A new book by Sen. Elizabeth Warren is hitting brick-and-mortar and online bookstores today. The Massachusetts Democrat has penned several other books on financial matters, but "A Fighting Chance" is her first memoir. She has insisted in two recent television interviews that the book is not a launching pad for a presidential campaign, but its release will do little to tamper talk about a 2016 presidential run, or other political options.
Books by politicians rarely sell well, with exceptions for those written by the current and recently-former presidents. We don't know how much Warren has earned for her latest book, and its appeal to readers remains uncertain. While Bill and Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush commanded seven-figure advances for their memoirs, politicians like Warren earn smaller sums. And publishing houses usually don't earn much in return for investing in a political title.
It's called loss-leader lobbying. These politically-themed books by lesser-known politicians are considered "hits" in the publishing and political worlds if they sell just 50,000 copies. In 2003, a book by then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) was mocked off-record by senior Senate staffers as the "Ishtar" of political books, selling just 8,000 or so copies. But at the time Daschle was potentially on the verge of becoming Senate majority leader again and, even though he lost, he remained an influential adviser to just about everyone in the West Wing. So his $500,000 advance was basically worth it for the publisher.
We've already excerpted some of the best passages from Warren's book -- and here's a quick review of other hotly-anticipated political reads coming soon, in the works, or already available for reading from other potential presidential candidates:
Hillary Rodham Clinton
"Hard Choices" is due June 10. The book is being billed as Clinton’s “inside account of the crises, choices, and challenges that she faced during her four years as America’s 67th Secretary of State, and how those experiences drive her view of the future.” Aides have been tight-lipped about how much of an advance she received for her latest title, but in 2000, super-lawyer Bob Barnett sold the rights to Clinton’s first memoir, “Living History,” to Simon & Schuster for $8 million.
“All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life,” is scheduled to be released Aug. 5. Good guess it's a mix of memories and tips on political success. The first part of the governor's advance from HarperCollins was worth at least $188,333, according to the governor's 2013 tax return. Aides have refused to tell New York papers the sum of Cuomo's entire advance.
"Off the Sidelines" is set for its debut Sept. 9. The book has been described by aides as part memoir and part call to action for politically-motivated women. It will build off of the work of her "Off the Sidelines" super PAC that has raised millions of dollars for Democratic women candidates.
In the works:
The junior senator from Texas is reportedly receiving a $1.5 million advance for his still-untitled memoir. The sum tops what other GOP presidential wannabes have earned and is more than the $1.25 million Sarah Palin received for her first book. No word yet on a release date. As for the topic? You guessed it: "a personal memoir about his controversial days in Washington and his vision for the future," according to recent reports.
The senator from Florida released his first book, "An American Son," in 2012 and is working on his second book. The Tampa Bay Times reports that his next tome will focus "on the future of the country and the Republican Party" and will be released after the midterm elections -- giving him a good excuse to travel and sit for interviews as he mulls a 2016 presidential run.
The Washington Post's John Wagner reported recently that the outgoing Maryland governor -- who is eager to launch a 2016 presidential campaign -- has done "preliminary work on a book, which is almost considered a rite of passage these days for presidential contenders." O’Malley told The Post that he's been writing most mornings and that “you give clarity to your own thoughts by putting them on paper.” But no word yet on a formal deal just yet.
Already on the market:
The Republican governor of Wisconsin received a $340,000 advance to write "Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge," according to BuzzFeed. The book was released last November and has sold only a little more than 16,000 copies. Sales appear to be so poor that Walker's campaign Web site is selling copies. For $30, supporters can receive an unsigned copy, a signed copy, or a copy with a personalized message from the governor -- same price for either option.
The senator from Kentucky has penned two books: "Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans are Being Harassed, Abused and Imprisoned by the Feds" and "The Tea Party Goes to Washington." Paul faced intense scrutiny last fall when news reports revealed that he'd lifted passages of "Government Bullies" from scholars at think tanks. Those revelations came after reports that he'd plagiarized portions of some high-profile speeches.
The former Florida governor released “Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution" last year and even appeared on all of the Sunday morning political talk shows to promote it. But the book tour was panned as "clumsy" especially because his sharper-than-anticipated rhetoric on the issue of immigration put him at odds with work on a bipartisan Senate bill that was underway at the time. Bush also published a little-read book, "Profiles in Character," in 1996.
Paul Kane contributed to this report.