Bill Clinton's keynote address to Book Expo America earlier this month in Chicago was a reminder that nobody sells Clinton like Clinton. Promoting his autobiography, "My Life," to the annual convention of the nation's publishers and booksellers, he began by saying, "People tell me books like this are boring and self-serving. I just hope mine is interesting and self-serving." If the book is anything like his speech, no worries. A typical response: Richard Howorth, owner of Square Books in Oxford, Miss., walked out of the speech and immediately upped his advance order from 100 to 200 copies.
The campaign goes into high gear when the book appears June 22 in a one-day laydown nationwide. The week kicks off with a "60 Minutes" interview, followed by appearances on "Oprah," the "Today" show, "Larry King" and "Charlie Rose." To accommodate demand beyond the 2.3 million copies ordered by retailers, Knopf has already reserved press time at the printer's and stockpiled paper for subsequent editions. The real trick, of course, will be keeping the book under wraps until the publication date. In the absence of a new "Harry Potter" this year, Clinton's book is the hands-down favorite to be The Book Most Likely to Appear Before Publication on eBay, where posters for it are already being offered for $4.99.