Industry experts weigh in on what it might look like

By Christian Holub
July 17, 2017 at 04:05 PM EDT
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

James Comey is writing a book. The New York Times reported Saturday that the former FBI director, whose firing by President Donald Trump ignited a firestorm of controversy, has recently been taking meetings with New York publishers.

When EW spoke with Polis Books publisher Jason Pinter a few months ago about possible industry interest in a Comey memoir, Pinter predicted it would be “massive,” not the least because there’s a precedent for former FBI directors writing books about their experiences. Louis J. Freeh served as FBI Director from 1993-2001 and later published My FBI, an inside account of his battles against the Mafia and serving under President Bill Clinton. If Comey provided a similar level of details, Pinter told EW, it could generate real excitement.

“Given the controversy surrounding Comey, given his involvement in the Hillary Clinton email investigation and given his involvement in the Trump investigation, I think there’d be massive interest on both sides,” Pinter said. “It’s the rare political book that could actually cross the aisle.”

According to the Times‘ report, however, Comey is not promising a “conventional tell-all memoir” but rather an “exploration of the principles that have guided Mr. Comey through some of the most challenging moments of his legal career.” In that case, if the book doesn’t go as deep into details of Comey’s cases, there could be less interest — something Pinter predicted in his conversation with EW.

“If he’s able to go on the record about enough stuff, then he’d get seven figures easy, maybe multiples of that. But it’s all contingent on that,” Pinter said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if people in Trump’s orbit were aware of what he could and couldn’t say before firing him. They were probably aware that firing him in a pretty shoddy manner, that he would certainly have a bone to pick.”

Another factor to consider in any books from former Washington officials is President Trump’s well-known love of lawsuits. As another publisher told EW back in June, “there’s a lot to weigh here, including the fact that the president is notoriously litigious. If I were to get one of these proposals, I’d think long and hard about it, because as big a splash as it would make, it would also be a headache.”