From 1987’s The Art of the Deal to 2015’s Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, erstwhile American president Donald Trump has nearly 20 books to his credit (although most were ghostwritten) and plenty of writers and publishing professionals think that’s enough.
It has become de rigueur for exiting heads of state and former members of government to publish memoirs and tell-alls; such books can earn the authors millions of dollars in publishing deals. In a post titled ‘No Book Deals for Traitors’, Young Adult novelist Barry Lyga (The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, Archvillain and I Hunt Killers) has organised an open letter calling on the publishing industry to stop “enriching the monsters among us.”
Titled ‘This is a Letter of Intent from Publishing Professionals of the United States’, the document states that America “is where it is in part because publishing has chased the money and notoriety of some pretty sketchy people, and has granted those same people both the imprimatur of respectability and a lot of money through sweetheart book deals.”
Denouncing the Trump administration, the letter further states “‘Son of Sam’ laws exist to prevent criminals from benefiting financially from writing about their crimes. In that spirit, those who enabled, promulgated, and covered up crimes against the American people should not be enriched through the coffers of publishing.”
As of now, the letter has been signed by more than 500 writers, editors, literary agents and representatives of the world’s top publishing houses.
In November 2020, former first lady Melania Trump was reportedly seeking a book deal, while the publication of Senator Josh Hawley’s book, The Tyranny of Big Tech, has been cancelled by Simon and Schuster in response to Hawley’s role in the January 6 Capitol Hill mob attack by Trump supporters.
Published in Dawn, Books & Authors, January 24th, 2021