Palin signs deal for memoir to be published in 2010

MEMOIR: Not revealing the dollar amount yet but says she'll write on her own time.

May 12, 2009 

Gov. Sarah Palin has signed a book deal with HarperCollins Publishers for what is described as her memoir.

"There have been so many things written and said through mainstream media that have not been accurate, and it will be nice through an unfiltered forum to get to speak truthfully about who we are and what we stand for and what Alaska is all about," Palin said in an interview Tuesday announcing the deal.

Neither Palin nor HarperCollins would say how much she was being paid. Asked why, the governor and 2008 Republican nominee for vice president said she didn't want to distract from the substance of the book.

"The idea is to focus on the content of the book and what's coming in terms of me being able to tell my story unrestrained and unfiltered," Palin said.

The governor said details will be reported as required under Alaska law when her annual financial disclosures are due next March. Her advance from the publisher is likely to be paid in stages, though, and it's not clear if she has to disclose the full amount on that report or only the portion received in 2009, according to the state public offices commission.

The book is to be published sometime in the spring of 2010. Palin will have a collaborator, who is expected to be chosen soon. The governor said she wants to do a lot of the writing herself, and that it will be her story and her words.

"It will be nice to put my journalism degree to work on this and get to tell my story, Alaska's story. There have been so many unauthorized books and publications that have spoken to somebody else's opinion of who I am what my family represents and what Alaska is all about," she said.

News reports this winter suggested Palin was pursuing an $11 million advance. She called that figure "laughable" in January but has never provided another. Palin has said she would give a portion of any money she makes from a book to charities, although she hasn't decided how much or which ones.

Palin hired Robert Barnett, a Washington, D.C., lawyer who is one of the most powerful figures in book publishing, to negotiate the deal for her memoir. His past deals reportedly include $12 million for Bill Clinton's memoir and an $8.5 million advance for Alan Greenspan.

Barnett said in an interview Tuesday that HarperCollins was "first and fervent" in pursuing the Palin book.

HarperCollins President and CEO Brian Murray said in a written statement that "Governor Palin is one of the most charismatic, inspiring and controversial figures to appear on the national political stage for many years."

"She has a fascinating story to tell, and we look forward to publishing what surely will be a captivating book," he said.

HarperCollins said the book will recount her time as mayor of Wasilla, as the first female governor of Alaska and her rise to the national stage during last year's presidential campaign.

Palin will also share insights on challenges, including being a working mother with a son serving in Iraq, another son with Down Syndrome and a teenage daughter who went through an unplanned pregnancy, the publisher said.

"I just really look forward to being able to relate to people through this book, those who are anxious to hear stories about people who are facing similar challenges perhaps. That's balancing work and parenting -- in my case work does mean running a state, and family involves a large and fun and colorful ordinary family that really has been thrust into maybe some extra ordinary circumstances," the governor said.

WORKING 'AFTER HOURS'

Palin said the book won't interfere with her duties as governor, and pointed out others have written books while in leadership positions. She said she won't work on the book during state time and will be jotting down her thoughts "after hours." Palin said she's kept journals throughout much of her life that she will use for the book.

"My journaling really ramped up when I found out that I was pregnant with Trig and then Track was going off to war and I found out Bristol was pregnant," Palin said. "When we had those episodes in our lives come to the surface, it was very therapeutic for me."

The book will be co-published for the Christian market by HarperCollins subsidiary Zondervan. Barnett said he's had other clients, such as Dan Quayle, Bill Bennett and Oliver North -- "people who have a faith element to their lives" -- who also had their books co-published by a religious subsidiary. Such firms have relationships with religious-oriented bookstores. It is also possible that the Zondervan version of the Palin book might be slightly different than the Harper one.

"Sometimes you put a different cover on it, sometimes you might add an extra chapter to the edition that's more faith oriented, all those plans remain to be made," Barnett said.

There will be a publicity and promotion effort for the book but details haven't been worked out.

"I really look forward to promoting the book. My goal of course is to have a best seller and, schedule permitting, when it comes out we'll discuss with publishers how and where and when I will be promoting it," Palin said.

ETHICS OF THE ENDEAVOR

Fairbanks Republican Rep. Jay Ramras has suggested the Alaska Department of Law produce a legal opinion specifically on whether Palin could leave the state for a book tour. The law department has looked into whether the governor having a book contract conflicts with the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Acts, including its prohibition on accepting outside "employment for compensation."

The department concluded a book contract isn't employment, because it's not regular work for a salary or wage. State employees are allowed to provide services for their own financial benefit as long as it's on their own time, does not conflict with their official duties and does not involve using state equipment or resources, said the legal opinion, signed by deputy attorney general Richard Svobodny.

"A book publication project is compatible with your position as governor so long as it does not interfere with your official duties," Svobodny wrote to Palin.


Find Sean Cockerham online at adn.com/contact/scockerham or call him at 257-4344.

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