Every single week someone writes, calls, texts, or flies an airplane banner over my home asking if I can facilitate an introduction to Glenn Beck.
The requests are typically based on the fact that Jason Wright is a Mormon, Glenn Beck is a Mormon, and I’ve been on his show. Naturally we must be BFFs, right?
Usually people wanting my access to Glenn have a new book coming out, a just-finished manuscript in search of a publisher, or maybe a line of cotton aprons with conservative slogans plastered on the front with a Bedazzler.
Other times they just want to say they’ve shaken his hand or talked to him on the phone. One “friend” even wanted me to invite Glenn to a surprise birthday party in Dallas. And by “friend” I mean we met on Facebook when he threw a sheep at me.
These requests come from all corners of the country. A woman in Virginia asked me to tell Glenn she prefers him in his blue sweater and to wear it more often. A man from Oregon suggested Glenn put a “cussin’ jar” on the set to encourage him to keep his language under control.
One request came all the way from Australia. After catching me on Glenn’s program, a woman e-mailed this gem: “Please tell Mr. Beck someone from the Outback thinks he’s an idiot.” No mate, I didn’t pass that one along, but I think of you every time I eat a bloomin’ onion.
It’s not that I’m annoyed by these requests; I just don’t understand them. Somehow these well-meaning folks assume Glenn and I play golf every Friday and have cart races on the 18th fairway. It’s simply not true.
What is true is that Glenn is a friend. We met in 2005 when “Christmas Jars” was still a speck on the national radar and nowhere near a New York Times bestseller. Before the book was even in stores, my publisher sent Glenn an advance readers’ copy (known as ARC’s) with a note requesting he give it a look and consider endorsing or discussing it on the air. But that’s hardly unusual. Like most publishers, they send ARC’s to all sorts of media personalities from Beck to Lauer and from Regis to Ellen. That first year, we were so desperate we probably sent one to Handy Manny.
Weeks passed without word from anyone and we assumed the book was lost somewhere in the giant pile Glenn and his counterparts receive each month.
Then the phone rang. A week before Christmas a cousin called and suggested I turn on my radio because Glenn was discussing my book. No, he wasn’t just discussing it, he was reading from it. He read nearly the entire first chapter and gushed about it with enthusiasm even the ShamWow guy would envy.
The next day I called his radio show, introduced myself and Glenn graciously endorsed the book once again on the air. He told his listeners that the previous Friday someone from his radio staff had begged him to take home a book for the weekend and make progress on the stack of ARC’s awaiting his attention. He gave the tower of books a quick scan and pulled out the thinnest, having faith it was something he could actually finish by Monday morning. There’s no other way to put it: That good fortune changed my life.
A year later he invited me to join him on his television show to share some of the true “Christmas Jars” miracles I’d heard since the book’s release.
Another year later he read and endorsed “The Wednesday Letters,” again inviting me on television and radio. Then came “Recovering Charles,” which Glenn again praised and promoted with me at his side.
In 2008, Glenn asked me to co-write “The Christmas Sweater,” and I was fortunate to spend time on the phone and in-person hearing his personal story and his vision for sharing it with the world. It remains a highlight of my writing career.
Last year, Glenn made time in a very busy season to again discuss the “Christmas Jars” movement on his radio and TV programs. I spent the day in his offices, soaking up the energy and capturing as many memories as I could. At one point during a one-on-one discussion in his office, I actually became emotional discussing a personal trial. He hugged me and offered words of encouragement. It was a tender moment I hold dear.
Since first meeting Glenn, he’s become a national phenomenon. There was a time I could get him on the phone, but that’s become a near impossible task for all but his closest associates. There were many days he replied to my e-mails; now he must receive more e-mails everyday than I receive in a year.
Even his staff, the most loyal bunch I’ve ever encountered, is much harder to communicate with. But such are the challenges and realities of being the No. 3 most popular radio show in the country, a TV mega star and a publishing machine. As his star has grown, the protective layers around him have understandably multiplied and thickened.
Obviously, I understand the desire to connect to Glenn Beck. I owe him a great deal, and I readily acknowledge I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. Love him or hate him, his clout in the publishing marketplace is colossal. When Glenn mentions, endorses or interviews an author, he moves books like no one but Oprah, the original kingmaker.
If I were as successful and visible as Glenn, would I want my friends constantly using our friendship as an entree for everyone who needs my time or name on the back of their book? Would I resent the fact that being friends with Jason means he’ll bombard me with every next-big-thing that hits his in-box? I’ll never know, but I can certainly imagine.
No, I can’t introduce you to Glenn Beck. But I like you and I’m glad we’re friends/acquaintances/neighbors/complete strangers. What I can do is invite you to watch his show, listen to his radio program, read his books and enjoy everything his growing empire has to offer.
If you have a book, CD or other creation to promote and it’s something in Glenn’s wheelhouse, Google his address at Fox News in New York and send it to him. Trust me, it’s worth a shot.
Finally, I promise that if Glenn and I ever race those golf carts, I’ll tell him you prefer the blue sweater.