President George W. Bush has already gone down, way down, in history, but does anyone want to hear First Lady Laura Bush‘s story?
The New Yorker: “I do think she has a story to tell,” said Tim Duggan, the executive editor of HarperCollins, who had come to hear Mrs. Bush [speak at the Council for Foreign Relations]. “It’s not a surprise that she’s going to be the first one out of the gate.” Esther Newberg, an agent at International Creative Management, who was not at the council talk, agreed. “She’s the only one in the family who could get money now for a book,” she said. “Is his approval rating above 20-five? There’s no question in my mind that she would get more money than him.”
Publishers might think she’s bankable but would the First Lady’s memoir actually sell?
Laura already co-authored a children’s book, Read All About It!, with her daughter Jenna this year, but out of the 500,000 copies printed only about 77,000 have sold.
Jenna Bush’s first book, Ana’s Story, fared much better, becoming a New York Times bestseller in 2007. The First Daughter reportedly got more than $300,000 for it. Mother-in-law and former First Lady, Barbara Bush, meanwhile, has written four memoirs – one of which was co-authored by the family dog Millie.
With a talented ghostwriter and a book deal reportedly worth a couple of millions (Hillary Clinton got $8 million for her memoir Living History), Laura might be able to earn back the $3 million the Bushes recently paid for their new house in Dallas.
But many of us must be wondering whether Laura could tell a candid account of what went on in the White House over the past eight years.
“She was not forthcoming about anything that I would consider controversial,” the publisher who met with her said. “We questioned her rigorously, but it was one-word answers. I considered it the worst, or the most frustrating, meeting of its sort that I’ve ever had.”
When [another] publisher who went to the White House was asked what impression of Mrs. Bush’s politics he came away with, he sighed and said, “You got the sense she’s just like him.”
But, who knows, maybe she’ll produce an exciting read. She did spice up the 2005 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.
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