Monday, January 8, 2001
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Posted on: Monday, January 8, 2001

Many celebrity books set for 2001 release

USA Today

Everybody’s talking about Hillary Rodham Clinton and her $8 million book deal. But the world will have to wait until 2003 to find out just how deeply the new U.S. senator dishes about her White House years.

In the meantime, the publishing industry will spin out plenty of celeb titles in 2001, including Michael J. Fox’s memoirs, David Blaine’s chilling life story, Melissa Etheridge’s true confessions and Britney Spears’ foray into fiction (oops!).

Even though celebrity books aren’t guaranteed best sellers — "some of the fizz is out of celebrity literary champagne," says Random House vice president Stuart Applebaum — publishers still get starry-eyed when it comes to stars.

Last fall, books by popular singers Celine Dion, Natalie Cole and Jewel attracted media attention but didn’t catch on with fans. Cole’s "Angel on My Shoulder "didn’t make USA Today’s best-seller list, nor did Jewel’s "Chasing Down the Dawn," even though her 1998 poetry collection sold a phenomenal 700,000 copies. And "Celine Dion: My Story, My Dream" is reportedly gathering dust in warehouses across the United States.

Tina Sinatra’s "My Father’s Daughter" fared better, as did Sarah Bradford’s book about Jackie Kennedy, "America’s Queen." But the real story in celeb books for 2000 was sports and politics. Richard Ben Cramer’s biography of Joe DiMaggio, which came out in October, is still on best-seller lists. As is Bill O’Reilly’s "The O’Reilly Factor," from the ranting Fox News Channel talk-show host.

"I think we’re all being more selective" about celebrity books, says Carol Schneider, vice president of publicity for Random House. "We all got burned, and some of us worse than others. I think it has to be someone who’s had a life people are curious about. "

Michael J. Fox certainly fits that category, and Hyperion probably will have a smash hit on its hands when his "Lucky Man" comes out in September. The popular actor, who got $4 million for the book, will talk about his battle with Parkinson’s disease, and proceeds will go to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Another memoir by an actor with a disability — "Still Me" by Christopher Reeve — was a big best seller in 1998.

Although Marie Osmond’s bout with postpartum depression is no secret, Warner Books is expecting her book on the topic, "Behind the Smile," to hit big in May.

"We’re seeing a tremendous amount of interest," says Emi Battaglia, vice president and director of publicity.

And while Welsh singing sensation Charlotte Church is only 14, she’s already a global superstar. Her book, "Voice of an Angel: My Life (So Far)," is due from Warner in April.

Some other books due this year:

"I’d Rather Laugh: How to be Happy Even When Life Has Other Plans for You," self-help from Mike Myers’ mother-in-law, Linda Richman, foreword by Rosie O’Donnell (Warner, $23.95, just published).

"The Other Great Depression," comedian Richard Lewis’ chronicle of his battle with alcoholism (Public Affairs, $23, just published).

"Reinventing Yourself With the Duchess of York," new Weight Watchers motivational book by Sarah Ferguson (Simon & Schuster, this month).

"Shaq Talks Back," in which the L.A. Lakers’ Shaquille O’Neal has his say (St. Martin’s Press, April).

"Napalm and Silly Putty," humor from George Carlin (Hyperion, April).

"Fame: Ain’t It a Bitch," E! host A.J. Benza’s memoirs about his days as a New York gossip columnist (Talk/Miramax, May).

Britney Spears’ first novel, still untitled (with her mother as co-author), for young-adult readers (Delacorte, April).

"The Truth Is . . . My Life in Love and Music," by rocker Melissa Etheridge (Villard, June).

"Patti’s Pearls," inspirational words by singer Patti LaBelle (Warner Books, October).

"Cosbyology," musings by Bill Cosby (Hyperion, November).

"Boy Genius," memoirs of "Partridge Family" star Danny Bonaduce (Hyperion, November").

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