The Obamas, not me, ink $65 million book deal
The Obamas, not me, ink $65 million book deal

Barack and Michelle have emptied out the cash register at the Penguin publishing house.

So if you’re a real writer you get whatever coins are left, if anything at all.

It’s your blood sweat and tears but it’s the publisher’s money, and those people must know what they’re doing – though not always.

Hillary nabbed some $8 million from some publisher for her deathless prose and I do not think she earned it back. Bill got $10 million and I don’t know what happened. Today’s headlines estimate that for Barack and Michelle it’s about 50-50 – or rather $30 million or so a piece.

For so many who go starving, only a fraction of that would be manna.

Yes, the rich get richer and the writing-poor keep scratching it out for leftovers. That’s life, certainly in the world of publishing.

The New York Times, naturally, kvelled about the deal. Citing Barack’s previous works of fiction, it says, “Reviewers have praised him as a gifted The good news is that as Barack keeps writing it gives him less time to obstruct our current President, Donald Trump.
prose writer.” I apologize for calling his books fiction. That is Mark Steyn (a REAL writer) who says so, so he must have read Mr. Obama. I never did.

Michelle? Is she too a “gifted prose writer?” I do not know if she has ever written (or read) anything as big as an entire book. I will look it up some day.

The good news is that as Barack keeps writing it gives him less time to obstruct our current President, Donald Trump.

The bad news, to get back to my point, is that people who write for the love of writing must wait in line and the line is very long. Too often it is hopeless and without end or reward. Meantime, some teleprompter floozy on TV suddenly writes a “book” and next day it’s number one. That is annoying.

Therefore, people who have access to TV fame are in; the rest are out. Did I already say life is unfair?

The next question is whether the rich and famous, and this includes the Obamas, actually write the books themselves.

As for me, I light up a pipe. Then I wait for inspiration and for 30 million dollars. I get no help from a crew of associates and ghostwriters.

Something tells me that the phonies get it done by dictating, which is not writing.

Or as Truman Capote said of Jack Kerouac – “That’s not writing. That’s typing.”

But I doubt that it is even typing from the hands of the already famous. They suggest ideas to the ghosts they’ve hired, often while golfing or taking a shower.

They say, “Turn it into gifted prose.”

Rashi turned it into heavenly prose all by himself and I often wonder how this 11th Century master of Scriptures managed to cover the globe.

He had no Amazon. He had no Google.

For Barack and Michelle, it will take the entire media machinery to make good on that $65 million investment.

On top of that, will Barack come clean? For a memoir, this would be his chance, his duty, to TELL ALL I doubt that he will tell anything beyond flattery. 

It’s his book and he can say what he wants and even if he covers his feud with Benjamin Netanyahu, your guess as to who will be the hero.

So forget truth from a book that is bound to be self-serving from start to finish.

True writing is a labor of love and it needs years of planting with never a promise or guarantee of a harvest.

The writer who is absolutely faithful to his art has no choice but to keep at it because it is a task given to him while he was being formed.

I do not trust it in the hands of opportunists who are in it as a game to make a buck.

New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes a regular column for Arutz Sheva. New from the novelist: “News Anchor Sweetheart,” a novelist’s version of Fox News and Megyn Kelly. Engelhard is the author of the international bestseller “Indecent Proposal.” For books like his award-winning memoir “Escape from Mount Moriah,” he is the recipient of the Ben Hecht Award for Literary Excellence. Website: