James Comey is about to make millions when the memoir he plans to write hits the auction block later this week, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Comey, who was fired from his position heading the FBI earlier this year by President Donald Trump, could easily get an eight-figure advance deal for the book. He’s been meeting with publishers and other literary industry types recently and has already chosen an agency to represent him in negotiations.
“It’s a book about leadership and his search for truth, informed by lessons and experiences he’s had throughout his career, including his recent experiences in the Trump administration,” said Matt Lattimer, one of the partners at Javelin, the literary agency representing the former FBI director.
Last month, the U.K. Daily Mail talked to literary industry insiders who said Comey could easily get eight figures for a memoir.
“Jim Comey’s story has everything, from White House intrigue to possible corruption and law breaking. His explosive story makes ‘West Wing’ and ‘House of Cards’ on a par with Mister Rogers,” an acquisition editor told the paper in a statement that didn’t sound preprepared at all.
The Times insisted that the book will “not be a conventional tell-all memoir, but an exploration of the principles that have guided Mr. Comey through some of the most challenging moments of his legal career.” Oh yeah, because I’m sure he’s getting eight figures for that. There are all sorts of publishers willing to shell out upwards of $10 million for lectures on “guiding principles.”
Hilariously, The Times notes in the next sentence that “(a)mong those (challenging moments) are his investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server during a contentious election, and his recent entanglement with the president over the F.B.I.’s inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.”
So it is the kind of tell-all meant to rock D.C., but it’s not really a tell-all because it’s rife with “principles that have guided Mr. Comey.” Principles, for instance, that led him to cash in on the controversy surrounding his dismissal at the earliest possible opportunity. Faye Resnick would be proud.
However, any publisher who bids on the memoir when it hits the auction block might end up feeling some buyers remorse when they realize that, according to the U.K. Telegraph, the Department of Justice will have to preview the memoir to make sure there’s not any classified information in there. You know, like the classified information that was in the memo Comey leaked to the public.
And surprisingly, that’s not the only way that Comey may be able to cash in. According to The Hill, one agent said he could expect even more money for the movie rights.
“Comey could expect a movie deal tied into the book worth many millions of dollars more, tens of millions,” an agent told the publication, while offering a fawning description of who should play Comey: “He has to be tall, good-looking and a Jimmy Stewart-John Wayne-hero type. I was mesmerized when I spent the whole day watching Comey testify.” Good grief.
On the latter account, however, Comey shouldn’t start counting that Hollywood money yet. Washington tell-alls tend to devolve into self-hagiographies which shed little light on what actually happened but instead take every opportunity to paint their authors as the second coming of Cincinnatus — and end up selling poorly as a result. (See also: “Choices, Hard.”)
However, book publishers don’t seem to learn any lessons from those flops. Therefore, Comey can safely hope to cash in on the book, safe in the knowledge that even if nobody reads it, he’ll have earned way more than he ever did at the FBI.
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