...that Laura Bush has signed a deal with Scribner to pen her memoir, and the guesstimates are that the deal will come in around $8 million.
The celebrity memoir rant is one of my favorites, and perfect for my Blog a Day Challenge kickoff. I'm participating in the challenge organized by the blog-genius Dani at BlogBookTours, an event which stretches to the end of the month. But I digress...
What, one might ask, can Laura Bush, a woman who has lived in the national spotlight for eight years, have to reveal (that she is also willing to reveal) that justifies $8 million dollars? A good question, but the better one is when will the big houses stop doing this crazy stuff? The scenario will be that, since the publisher has millions on the line, they will strong arm stores and distributors to take on pallet-loads of the Laura book. Probably they will buy end-caps in the big stores and do a bunch of co-op ads. Then of course, after it's released, Laura will be everywhere for a few weeks, Fox & Friends, The View, Charlie Rose, Hardball, and all the rest. If the book is moving, everyone will be happy. If not, the returns process will kick in and Laura will end up on the remainders tables with Whoopi Goldberg, Katherine Hepburn, and all the other celebrity books that were busts.
My favorite is Marsha Clark's deal. Remember her? The LA prosecutor who LOST the OJ Simpson murder case. She got a $4 million media deal (there were other things in it beyond the book...like hosting a TV show and so on) to issue the 80th book on the trial of the century. It didn't do well, and Marsha seems to have faded back into obscurity to enjoy her millions. Even after that, Johnnie Cochran penned a memoir. And it did worse! It was remaindered within the first month or so.
Years ago, as I was starting Oak Tree, I went to NYC for fact-finding. I made a bunch of appointments with editors at the big houses, just to chat. They were very gracious. The Whoopi Goldberg memoir had come out and laid its big egg just a few months earlier. When I met with a big editor at Random House, we got on the topic of the celebrity memoir, and, being a sparky sort of gal, I just asked him outright, "Why do you keep doing these memoirs that don't make it?" He said, "We know from our model that one in ten will be a big seller. We're willing to lose on nine to get to the tenth one."
I can still remember how stunned I was, and I still can't fathom the idea of accepting nine loser titles in order to get to the great one.
In my fantasies, I like to take a bejillion dollar advance and imagine divvying it up among all my clients...it's still a nice chunk of change!