Sunday, September 9, 2007

Donald Rumsfeld Shops a Book

NY Sun
June 27, 2007

The publishing world is abuzz over the news that a former defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, may write a memoir justifying the military strategy for the war in Iraq. ... Mr. Rumsfeld has toured New York publishing houses with an outline of his book in an effort to gauge how much information he would have to disclose in the memoir in order to justify a large cash advance.

A principal for the publicity firm Shirley & Banister, Craig Shirley, said such a book would have a better-than-fair shot of becoming a bestseller if it was properly marketed, well-written, and contained interesting new content. In addition, the publisher of the conservative imprint Regnery, Marji Ross, estimated the former secretary would command at least a six-figure advance. Someone like Mr. Rumsfeld, who has a loyal following and yet sparks a lot of controversy, is good for book sales, she said.

A former spokesman for Mr. Rumsfeld, Lawrence di Rita, who is familiar with the former defense secretary's activities, said the primary focus of Mr. Rumsfeld, who resigned from the Bush administration last year, has been the planning of a new educational foundation, and that the ex-defense chief has not made a final decision about whether to write a book.

Nevertheless, the Web site Galleycat reported a sighting last month of Mr. Rumsfeld visiting Penguin books, whose Sentinel imprint specializes in conservative subjects, and he is believed to have spoken with five or six other New York-based publishers to test the waters and learn more about the process. Mr. di Rita said it would be inaccurate to describe Mr. Rumsfeld as having a book proposal.

The publisher of Sentinel, Adrian Zackheim, declined to discuss Mr. Rumsfeld, but he said books by high-profile Cabinet officials "don't come up very often."

Asked if a book by Mr. Rumsfeld would draw large press attention, a long-time editor at Random House, Robert Loomis, said, "Yes, it will." Mr. Loomis said he heard that Robert Barnett of Williams & Connolly, who represents many similarly prominent figures, is involved in exploring the possibility of a Rumsfeld book.

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