Can Jared Paul Stern, the gossip writer who was ignominiously fired by the New York Post earlier this year, really expect to make a lot of money from the memoir he has contracted to write for a New York publisher? Not according to the New York Times, which has been looking into how well similar books by other disgraced journalists have done lately.
The Times suggests that Stern’s book, for which he is eportedly being paid six figures (that is at least $100,000), will be a tough sell.It is hinted it will be an “inside story” of what it is like working at Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, and specifically for its gossip page, which the 35-year -old newsman has already described as a “sausage factory”.
The most touted book lately in the tell-all category has been the book by Jayson Blair, who resigned from the New York Times after it was discovered he had fabricated and plagiarised a number of articles. He titled it “Burning Down My Master’s House”. The book, according to official records, sold only about 4,000 copies.
Then there was the book, a” true-life novel” , written by Stephen Glass, a 25-year-old reporter and editor at The New Republic, who was also fired for fabricating articles. That book too fizzled with the critics and like Blair’s book sold only about 4,000 copies.
Stern is not the first Page Six reporter to write books based on their experiences working for the NY Post. There was a book by Paula Froelich, who still works for The Post, called “It!: Nine Secrets of the Rich and Famous That’ll Take You To the Top”, which did better than most. It sold about 9,000 copies. Another book by a colleague Ian Spiegelman, a novel entitled “Welcome to Yesterday”, about a gossip writer on a New York tabloid, sold, according to a service called Bookscan, a mere 1, 000 copies. Another novel entitled “4% Famous” by former New York Magazine gossip writer Deborah Schoeneman didn’t fare much better. It sold 4,000 copies in hardcover.
The publishing house that has signed up Jared Stern, an offshoot division of Simon & Schuster called Touchstone Fireside, is already touting his book as a potential bestseller that will “deliver the scoop on the glamorous heights and seamy underbelly of the gossip industry and the New York tabloid wars” Whether it will give the inside story of Stern’s alleged attempt to extort $200,000 from a multimillionaire California businessman Ronald Burkle in return for keeping negative stories about him out of Page Six is not certain. The investigation into the allegation – which led to his dismissal from the New York Post – has still not been officially closed.