Campaign book season begins With Hilary Clinton memoir

WASHINGTON, June 5 Thu Jun 5, 2014 1:20pm EDT

WASHINGTON, June 5 (Reuters) - When likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton kicks off the tour to promote her new memoir on Tuesday, she will follow the well-worn path of other politicians, including President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, who have published books before pursuing the White House.

"Hard Choices," Clinton's fifth book with publisher Simon and Schuster, will give the former secretary of state a chance to shape the debate about her record in the Obama administration, and reintroduce herself to voters as she tours the country.

A publicity blitz for the book, characterized by pundits as a kick-off to a possible 2016 presidential run, will include stops in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Denver, San Diego, San Francisco and Austin, Texas, as well as Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta.

Clinton's memoir comes near the beginning of campaign book season, a traditional step on the path to the White House. "Hard Choices" will come two months after books by two other politicians who may consider presidential bids, Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren and Pennsylvania Republican Rick Santorum.

Memoirs from other possible contenders are in the works. New York Democrat Andrew Cuomo will come out with his soon, and Republicans Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee have signed deals for pre-2016 books.

Most political books generate lackluster sales, but publishers rush to print such books, in part because of the media buzz they generate. The one by Clinton, however, is likely to be an exception, given her celebrity status as a former first lady, former senator and former secretary of state.

Adam Bellow, editor of Broadside, a HarperCollins imprint for conservative nonfiction, said he met with every Republican contender about their books before the 2012 election - including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who did not run then but may join the 2016 race.

Keith Urbahn, an agent who helped Cruz clinch an April deal with HarperCollins reportedly worth $1.5 million, said he had negotiated with other potential conservative candidates as well.

Clinton's advance for "Living History," her last book, was reportedly $8 million. Robert Barnett, her agent for "Hard Choices," declined to comment on the latest book.

Clinton's book rollout has included an excerpt about her mother published online by Vogue magazine in May, plus a series of planned interviews with television networks and glossy magazines. She will also defend her diplomatic record in front of large audiences, just as Republicans criticize her so-called reset of relations with Russia and her handling of the 2012 attack on a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya.

This type of memoir, covering a specific period, differs from most pre-campaign books, which are often biographical and offer prescriptions for fixing the country's ills. "Hard Choices" gives Clinton a chance to respond in print to attacks on her record.

From a publishing standpoint, Clinton's book is likely to be a "slam dunk," Bellow said.

"Hillary is a political celebrity. She has published bestsellers before. It's not a bad bet from a publisher's point of view, whether she runs or not," Bellow said of the memoir. (Reporting by Gabriel Debenedetti; Editing by Caren Bohan and Steve Orlofaky)

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