Rush to publish books about Trump

One of the pages in A Child's First Book Of Trump, which was released yesterday.
One of the pages in A Child's First Book Of Trump, which was released yesterday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • On his bedroom wall, New Yorker writer Mark Singer has a framed, handwritten note from real estate tycoon Donald Trump. "Mark, you are a total loser! And your book (and writings) sucks!" the note says.

Mr Trump sent it after Singer published Character Studies, a 2005 collection of his writing that included a less than flattering profile of Trump.

Singer loved the letter so much that he not only framed it, but also decided to make it the sole blurb on the back cover of his new book, Trump And Me, which was published yesterday.

The book includes the original New Yorker profile, published in 1997, as well as Singer's dryly funny account of the tycoon's response and a more sober chapter reflecting on Mr Trump the candidate.

"People remembered this piece, for better or worse and I did want to find a way to bring it back to life," Singer said. "The challenge was to reconcile this person that I observed in the late 1990s with this iteration of him in the election."

Every election cycle brings a tsunami of political books from campaign reporters, pundits and candidates.

Mr Trump's own manifesto, Crippled America: How To Make America Great Again, has sold 235,000 hardcover copies in eight months, according to Nielsen.

But this year is shaping up to be an exceptional one in terms of the sheer volume of writing devoted to Trump.

Some publishers and writers are exhuming out-of-print Trump biographies published decades ago and slapping new covers and introductions on them. Others are rushing out new books that explore his stunning political rise.

Still others are producing parodies, comic books and satires, including a faux thriller titled The Day Of The Donald, which takes place two years into a Trump presidency. There is also a mock children's book by comedian Michael Ian Black titled A Child's First Book Of Trump, and a collection from cartoonist Garry Trudeau called Yuge!: 30 Years Of Doonesbury On Trump.

And in a sign that no publishing niche has been left unexploited, there are more than a half-dozen Trump-themed adult colouring books. Also, a book of Trump paper dolls. Many editors were hesitant to commission books about Mr Trump when he first entered the presidential race and seemed like a long shot for the Republican nomination.

Once he became the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in May, agents, editors and writers were scrambling to pull together books in time for the election - a lightning-fast turnaround time in the publishing world.

Next month, Melville House plans to release The Making Of Donald Trump, by Pulitzer Prize- winning investigative reporter David Cay Johnston, which chronicles Mr Trump's rise in real estate and his pivot to politics.

Later that month, Scribner is set to publish Trump Revealed, a biography written by Washington Post editor Marc Fisher and a Post investigative political reporter, Michael Kranish.

These new books will bump up against the repackaged editions of older Trump biographies.

Timothy O'Brien, whose 2005 book TrumpNation: The Art Of Being The Donald, prompted a US$5-billion, ultimately unsuccessful, defamation lawsuit from Trump, contacted his publisher last summer after Trump announced his candidacy to ask if they could update the paperback and digital editions of his book.

His publisher was sceptical at first. Ms Jamie Raab, president and publisher of Grand Central Publishing, said: "We thought, he's going to implode, there's no point."

Eight months later, when Mr Trump swept a series of primaries, Grand Central agreed to republish the book as a paperback with a new introduction by O'Brien.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2016, with the headline 'Rush to publish books about Trump'. Print Edition | Subscribe