You’re the publisher of Peter Costello’s upcoming memoir. You have paid your man a handsome advance (rumoured to be $200,000+). To make the deal work on that number you need to sell around 40,000 hardbacks @ $50 a book. That’s a huge sale for political memoir by — let’s face it it — an unpopular conservative wannabe (books by conservative politicians sell far less well than books by Labor politicians). In addition, there are extract rights (Fairfax) and the exclusive TV interview (60 Minutes) to add to the coffers (but your man gets a decent slice of these). So far, the publicity is to die for. Front page splashes, TV news leads, all over radio talkback. Even the politicians are weighing in with promos, saying that the Liberal leadership can’t be decided until the book comes out.  There’s just one more card to play — the book itself. Which is fine as long as it’s a great read with lots of inside stories, juicy revelations about important people (especially a certain Prime Minister), funny anecdotes, secrets and some real humanity. Which means, almost by definition, that if Peter Costello has written the book he and his publisher need for commercial success, he has written the book that will make him persona non grata with his parliamentary colleagues. No wonder Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull are so calm.

Peter Fray

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