Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sarah Palin: "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"

The Anchorage Daily News, charged with keeping tabs on its peripatetic governor, reports that Sarah Palin is set to sign a book deal with Rupert Murdoch's Harper Collins Publishers. The exact amount of the book deal has not been announced, but it's sure to be a whopper. Then again, Palin has some whoppers to tell.

Here's an excerpt from the News story:

News reports this winter suggested Palin was pursuing an $11 million advance. She called that figure "laughable" in January but has never provided another. Palin has said she would give a portion of any money she makes from a book to charities although she hasn't decided how much or which ones.

Palin hired Robert Barnett, a Washington, D.C., lawyer who is one of the most powerful figures in book publishing, to negotiate the deal for her memoir. His past deals reportedly include $12 million for Bill Clinton's memoir and an $8.5 million advance for Alan Greenspan.

Barnett said in an interview Tuesday that HarperCollins was "first and fervent" in pursuing the Palin book.

This is a big reason why publishers have no money to publish real writers, such as some I know in Wyoming and throughout the Rocky Mountain West.

Instead, they publish crap by high profile people, books that people never read. However, they may buy a copy to put on their coffee table. They may also buy a copy if they can get it signed in person by the "author." I once did this with one of Newt Gingrich's books. I stood in line for two hours in a Bethesda Border's store and had the most interesting conversations. Not everyone was a Republican, as Maryland is as bereft of Repubs (except in Michael Steele's burg) as Wyoming is lacking in Dems.

I was able to utter a few comments about saving the National Endowment for the Arts as Newt scribbled his name on the title page. This may have been the reason that Newt helped salvage the NEA's literary fellowships when the big "Contract with America" cuts came down in 1994. Or maybe I'm being a bit grandiose. But I did read a bit of the book before I put it in the mail to my Dad in Florida. Not bad. The guy can write. He's a big name in the "alternative futures" or "spec-fic" sci-fi category.

But Sarah Palin? Which category will her book be in? Speculative pasts? Ridiculous presents?

Some funny book titles were suggested tonight on Keith Olbermann's show. "The Audacity of Hype" is a good one. Since Palin has said she's a C.S. Lewis fan, someone suggested "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." You have to think about that one a little bit.


Joanne said...

Thanks for saying what I've been thinking!
What annoys me most is the celebrity children's picture book market. Every celebrity out there - Billy Crystal, Jay Leno, Ray Romano, etc., etc. - feels compelled to slap together a kids' book. They're okay books - but their medeocrity is taking up space on the shelves that should go to budding Maurice Sendaks and Margaret Wise Browns.
Okay, I'll step off the soapbox!

Joanne said...

Yikes! That's "mediocrity."
Flunked that spelling test, didn't I?

Michael Shay said...

Joanne: Some of these people have huge "platforms" but only a modicum of creativity. I'll take the creativity any day.