Self-Publishing Is a Gamble. Why Is Donald Trump Jr. Doing It?

Self-Publishing Is a Gamble. Why Is Donald Trump Jr. Doing It?


“This is a political pamphlet, not a book,” said Peter Osnos, the founder of the nonfiction imprint PublicAffairs. “It hasn’t been subjected to any measure of quality or accuracy.”

Though the book hasn’t been released yet, the Trump campaign and the R.N.C. have already started using it to raise money. The R.N.C. buys copies of the book for less than $20 apiece, and has been offering signed copies in exchange for donations of $75. It did the same thing with Sean Hannity’s “Live Free or Die,” which was released by Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Tuesday.

The R.N.C. said it raised nearly $1 million from signed copies of “Triggered.” The book was a New York Times No. 1 best seller last year, but it appeared on the list with a dagger symbol next to it, signifying that bulk sales — which came from the R.N.C. and other conservative groups — helped to boost its ranking. The R.N.C. said it has bought several thousand copies of “Liberal Privilege” so far and plans to buy more on a rolling basis.

“Don Jr.’s first book was a fund-raising powerhouse for the party, and we have no doubt this book will be the same,” Mandi Merritt, the press secretary for the R.N.C., said in an email.

Unlike Mr. Hannity’s book, “Liberal Privilege” will not be in bookstores. A person with knowledge of the project said that it will be $29.99 on Mr. Trump’s website, where presales are being handled, and on Amazon, along with an e-book and an audiobook narrated by Kimberly Guilfoyle, a senior campaign adviser and Mr. Trump’s girlfriend. It’s unclear if any major retailers will carry the book, though managers at some traditional distribution channels said last week that they hadn’t heard anything about it. ReaderLink, a company that supplies books to more than 80,000 stores, including big-box chains like Walmart and Target, said it had no plans to distribute it.

Another unusual aspect of the book is Mr. Trump’s collaborator, Sergio Gor, who has acted as his literary agent, consulted on the content of the book and has overseen the team managing everything from the editing to the print run. Last month, Mr. Gor became the chief of staff of the Trump Victory finance committee, which makes the book an unusual side project to be finishing up in the throes of such a demanding job.

“It’s a big job to self-publish,” Ms. Dystel, the literary agent, said, “and it takes your attention away from other things.”



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