Who Wants to Publish Omarosa's White House Tell-All Book?

Publishing industry insiders weigh in on whether there's a market for such a book.
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Omarosa Manigault

Omarosa Manigault Newman isn't shy about expressing her interest in writing a "tell-all" book about her brief tenure in Donald Trump's White House.

"I'm thinking of writing a tell-all sometime," Newman told her castmates on an episode of Celebrity Big Brother that aired on Feb. 24. "I have to tell my truth. I'm tired of being muted."

But, now that she's off the show and embarking on a media tour that took her to Stephen Colbert's show on Wednesday night, Newman is being coy about her plans. Prior to a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, her representatives made clear that questions about a book or even about her time in the White House were off limits, even though she made national news last weekend by talking about being "freed off of a plantation."

Asked again this week whether Newman wants to write a book, her rep did not respond to an email.

Another question is whether any major publishing house would be interested in publishing Newman's account of her time in the White House.

Paul Bogaards, spokesperson for the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, is skeptical. "Her tenure in the administration was brief, her access limited, and her reliability as a narrator has been questioned," he said. "As such, the market potential for a book written by her seems limited."

"I thought no one would vote for her absurd boss, and yet they did," veteran ICM literary agent Esther Newberg said. "If he is president, then maybe someone publishes her. It’s a new world."

Officially, Newman served as director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison, but her role was not substantive and appeared to White House staffers as being more performative than anything else. She was out of the White House in less than a year.

New York Times best-selling author Andrew Shaffer, who published a satirical book about Trump's hypothetical presidency in 2016, said the runaway success of Michael Wolff's book about the administration (Fire and Fury) showed "there's ample consumer interest in what goes on behind the scenes in the Trump White House." But, he added, "at the same time, there's not much interest in Omarosa."

There's no recent precedent for Newman's potential book. Former press secretary Sean Spicer is writing a book for Regnery Publishing that's coming out this summer, but he's still loyal to the administration and his book is expected to target the mainstream media rather than his former boss. The closest comparison might be What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception, a 2008 tell-all book from former George W. Bush administration press secretary Scott McClellan.

Shaffer also mentioned the December 2017-published book Let Trump Be Trump, an account of his presidential campaign by former staffers David Bossie and Corey Lewandowski, a one-time CNN contributor with a less than stellar reputation. "If Corey Lewandowski could sell a book about his time with the Trump campaign, there's no reason Omarosa can't," Shaffer said. "They're equally infamous."

If Newman plans to trash the White House in a book, the conservative publishers — like Regnery, "The Leader in Conservative Books" — that would normally be a fit would likely take a pass.

An email to Regnery's publicity department about Newman was not returned. Other conservative imprints, like Crown Forum (The Crown Publishing Group/Penguin Random House) and Center Street (Hachette Book Group), also did not respond to requests for comment on whether they would be interested in publishing a book from Newman. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary and Newman's former colleague, similarly did not touch a question about Newman's interest in writing a book.

Newman is a published author, having written the 2008 book The Bitch Switch: Knowing How to Turn It on and Off; Publishers Weekly called that book "a genuinely insightful, thorough self-help guide for women looking to strengthen themselves, especially in work environments." The book was published by independent publisher Phoenix Books, which closed in 2010.

Brian Porreca contributed to this report.

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