Former attorney general William Barr is joining the pack of ex-Trump officials looking to capitalize on the controversies that turned them into household names. Three sources told Politico on Monday that Barr recently sold a book about his time running Donald Trump’s Justice Department. One of the people familiar with the deal added that Barr has started work on it in the last two months; it will be his first book.
After fleeing the coop, many former Trump officials see the publishing world as a logical next step. But not all of them are receiving a friendly welcome there. Given that Barr ended his reign on bad terms, refusing to go along with the former president’s election-fraud claims, he’s a more eligible candidate than some of his more loyal cohorts—never mind his months and months of loyal stoogedom before that. “I think [publishers] try to draw a line between those who are operating in reality or got off the train before it crashed and those who are living in Trumpworld in an alternative reality,” one person familiar with the industry told Politico. “It’s going to be tough to publish a lot of Trump administration officials.”
For instance, Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro’s initial attempts to sell a book were reportedly shot down, though “Navarro was seen as a kook before this, so it’s not as if Peter Navarro would have an easy time selling a book prior to the administration,” another source told the outlet. Interest in a possible Jared Kushner tome is mixed, which may speak to his lack of currency with his father-in-law’s base. “I don’t think he has a lot of credibility with the MAGA audience, which is where you need these books to sell like hotcakes,” said one publishing company employee who expressed disinterest in Kushner’s book pitch. “And then trying to publish it as liberal torture porn is not going to work either.”
One issue hopeful authors are being forced to confront: the diminishing returns of books tied in any way to the former president. A number of Trumpworld insiders have already inked successful deals: Earlier this month, former vice president Mike Pence accepted a two-book deal with Simon & Schuster reportedly worth an estimated $3 million to $4 million, making him the senior-most ex-Trump official to cash in so far. Kellyanne Conway is reportedly in the process of authoring a salacious, first-person Trump-era memoir complete with behind-the-scenes gossip, presumably sucking much of the air out of the proverbial room. Politico also reported that Trump Supreme Court pick Justice Amy Coney Barrett netted a $2 million advance to unironically author a book on why judges must remain unbiased. “There will only be a few more big books from the administration that succeed,” a publishing source told Politico. “I think Trump is fading much quicker from the national consciousness than people were banking on.”
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