I’ve thought for some time that should Donald Trump write a post-presidential memoir that it would be very, very interesting. According to The Daily Beast, Trump has already been thinking about it, and boy does it sound like it will meet, if not exceed, my expectations.
Since at least mid-2017, Trump has been talking about the post-presidential memoir he will write; or, more likely, have ghostwritten on his behalf. He is planning on it being explosive and assumes (not without reason) that it will be a New York Times bestseller. And since the early days of his administration, he has conveyed his eagerness to get started on the project.
“He sounded excited about it,” said one person who was present last year when the president made comments about writing a memoir. “He said it would sell better than even The Art of the Deal.”
Another source, who is a friend of Trump’s, said the president has casually discussed how such a book could be used to dish dirt and settle scores with his foes in the media, the Democratic Party, non-loyal Republicans, law enforcement, and even individuals in his own administration. Trump, according to this person, noted that this memoir could help “correct” the “fake news” already published in popular books and newspapers, and give him the opportunity to spin a juicy yarn on his time at the heights of power.
Trump has previously joked about dishing his knowledge about members of Congress who have been caught up in sexual misconduct allegations. “I think I’ll save it for a book like everybody else and I’ll write it,” Trump said in October.
Presidential memoirs have typically sold well. George W. Bush’s memoir Decision Points sold over two million copies in its first month, almost as many as Bill Clinton’s memoir My Life sold over six years. Barack Obama’s will likely eclipse that, should he ever finish his, and Donald Trump’s is sure to be a runaway bestseller as well. But which major publishing house will be willing to pay a suitable advance for the rights to publish it? The Obamas got $65 million for their memoirs. I doubt any of the big house publishers will want to pay Trump close to that.
The major publishing companies in New York are overwhelmingly staffed with left-leaning employees, many of whom often voice their displeasure internally when various imprints agree to publish books by Trump-friendly authors. Editors and publishers will also hear from authors themselves when publishers sign controversial authors, some of whom can threaten to speak out or even urge consumers or bankable authors to take their business elsewhere.
Industry insiders believe that Trump could still get a low seven-figure advance from a big publisher.
Matt Margolis is the author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama and the bestselling The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published in 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis