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Non-writer Loses $1.2 Million Book Deal

July 1, 2016
 (image via Wikimedia)

(image via Wikimedia)

Some guy who is not a writer lost a $1.2 million book deal this week.  He had the book deal, and then it fell apart.  In most circumstances, I’d feel bad for somebody who had such a large book deal and lost it, but in this case I’m not so sure.

The non-writer involved is a political guy (you can read more details here) who just got fired from a prominent political campaign.  People are tired of reading about the politician who this guy worked for.  I’ve written about this politician a couple times in the last few months, and I don’t want to become a political blog, so I intentionally left out the politician’s name on the title of this post because putting it there could turn readers off.

But when a guy loses a $1.2 million book deal, I have to write about that.

I’m not the type who delights in the misfortune of others, but I also don’t like it when obnoxious behavior is rewarded.  The political guy almost got the book deal because of his former boss and his own obnoxious behavior.  He recently got a cable news gig because of his experience with his former boss, but his new peers are upset (partially) because of his obnoxious past.  I prefer it when obnoxious behavior gets punished, but losing the book deal isn’t really punishment because he never had the money in the first place, and he’ll probably still get paid in other ways.

It’s a bit unclear why the political guy lost the book deal.  It might have been that he had a nondisclosure clause with his former boss.  After all, the point of a book would be write a bunch of scandalous stuff about this former boss.  Maybe the nondisclosure deal screwed him on the book deal, but he probably got more money from his former boss because of that nondisclosure agreement.  I’m not a political guy, so I don’t understand how all these things work, but I know there’s a lot of money involved in politics.

I wonder what it feels like to lose a book deal that big.  Maybe $1.2 million isn’t a lot to a political guy, but a book deal worth $1.2 million would change my life.  If I had a deal like that and lost it, I’d lose it.  I’d cry.  Maybe I’d cry and put it on YouTube.  I hear that youngsters like to watch reaction videos.  I’m sure they would get a kick out of a middle-aged guy crying over a lost book deal.  Those youngsters might even be shocked that anybody could make $1.2 million writing a book.  Who reads books anymore?

Struggling authors sometimes get mad when a non-writer gets a book deal, but it’s even worse when a non-writer gets a huge advance.  The huge advance is like salt in the wound for a struggling author.  We struggling authors know that the celebrity/non-writers aren’t taking away readers from us.  We know that the people who buy celebrity/non-writer books aren’t going to buy ours.  At least, I know that, but I can still get bitter about it if I’m not careful.

I’d almost rather have a $1.2 million book deal fall through than never have the deal at all because it sounds good.  At least I could brag that I almost had a $1.2 million book deal.  From a practical standpoint, though, no book deal is no book deal, whether it almost happened or not.  The thing is, this political guy will probably still get another one.  It might not be for $1.2 million, but it will still probably be more than what I’ll get for my own writing.

When this political guy gets his new deal, I really hope I don’t find out about it.


What do you think?    How would you react to losing a $1.2 million book deal?  How do you react when you find out that a non-writer has received a huge book advance?


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  1. I read that the political guy had signed a non-disclosure agreement with the campaign, and this agreement could have prevented the guy from even mentioning the candidate’s name…. wait, are you sure you don’t also have a non-disclosure agreement with this candidate?

  2. I find it hard to feel very bad for that particular political guy, but I agree that would really suck to be in his position. I’m sure he has lots of ways to make the money besides that though, including his CNN gig, if that actually goes through.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if that news gig didn’t work out either. I’m not hoping it doesn’t work, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t.

  3. I’m sure he hasn’t lost any sleep over the loss considering there’s many other things in the works he can get a large pay check from.
    It’s always frustrating when someone like this get a huge pay advance for a “celebrity” exposè. But like you mentioned, people who buy those kinds of books aren’t going buy books from writers like us so it’s not as if any money’s been taken out of my pocket. The frustration I have is more about people actually giving this crap the time of day!

    • Did the publishing company really think they could sell enough books from that guy to make a profit from a $1.2 million advance? That would require a lot of books, and that guy (fairly or unfairly) is despised by a lot of people.

      I’m not sure where the potential audience is because even people who despise the candidate despise the guy who’s writing the book.

  4. So if you write a post and leave out certain proper nouns, but give enough description so that your readers know which proper nouns your pronouns are referencing… are you really refraining from posting about said proper nouns? 🙂

    • Probably not, but I just didn’t want people thinking this was just another post about that particular proper noun.

      I occasionally avoid other certain proper nouns. There’s an author who writes about 10-15 books a year but has coauthors do most(?) of the work, so sometimes I don’t use that author’s name. I decide which approach to take on a case-by-case basis.

  5. This guy sounds like what we here in the UK would call a ‘numpty’. What the hell was he thinking, not sharing his non-disclosure agreement before trying to sign the deal? If he couldn’t see that might be a problem, no wonder the Mystery-Politician-that’s-really-no-mystery sacked him.
    I become incandescent with rage, steaming with bitterness, heaped with sour grapes when I read about non-writers getting huge publishing deals. Even when in it’s in a genre unconnected to my own, the public will rush to read a debut novel with a star’s names attached over one by a part time florist.
    There’s a well known nude model in the UK who published a series of children’s books about ponies. They were huge sellers. Did she write them? No. Did I mumble grumpily to myself about the unfairness of life, slamming cupboard doors and kicking the neighbour’s cat when I heard about the deal? I’ll let you guess.

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