Sunday, May 06, 2007

Oprah and Whale Song

Today I sent off another email to my dear friend Oprah. Okay, I'll admit, she's not really my friend (yet!), since I've never met her and she doesn't know I exist. But I admire her and want to be her friend. I have renewed admiration for her after watching the show on the girls' school in Africa that she built. What an amazing, awe-inspiring gift she has given. She shared a powerful message with me through that show. I want to donate my books, visit the school and share my dream of becoming a writer...maybe of just "becoming".

But what I want most is for her to read Whale Song, so I can share my message with her.

So this is what I said to dear Oprah:
'I always wanted to be a published author. I was a journalist at 14, wrote my first novel at 16. Fiction was my PASSION! I submitted query letters, sent outlines, followed the rules and hit every brick wall possible.

I was told early on that Canadians couldn’t get published, that it was ‘impossible’, that I should do something else. I was a hairstylist, a childcare provider, a motivational speaker, a telemarketing manager, a Pampered Chef consultant. In every profession, I wrote!

In 2003 I told a friend about a novel idea. It haunted me for 2 years. It was based on a legend about killer whales close to shore―reincarnated souls saying goodbye. My friend said, “Don’t worry if it gets published. Write it for yourself! Write it because you HAVE to!”

I self-published Whale Song in 2003. In 2004, I self-published Divine Intervention. But I was shot down. One person told me, “You never should’ve self-published. That was a big mistake. No one will take you seriously.” One bookstore manager actually told me, “We’ll consign your books but we won’t let you have a signing.” When I asked why, she said “You’re a nobody.” She lectured me on why my books would “never sell”.

Determined, I self-published The River in 2005. I was interviewed on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines across Canada and the US. I created websites for authors to promote their books, organized multi-author events, spoke about self-publishing and I kept hold of my big dream.

In spring 2006, Whale Song was picked up by Kunati Books. It released in April 2007, dedicated to my brother who was murdered in 2006. I found a beat up copy of the original Whale Song in his room―the only book of mine he’d read. Whale Song has already made’s bestsellers list, has almost sold out and has a dozen film companies reading it―half from Hollywood. And I’m negotiating a movie contract for The River.

I’m now the Canadian Author Liaison for Infinity Publishing, paying it forward.

I’ve never read The Secret; I LIVE The Secret.'

(Well, I must confess, my original email probably had close to 4000 words, with spaces. And there is a restriction of 2000, with spaces, in order to send it to Oprah. Talk about self-editing! There is so much more to my story, so much I want to share with other writers, with people who have a dream. One of my mottos: "BE the magnet!")
~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, bestselling author

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