Chicago Sun Times, February 2009

Blago blitz ‘like watching a train wreck’

BLAGO BOOK? | Literary agents don’t see publishers beating on ex-gov’s door after seeing him ‘literally destroy’ himself on TV

Chicago Sun Times, February 7, 2009

by Jordan Wilson

He has done the national TV rounds — twice. Is a book deal next for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich?

It’s hard for Sharlene Martin to imagine.

And she’s the literary agent who helped get If I Did It — O.J. Simpson’s controversial but best-selling fictional account of how he might have committed the killings for which he was acquitted — published.

Watching the ousted governor’s string of TV appearances has been like “watching someone literally destroy themselves in front of your very eyes,” Martin said. “It’s like watching a train wreck. And I’m not sure, in this economy especially, people will pay money to read about a train wreck.”

Blagojevich at least has to come up with something new to say, said Ted Weinstein, the literary agent who landed a book deal with Ballantine/Random House for a Nevada sixth-grade teacher who won an improbable bid for Congress. Just rehashing his “I haven’t done anything wrong” mantra won’t sell, Weinstein said.

He said the only ways that Blagojevich might land a six-figure book deal are to do what he hasn’t on “Larry King” and “Today” and all the rest: admit he’s guilty, or tell all about others.

“If he says, ‘Here’s how the whole world works’ — the underside of Chicago, naming names — damn, we’d all want to buy that,” Weinstein said.

At Skyhorse Publishing in New York, which published ex-Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura’s 2008 book, associate publisher Bill Wolfsthal said what he has heard about Blagojevich’s fall wouldn’t keep readers’ attention for 250 pages. And he doesn’t think a mass audience would jump at a book by a shamed politician.

“The question is whether people will want others to see Rod Blagojevich’s book on their coffee table,” he said.

Still, Blagojevich’s public relations agent, Glenn Selig, said the ex-governor actually has gotten some book offers. More than one. But he wouldn’t discuss specifics.

Nor would he say what might fill a Blagojevich book.

“There wouldn’t be anything left if I told you,” said Selig, whose firm also represents Drew Peterson, the former Bolingbrook police sergeant who has been named a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy. “But there’s plenty that hasn’t been said that will continue to make him a draw. . . . He’s well-connected in the world of politics. He’s articulate and has a lot to say.”

Blagojevich has said he’s ready.

“I think I have a lot I can say,” Blagojevich told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “And I’ve got my crayons ready. So I’m ready to get started — just as soon as someone’s willing to talk to me.”

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