Richard Nixon, Jerry Falwell and Barry Goldwater definitely will, and Jesse Jackson is doing his best to join them.
All four are feeding the voracious appetite of publishers looking for new books with a Washington twist. The former president's prescription for peace and prosperity, the controversial leader of the Liberty Federation's autobiography, and the Arizona senator's tell-all memoirs have all gone to publishers for prices that range up to a million dollars.
Meanwhile, in an equally high-priced deal that is said to be on the verge of falling apart, Jackson and Simon and Schuster are trying to agree on terms. The dispute, sources say, apparently centers on the direction the book is to take. Jackson was in Paris and could not be reached for comment yesterday.
"There's a feeding frenzy among publishers to get big names and headline books. My guess is there's less public interest than publishers think," said Houghton Mifflin Executive Editor Robie Macauley, who lost out in hot competition to Doubleday for the Goldwater book.
"Publishing is hard to judge," he added. "The Iacocca autobiography which sold more than 2 million hard-cover copies was considered a pretty small deal when Bantam bought it, and it turned out to be a big deal. And some of these big deals will turn out to be small deals."
Washington agent Rafe Sagalyn said all four books were "part of the continuing hunger among publishers for personality books, and all these are people who get their names in the newspapers. Whether they're successful or not will depend on what the story is. If someone's going to write a policy book for a million dollars, publishers may have a hard time getting a return on their investment."
Nixon's book will be an analysis of "the ways he thinks the U.S. and its friends and allies should use the remaining years of the 20th century in order to lay a foundation for peace and prosperity," according to John Taylor, his administrative assistant. To be called "1999," the book is expected to be published in the fall of 1987.
Taylor would not comment on industry speculation that Nixon received as much as $1 million for the book, his sixth since leaving office. "I consider the details of President Nixon's financial affairs to be none of my business," he said.
Goldwater's memoirs, to be written with Arizona Republic reporter J.J. Casserly, were described as "Barry tells all" by Houghton editor Macauley. "He's retiring, and feels he can say everything without pulling punches."
Goldwater couldn't be reached for comment, and Casserly said, "It's up to the publisher to talk about this, and I'm not going to comment on it any further." Doubleday was also reluctant to talk about the book, because the actual contract has not been signed yet, but sources said Goldwater had already made notes for it and would draw from his journal entries.
The Falwell autobiography has no title yet, but is expected to be released in the fall of 1987. "It's essentially on his day-to-day life and his Christian faith," said administrative assistant Mark DeMoss.
The book was written at the urging of Simon and Schuster. "He was reluctant at first, but they persisted, and he agreed to do it," said DeMoss, who also confirmed that the advance was for $1 million.
He added that Falwell put part of his advance in a trust for his children, while with the rest he set up a foundation "to give scholarship assistance and essentially help any worthy causes that he has an interest in."
Falwell was at his son Jerry Jr.'s birthday party and could not be reached for comment.
No one at Simon and Schuster, which will publish the Nixon and Falwell books, would comment, and superagent Irving (Swifty) Lazar, who represents Jackson, Nixon and Falwell, could not be reached.
In the past two years, the amounts of money that publishers have offered Washington figures have increased considerably. Random House is reportedly paying House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill Jr. slightly more than $1 million for his memoirs, while historian Edmund Morris is getting close to $3 million from the same publisher for an authorized biography of President Reagan. Former U.N. ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick has a $900,000 contract with Simon and Schuster, and Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle had several publishers hotly competing for an unwritten novel when he suspended negotiations for as long as he remained in office.
But some Washington books that have already been published aren't meeting expectations. Former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro's memoirs did relatively poorly last fall, and former Office of Management and Budget director David Stockman's "Triumph of Politics," while a best seller in hard-cover, reportedly had a disappointing sale for paperback rights.
Nevertheless, publishers have grand hopes for their new projects.
"What brand-name publishing does is make it easier to get access to the marketplace," one publishing insider said yesterday. "Publishers are quite confident they can find the niche for each of these books, because they think each is going to have a constituency."