Don't Mention Ghostwriters to Chris Matthews; Why Books Smell Nice

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Today in publishing and literature: Chris Matthews writes his own books, HarperCollins has many, many soccer memoirs, and Michele Bachmann hawks her book to help her campaign.

  • Chris Matthews does not use ghostwriters, a fact he made clear in colorful terms when Forbes' Jeff Bercovici asked him if he worked with a collaborator on his new book, Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero. Matthews responded: "Forget you." (Bercovici notes the Hardball host actually used a word much stronger than "forget" but "both Matthews and my editor asked me not to print what he actually said.") Matthews continued getting steamed up: "Fuck Forget you," he said again. "Where’d you get that? Is that what you think? You think I don’t write my books?” (Also on the Matthews book release front: while promoting the biography at the Hay Adams hotel in Washington last, he was heard by one Atlantic Wire writer to proclaim: "If you don't cry at the end of this book, you're not Irish!")  [Forbes]
  • In 2006, HarperCollins signed English footballer Wayne Rooney to a five-book deal worth £5 million. At the time, The Daily Mail called the 12-year contract "the biggest sports book deal in publishing history" biggest contract in sports publishing history," and The Telegraph noted it was the priciest deal publisher HarperCollins made that year.  Five years later and the publisher is said to be "considering a revamp of the troubled contract," which so far has only yielded one memoir. The concern extends beyond one player. "Football life stories [are] not selling well" as a whole, writes The Daily Mail. This is particularly problematic for HarperCollins, They're also sitting on a memoir by national team captain John Terry "for which a seven-figure advance has already been paid," per The Daily Mail. The book was supposed to come out after the 2010 World Cup, but the release was delayed following England's disastrous performance. A new allegation that Terry hurled a racial epithet at an opponent during a game last month can only "add to the sensitivity" of when to release Terry's book. [The Daily Mail]
  • Taking a page out of Herman Cain's campaign playbook, Michele Bachmann is trying to sell copies of her upcoming memoir Core of Conviction to supporters, albeit at a huge, huge markup. For $75, you get an autographed copy. For $125, you get a "personalized autograph copy." The money goes to her cash-strapped  campaign, which has already spent $6 million and has $1.5 million in reserves. Unlike Cain, she's not offering supporters a special edition version of Core of Conviction that comes "complete with gold case and red trim." [Washington Wire]
  • The scent of book-books will be one of the most specific losses as e-book use continues to grow, but it's comforting to know smell has a source, maybe one that can be reproduced. The Fiction Writers Review dug up highlights an excerpt from a manuscript called Perfumes: A Guide which credits that bookish smell to "lingin, the stuff that prevents all trees from adopting the weeping habit." When the trees are made into paper and stored, the lingin begins to break down, which is why used bookstores inevitably smell like "good quality vanilla absolute." As of now, there's not an app for that. [Fiction Writers Review

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.