Andrew Cuomo’s publisher reportedly paid the disgraced governor a seven-figure advance for his COVID book, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic, according to a report from Vanity Fair.
Cuomo previously refused to reveal how much he was paid for the book, telling the media in August of last year: “You’ll see it on my financial disclosure.”
Sources familiar with the deal told Vanity Fair the book sold for “at least low to mid-seven figures” which, the magazine noted, “is a blockbuster sum by industry standards.”
Crown Publishing, an imprint of Penguin Random House, clearly hoped to cash in on the governor’s surge in popularity last year when his approval numbers skyrocketed during the pandemic.
According to this source, executive editor Libby Burton approached Cuomo’s literary representative, Beltway power-lawyer Robert Barnett—who brokered the Obamas’s historic book deal with Penguin Random House—to express interest. From there, Burton and Crown editor in chief Gillian Blake jointly acquired the title, the source said, adding, “They had published Stacey Abrams together at Holt, and thought they had identified another political star.”
They had not. Even with Cuomo’s temporary surge in popularity, Crown’s gamble didn’t pay off. Publishing industry insiders told PJ Media last week that Cuomo’s COVID-19 book had sold just under 46,000 print copies by the end of February.
Cuomo’s book has also suffered a significant decline in sales in recent weeks. “We can confirm that the title’s sales have dropped in the last five weeks, and for context, this is not reflective of a larger market trend,” a representative for BookScan told Vanity Fair.
In January, the New York attorney general’s office released a report saying that New York’s nursing home death count from COVID-19 had been undercounted by as much as 50 percent. Since then, several women have come forward alleging sexual harassment by the governor.