You think political books are shelf warmers? Well, think again. Just weeks before the official release of Hillary Clinton’s memoirs as US Secretary of State, the book is already a bestseller.
The initial printing of Clinton’s “Hard Choices,” out on June 10 from Simon & Schuster, was one million books – and sold out after the publisher’s unconventional “reveal” of giving Vogue magazine a Mother’s Day excerpt.
And that figure doesn’t include retail preorders: Bookstores and other retailers ordered one million for further sale to the public – a seal of approval from the booksellers that people will want to read the book.
Rarely has a political memoir created more buzz before it was published – if you don’t count Hillary Clinton’s 2003 autobiography “Living History” and Bill Clinton’s “My Life”, released in 2004.
Part of the reason in addition to the Clintons’ considerable star power is the publisher’s carefully orchestrated soft sell that started weeks ago.
In April, Simon & Schuster staged a “title reveal”, followed by the aforementioned Mother’s Day operation, in which an excerpt focusing on Clinton’s mother, Dorothy Rodham, was released.
This was followed by the release on People.com of a video of Clinton talking about how she wrote the book and by this week’s publication of the author’s note of “Hard Choices”.
Each small revelation has generated a wave of news stories, even the announcement that the ABC network would air an interview with Clinton when the book finally hits the shelves.
Whether the book will answer the million-dollar question of whether Clinton will run for president in 2016 is not known, yet. But the secrecy around her intentions will keep the Clinton buzz going and this is certainly something the publisher like.
In the author’s note released this week, the former first lady, New York senator and Secretary of State, delivers an earnest and at times folksy overview of “Hard Choices”.
“All of us face hard choices in our lives. Some face more than their share,” Clinton writes. “Figuring out how to pay for college. Finding a good job, and what to do if you lose it. Whether to get married — or stay married.”
“For leaders and nations,” she continues, those difficult decisions “can mean the difference between war and peace, poverty and prosperity.”
Clinton writes that her four years running the State Department for President Barack Obama taught her about the United States’ “exceptional strengths and what it will take for us to compete and thrive at home and abroad.”
“As is usually the case with the benefit of hindsight, I wish we could go back and revisit certain choices. But I’m proud of what we accomplished,” Clinton writes.
“This century began traumatically for our country, with the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the long wars that followed, and the Great Recession. We needed to do better, and I believe we did.”
“Hard Choices” arrives as Republicans seek to question her handling of the 2012 terrorist attack on a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, and other decisions on her watch.
In light of her possible presidential run, Republicans are eagerly awaiting the book launch in an attempt to detect inconsistencies with Clinton’s public statements at the time of Benghazi.
Mary Amicucci, bookseller at Barnes & Noble, predicts that Clinton’s memoir will be “the most talked about non-fiction book this summer – no matter what your feelings for or opinions about her are.”