June 30, 2016

Corey Lewandowski loses his yuge book deal

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“Then again, maybe I won’t.” —HarperCollins

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a public figure, given a temporary spot in the limelight thanks to politics or outrage culture, will soon be in search of a book deal. Agents often bank on notoriety and/or partisan controversy for leverage; what’s more enticing to a publisher than free publicity, am I right?

This is why writing a book is standard operating procedure for any person at the center of a cause célèbre on either side of the aisle, but especially the red one. The content of such books is usually irrelevant. Does anyone expect to gain trenchant insight or pick up heretofore unheard juicy details from Joe the Plumber, Kim Davis, or Sarah Palin? Likely not, and that’s fine. It’s often just a question of which publisher will jockey into the lead by offering enough money to snag the deal.

However, after his firing this week, erstwhile Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, aka “Not The Pride of Lowell” aka “Mr. Hands” aka “the guy who brought a loaded gun into a federal building” aka “newly minted CNN employee,” was in position to land a hefty deal that could have resulted in a genuinely fascinating book. After all, this was the fellow under whose management we’ve seen the simultaneous breakdown of Republican pretensions to party respectability and the crystallization of the new American fascism.

And considering Lewandowski’s inglorious ouster from Trump’s inner circle, it’s conceivable that he has a basement packed with axes that need grinding. Who wouldn’t pay $28.95 for an inside peek at that shitshow? Heck, even the Donald himself might make this book #40.

However, it looks like Lewandowski may be missing his most valuable asset: the legal ability to publish any writing about the one accomplishment that people outside of the Beltway know him for. Kenneth P. Vogel and Hadas Gold over at Politico report:

Corey Lewandowski had a $1.2-million offer from HarperCollins to write a book chronicling his time running Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, but the publishing giant backed away from the deal amid concerns about Lewandowski’s nondisclosure agreement, according to two sources familiar with the talks.

Lewandowski, working through a California-based representative named Robert Stryk, began soliciting offers for a book, tentatively titled Let Trump be Trump, from multiple publishers in March, while he was working as Trump’s campaign manager, according to one of the sources, a Republican operative.

A source in the publishing industry said Lewandowski’s representative received at least some interest from as many as five publishing houses, but that, in several cases, there was concern about how his nondisclosure agreement might affect any resulting book.

Trump employees are widely known to sign titanium-clad nondisclosure agreements that basically prohibit all public speech about Trump until (and possibly after) death. So it’s understandable that HarperCollins would have concerned about possible difficulties in extracting the requisite bang from their 1.2 million bucks.

The timeline leading up to the deal’s death knell is in dispute, though; Politico’s anonymous Republican source claims Lewandowski was in talks with HarperCollins before being fired as campaign manager, and that in those talks he assured the publisher he could deliver a book without obstruction by the NDA. However, after news of the talks hit the press, Lewandowski backed off.

It was only after his firing that Lewandowski re-opened (read: crawled back to) talks with HarperCollins, who (though allegedly hesitant, due to Lewandowski’s having lost the insider status that was such an enticing aspect of the book) requested to review his NDA. When Lewandowski failed to produce it, the deal died, mercifully.

It’s a case of bad timing and poor strategy as Team Lewandowski chases waning public interest. Conservative firebrands have an ample potential audience to which they can sell their particular brand of authentic cowardice, and as long as Lewandowski continues to parrot Trump slogans on CNN he’ll have a national platform. Still, there’s a limited amount of time he can tap that vein before he sinks back into the beige mire of DC party politics. He needs a hook to save him from irrelevance. Hell, even Lee Atwater could play a mean guitar.

 

 

Liam O’Brien is the Senior Sales & Marketing Manager at Melville House, and a former bookseller.

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