Geraldine Ferraro has signed a $1 million contract with Bantam Books for her memoirs.
In an 11-hour phone auction among 10 publishers that ended at 8:35 Wednesday night, the former Democratic vice presidential candidate assigned world publication rights to the New York firm, including Bantam Books Hardcover in the United States and Canada; paperback rights; all newspaper and magazine rights, both prepublication and postpublication; and all book club and foreign translation rights. It will be published next fall.
Stuart Applebaum, Bantam vice president and director of publicity, said yesterday that under the terms of the contract all parties concerned agreed not to discuss money or other details. Sources on publishing row, however, confirmed the million-dollar figure.
The auction, for which about 25 publishing houses had been contacted, started at $800,000 with written bids. Three top contenders vied through the day in what was described as a thrilling battle over rival package offers. "It was short of James Michener," one observer said, "but I doubt deals like this are made often."
Esther Newberg of International Creative Management, Ferraro's agent and the auctioneer, said Ferraro -- who had been kept abreast of the bidding during the day but was not directly involved -- at the end "called in and was as excited as we were." Ferraro's attorney, Robert Barnett of Williams & Connolly in Washington, was present with Newberg during the key hours of negotiations as the author's spokesman.
There is no working title yet, Newberg said, though Ferraro has set aside the next several months to concentrate on the book, drawn partly from extensive notes she taped during the campaign.
"The book will be structured around her campaign, which will serve as a framework within which she will tell the story of her entire life," said Linda Grey, vice president and editorial director for adult fiction and nonfiction at Bantam. The book will cover "issues and personalities she faced . . . with the forthrightness that has become her trademark. This is a book that will make news."
It will not be a diary, according to sources close to Ferraro, but reflections on the campaign, women as candidates, the family finance controversy, the abortion issue, effects of the campaign on the Ferraro family and the future of women in politics.
Ferraro will collaborate with Linda Bird Francke, who helped with the final version of Rosalynn Carter's memoirs, "First Lady From Plains," a book that, as Appelbaum pointed out, appeared some four years after the Carters left the White House, while the Ferraro book will be more immediate. Francke, a former editor at Newsweek, wrote "Growing Up Divorced: Children of the '80s."