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Here’s one book that won’t need a boost from Oprah’s book club to make the best-seller list: Oprah’s own memoir.
Winfrey, who heads up her own network and production company, and headlined the top-rated Oprah Winfrey Show from 1986-2011, has signed with Flatiron Books, an imprint of Macmillan, for her memoir The Life You Want, which will be published in January 2017.
Winfrey said in a statement she hopes her story “inspires other people to live the highest, fullest expression of themselves” and that “anyone can put their life on a new trajectory.” She added the book will feature never-before-told stories, “even the painful ones.” Winfrey is said to be in the very earliest stages of the writing process.
As part of the deal, Winfrey is also starting her own publishing imprint at Macmillan. The untitled line will focus on nonfiction and publish a handful of titles a year.
In a release, Bob Miller, president and publisher of Flatiron Books, called the memoir “a remarkable combination of Oprah’s life story and the lessons we can all draw from it for our personal growth.” He added, “We’re also thrilled to give a home to Oprah’s imprint titles. We all know how extraordinary Oprah’s instincts are when it comes to choosing books, instincts borne of her lifelong love of reading and the power of the written word.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a Winfrey book likely netted one of the largest advances in publishing history. With the possible exception of Barbra Streisand, there’s no entertainment figure whose life story would generate as much interest — or as large an advance — as Oprah’s memoir.
Instead, the most appropriate comparisons would be to former First Lady and current Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton, who received $8 million for her White House memoir and a reported $14 million for a book about her time as President Obama’s Secretary of State. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, got $15 million for his White House memoir.
In 2014, Winfrey published What I Know for Sure, a collection of her columns from O, the Oprah Magazine, which was an immediate New York Times best-seller. The book was the debut title for Flatiron. It also published O’s Little Guide to Finding Your True Purpose, which collected material from the magazine, in October.
Winfrey was repped by Jennifer Rudolph Walsh at WME on the book deal.