Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), who spurred the ethics investigation of House Speaker Jim Wright (D-Tex.) and focused attention on Wright's 55 percent book royalties, has an unusual book arrangement of his own. When Gingrich and his wife, Marianne, wrote the nonfiction book "Window of Opportunity" with David Drake in 1984, they signed a contract to share a standard 10 percent hardcover royalty. But they also took the unusual step of setting up a limited partnership, which raised $105,000 from Republican political activists and business people around the country, to promote sales of the book. Normally, a publisher pays for promotion. The idea, Gingrich said in an interview late Friday, was that a large publicity budget could "force a best seller. I was real naive." The 21 investors in the COS Limited Partnership each put up $5,000 and were to split half of the publisher's profits. But sales of the book were modest, and there were no profits. The publisher, Jim Baen, of Baen Enterprises, lost money on the venture. This created a tax benefit for the partners. Gingrich did not have a share of the partnership, but his wife, Marianne, said in an interview yesterday that she has been paid close to $10,000 by the partnership for her work as general partner. She said she put no money into COS but got a 2 percent share and thus a portion of the tax benefits from the partnership's continuing annual losses. The congressman said the partnership was his idea. It spent $70,000 for promotion. Nearly $6,000 of the other $35,000 remains, Marianne Gingrich said, with the rest of the money going to her and for legal, accounting and other costs. Baen, who did not know Gingrich before he met him at a conference on space and technology, said he has not entered into such a promotion partnership before or since and did not know of another like it in the publishing industry. Gingrich is running for election this week to replace former representative Dick Cheney (R-Wyo.), the new secretary of defense, as Republican whip, the second-ranking GOP leader in the House. Gingrich asked Friday if he could delay detailed responses about the partnership because it would be to his "disadvantage" to have a story appear before the whip election saying that he had a book deal "equally as weird as Jim Wright's." Gingrich was first queried about the partnership arrangement last August, but only recently began providing documentation. In agreeing to answer detailed questions, he said his publishing venture differed from Wright's. "We wrote a real book for a real company that was sold in real bookstores," he said. House Democrats attacked Gingrich last year, in the wake of the Wright investigation, for a previous book partnership he set up in 1977. That partnership advanced him $13,000 to write a novel that was never published. The partners received tax benefits from participating in the venture. Marianne Gingrich said she did not have ready access to accounts of exactly how the $105,000 in the COS partnership was spent. She estimated that she received close to $8,000 initially to help set it up and another $1,500 recently for other work. She said she could not furnish a complete list of the partners until she had contacted them. In describing the investors, she said, "One of the reasons they contributed is that they have been active in Republican politics and agreed with Newt's message." She said only one partner, a now-deceased supporter from her husband's congressional district, also had invested in the first partnership. Gingrich said in a separate interview that about half of the investors were donors to his campaigns while others were business people around the country he had met during talks about his view of the future. "A number were nominally Democrats," he said. Baen, the publisher, said "Windows of Opportunity" would have had to sell another 50,000 copies before profits rose sufficiently for the partners to recoup their initial investment. Asked if the promotion partnership was a realistic business venture, Gingrich likened it "more to a wildcat exploration well than to gilt bonds." He added that the investors also may have been attracted by the tax benefit they stood to gain if the venture failed. One of the investors was former representative Howard (Bo) Callaway (R-Ga.), who is now chairman of GOPAC, a political action committee Gingrich has been active in that raises money for Republican candidates in state and local races. Callaway said in an interview that he accepted Gingrich's invitation to invest because he believed in the book's message and thought "it might make some money." "Newt made clear it wasn't a guaranteed thing . . . . He in no way misled us on that," Callaway said. "It was sort of like backing a play on Broadway. It might turn out to be 'My Fair Lady' or it might go broke. It was just something I thought should have been published. I was glad to help get it started." Gingrich said that Pierre S. (Pete) du Pont IV, former Republican governor of Delaware and a GOPAC activist, was willing to pay for the entire promotion budget but that Gingrich wanted to spread it among a number of individuals. A 22nd COS partner, Janet Morris, got her share by editing the book rather than paying $5,000. Marianne Gingrich said this was the way Morris preferred to be paid. Morris said the congressman persuaded her to accept a share of the partnership for part of what she was owed. The 272-page hardcover version of the book sold for $14.95 and was rushed to come out just before the 1984 Republican National Convention in Dallas. At the time, Gingrich was trying to publicize a movement he called the "Conservative Opportunity Society." Although the book lists three authors, it is filled with first-person anecdotes about Gingrich's views of the opportunities -- offered by advances in space, computer and other technologies -- for improving life in America. "It was too serious to be profitable, and the Teamsters literary society didn't buy it," Gingrich said. This was a reference to disclosures that the Teamsters union bought 2,000 copies of Wright's book, "Reflections of a Public Man." The House ethics committee is investigating whether such sales to interest groups represented a way to give Wright income while evading House limits on fees for speeches and appearances. Five thousand copies of Gingrich's book were sold for about $2 each in "special sales," according to the publisher. Asked about this, Gingrich said that the "Conservative Book Club or something like that" bought some copies at the reduced price. Another issue in the Wright inquiry is the use of a staff aide to help compile the book. Gingrich said he wrote the first draft himself and then asked staff members to read chapters and offer suggestions. Publisher Baen said, after checking figures from his office, that royalties paid on the book through last June totaled about $26,000, including the $13,000 in advances he paid the three authors. He paid Gingrich and his wife $5,000 each in advance; Drake received $3,000. Under the contract, the Gingriches were to get 80 percent of the royalties, and Drake was to get 20 percent. Gingrich reported on his financial disclosure statement for 1987, the most recent available, that he and his wife received at least $5,000 each in royalties that year. Baen, whose firm publishes science fiction and books on high technology, said the entire $70,000 promotion budget was spent. Most of it went for advertising in The New York Times and Publisher's Weekly and in cities where the distributor, St. Martin's Press, was selling the book. Some of the money also went for Gingrich's travel expenses to promote it. Despite the heavy promotion, sales of the book "were not gratifying," Baen said. It sold about 12,000 hardcover copies and another 17,000 in paperback editions and other sales. "The crucial single point," Baen said, "is that this was a serious book that had a serious advance and the standard industry royalty agreement, and that it earned that advance in royalties and then some, but not much." Drake, the third author, said the size of the promotion budget "should have put the book on The New York Times best-seller list. But the money might as well have been burned in the parking lot."