this.The town in which I was born and raised (as we say in the South) puts on a world-class book fair. The Decatur Book Festival (in Georgia) is something that the independent book stores in the area should be proud of. I know I am.

If the world can't be there in person, take them there, via TV and radio.

Podcast it. YouTube it.

Forget about "American Idol." What about "American Novelist?"

But big ideas take big bucks.

Which brings us to the pub houses — many of which are owned by media conglomerates. So CBS (Simon & Schuster) or ABC (Hyperion) or Fox (HarperCollins), why not devote a
few hours of TV programming each week to promoting your publishing subsidiary, and showcasing
your authors?

Make it an elimination contest. Each week, have the novelist contestants do round-robin reads of 2-3 chapters.

The audience can vote for their faves (via online, where they can also download .pdfs of the chapters they just heard).

You could have your bestsellers serve as judges–and showcase trailers of their upcoming books.


Like most readers, I love any venue that helps me visual what I'm reading. More to the point, I want the readers of my books to visualize my characters and my plots.

But let's be honest: most authors read like frightened 5th graders giving book reports.

Solution: hire up-and-coming actors that act out scenes, or to give table reads.

Afterward, the host talks with the author about plot and character.

The requisite "video bio" of the author will help endear him/her to new fans.

And of course "American Novel" will culminate in a "grand prize": a bigger advance, multi-book contract, and front table status for mid-listers.

Talk about a way to build the brands — and the sales — of your authors


You get the picture.

And yes, I am ready for my close-up,


BestSLHW Josie's Next Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

Look for it in bookstores June 1, 2010

From Amazon

From Barnes & Noble

From Bigger Books

From Books a Million

From Borders

From Copperfield's

From Your Local Independent Bookstore

From Powell's