For the last month Four Culture has been living vicariously in the West Wing while delivering the UK campaign for the fastest selling political book of the year – A Higher Loyalty by former FBI director James Comey – published in the UK by longstanding client Pan Macmillan.
Contents from the sensational book – likening President Trump to a Mafia boss – hit the news on both sides of the Atlantic just a few days after London Book Fair, followed by a world exclusive interview with James Comey on ABC in the US, which was reported worldwide. With a strict embargo on content until this point, our team was poised to fire out review copies to writers in London, New York and Washington the minute the story broke.
In the meantime we had been working closely with Macmillan US publisher Flatiron Books to arrange two exclusive UK publication week interviews in Comey’s packed domestic media and events schedule. The first saw Emily Maitlis fly out to New York for a thrilling BBC Newsnight special, in which Comey was interviewed at length in Macmillan’s HQ in the Flatiron Building, with balance provided by Anthony ‘The Mooch’ Scaramucci. The interview was syndicated worldwide through BBC News Channel, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and website (where it was most watched for 24hrs), and reported on BBC Radio 4 the following day. You can watch the interview in full here.
To further anchor the story in the UK, we worked with Pan Macmillan and Waterstones to arrange a publication day photocall and exclusive panel event, chaired by Emily before she flew to New York. Our expert panel for the packed event included Jonathan Freedland, who reviewed A Higher Loyalty for The Guardian, Anne McElvoy of The Economist and Clodagh Harrington, a specialist in Trump studies and Associate Professor of American Politics at Leicester’s De Montfort University. You can hear their brilliant analysis of this ‘first draft of history’ on the new Waterstones podcast here or here.
The second exclusive went to Toby Harden at The Sunday Times, an intimate double-page interview with Comey in News Review, which capped off a weekend of Book of the Week reviews which helped to catapult A Higher Loyalty to #1 bestseller in this week’s Sunday Times Hardback Non-Fiction chart. Meanwhile, in the US A Higher Loyalty, has sold 600,000 copies in the first week, doubling Hilary Clinton’s 300,000 and trebling Michael Wolff’s 200,000.
There can be no doubt that, as the New York Times wrote, ‘A Higher Loyalty is the first big memoir by a key player in the alarming melodrama that is the Trump administration.’ With the public appetite so high, we expect many more to follow. Whether they will be as dramatic and well written remains to be seen.