October 29, 2014

Are we sure that Cuomo’s memoir wasn’t just caught up in the mandatory quarantine?


CuomoNew York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo isn’t having a great few weeks. I mean, it’s nothing like the week that Kaci Hicox just had, but still, there’s some stuff going on. With a corruption scandal swirling around his office, Cuomo teamed up last week with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in a rare, but misguided, fit of bipartisanship that has backfired spectacularly.

Reacting to the pushback that their mandatory quarantine plan elicited from calmer heads everywhere, it was widely reported that Cuomo jokingly urged (begged?) anyone being quarantined to, hey, just pick up a copy of his book!

Gov. Cuomo downplayed the burden of following the mandatory 21 day quarantine he ordered for returning Ebola health workers – and joked they should pick up his new book as a way to pass the time.

“I’m asking those people who were in contact with infected people – stay at home for 21 days. We will pay. Enjoy your family. Enjoy your kids. Enjoy your friends,” Cuomo said. “Read a book. Read my book. You don’t have to read my book. But stay at home for 21 days.”

If beach reads can be a category of its own, then why not quarantine reads?

So about that book. All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life (great title) is Cuomo’s first entry into the political memoir category and is proving to be a bit of a hard sell. Amy Chozick from the The New York Times tweeted last week that the book sold under 1,000 copies in its first week, a modest number even in a typically modestly selling category.

On October 15, the Times ran a pretty sad sack story about his “low-key” book signing attended by a “modest” crowd at Barnes & Noble’s Union Square location. Much has been made of Cuomo’s reported $700,000 advance. The Daily News has raised questions about a promotional email sent from the publisher, Harper Collins, that appeared to use Cuomo’s political fundraising list. Mediaite, in noting that Cuomo “mysteriously declined invites from two popular national TV shows, MSNBC’s Morning Joe and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show,” wondered whether Cuomo was turning down media opportunties at outlets that have been critical of him, so he wouldn’t have to answer questions about the ongoing ethics investigation.

Philip Bump at The Washington Post took a stab at speculating who bought the book, and it seems like the pile on is in effect. But don’t feel too bad for Cuomo; nobody expects political memoirs to be any good and he is, still, the once and future governor of New York.


Julia Fleischaker is a former director of marketing and publicity at Melville House.