Thursday, November 06, 2008

No Rush for Bush Memoir

With a little over 70 days before President-Elect Barack Obama takes office, you might think current president George W. Bush would be thinking about writing his memoirs. According to a Canadian Press item released today, publishers most likely have one word of advice for Bush: Take your time.
“If I were advising President (George W.) Bush, given how the public feels about him right now, I think patience would probably be something that I would encourage,” says Paul Bogaards, executive director of publicity for Alfred A. Knopf, which in 2004 released Bill Clinton’s million-selling “My Life.”

“Certainly, the longer he waits, the better,” says Marji Ross, president and publisher of the conservative Regnery Publishing, which is more likely to take on anti-Obama books in the next few years than any praises of Bush.

“There’s a pent-up frustration among conservatives that will focus their attention on a Barack Obama presidency and lead them to buy a lot of books about Barack Obama. But that’s not the kind of emotion that anyone is going to use to turn to reading a memoir by a conservative president.”
Curtis Sittenfeld, author of the bestselling novel American Wife (Random House), feels that a Laura Bush memoir might be a different story:
“When I give readings, a disproportionate number of people who buy my book are middle-aged women who say, ‘My mother loves Laura Bush!’ So I suspect that I and a lot of 90-year-old ladies would line up for a Laura Bush memoir on the day of publication,” Sittenfeld says.

“And honestly, I have found that a lot of people in general -- men and women of various ages -- seem to have vaguely positive feelings about her, or just to wonder what she thinks, and feel that they know surprisingly little about her, given the visibility of her position. Because of this, I’m sure it (a memoir) would be a huge best seller.”

And a book by her husband?

“Personally, I would find a memoir by President Bush resistible.
Meanwhile, aspiring authors take note: one way to boost the sales of your books is to win a presidential election. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Obama’s Tuesday win has been super good for sales of his books:
As expected, Barack Obama’s memoirs, The Audacity of Hope (2006) and Dreams From My Father (1995), were given a sales boost immediately following the Illinois senator's historic victory in this presidential campaign. As of noon today, the two books ranked 3 and 8, respectively, on’s best seller list.
The full CP item is here. The Chicago Sun-Times piece is here.


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