Thursday, May 10, 2012

PublishAmerica's CEO discusses books printed about American Presidents

Letter from PublishAmerica's CEO: Books about presidents. What? No buy 12 copies and we will donate a copy of your book to the White House?

May 09, 2012

Open mic for Bhaskara de LaMonde, Ice Princess ( "A thrilling story that follows the adventures of a young girl looking for love and self-fulfillment, Ice Princess is a must read for all."


Good morning!

Although this is an election year, it has so far been a yawn year when it comes to books about former presidents. No other nation in the world produces so many books about their former heads of government, and keeps doing it again and again, decade after decade. But the harvest to date is unremarkable. And that, in itself, is remarkable.

In the world of books, almost all presidents get to be hailed, then vilified, then re-glorified over a period of roughly fifty years from the moment they run for office. This year, so far, we have only seen a mild restoration of LBJ, in a book by Mark Updegrove, but that pales in the shadow of what's being written about JFK, whose status among authors is at an all-time high.

Nobody else does what we do. No one else takes a chance on so many authors, produces their work, formats it to the best printers' specs, creates unique cover art (and all the illustrations if it's a children's book), issues two or more ISBNs, and makes the book available to just about every bookstore worldwide, all at no charge. Oh, and since January of this year we do it in beautiful hardcover, to boot. Why?

More after this book review, E-Mail Connections: Tragedy and Triumph of 'The Terms' by Jacques Lasseigne (

A catastrophic car accident in 2006 leaves members of rock band The Terms fragmented emotionally and physically. The band, once successful, is shattered by the traumatic brain injury suffered by Brandon Young, the bass player and the author's son's friend. Through emails to family and friends, Jacques Lasseigne archives the events that transpire over the course of Brandon's healing process. His updates to friends and family are a way for him to heal and aid others in following Brandon's recovery process. He also reflects, in between email updates, on the band's successes and chronicles their journey in the music industry from changing the band's name, signing a recording contract, making a record, and their countless shows.

Deemed the "Best New Band of 2006," The Terms enjoyed success all over the country. Their music was played on radio stations, and they even made the Billboard charts. All of that ended when someone ran a stop sign and changed the course of their lives. Jacques pulls at your heartstrings with the realization that the band's dream was short-lived. The redemption, however, lies in Brandon's recovery and his quick advancements in physical therapy. Will they perform again? No matter what transpires, I can tell you that the lives of these men will be forever changed.

Find E-Mail Connections here:

JFK will likely keep hitting the bestsellers lists until well after next year when the 50th anniversary of his assassination will probably produce dozens of new Kennedy books. In the book world, JFK is on the same level as Lincoln, and to a degree also FDR. There's always another angle to write about, and there are always readers for such books.

It's of course no coincidence that all three died while in office. Dead presidents that shouldn't have been dead at the time remain forever popular. On my desk are three books about James Garfield, assassinated 131 years ago, all recent. Or make that four, because PublishAmerica also released a Garfield book, by John McArthur. In my Nook is a recent book about president McKinley, assassinated 111 years ago.

But none of those books about untimely-dead presidents add something stunningly new this year. They're on the market today, but essentially only because they're, well, here. Somebody decided to write them. Like Robert Caro who wrote yet again a very big book about LBJ, simply because thirty years ago he decided to write four LBJ tomes, meanwhile amended to five. Unlike Updegrove, Caro doesn't like Johnson very much.

An interesting presidents book this year is actually about the life they lived after they left office. It's The Presidents Club by Nancy Gibbs, I'm reading it in my Kindle and enjoying it. But again, there's nothing that makes you think, "Wow, really?". It says something when the most remarkable books about a president in the past few years were three separate books about James Polk (James who?) who lived in the White House between 1845-1849 and was far more consequential than you learned in school – if you learned anything about him at all.

But what else does it say, this absence of glorious books about our presidents in an election year? It says that the presidency is less of a hot item than it was four years ago, or twelve, or twenty years ago. After Clinton became president, there was a surge of movies about fictional presidents (The American President, Independence Day, Wag The Dog, Primary Colors). When George W Bush became president, there was The West Wing on TV. There's no such popular demand now, and it is reflected by the absence of serious, history re-writing books about former presidents.

You decide whether that's good news for the incumbent, or for the challenger.

Also on the soapbox today: Trude Adriaan, A South-Pacific Love Story, ( "A South-Pacific Love Story, by Trude Adriaan engages readers with a riveting depiction of sensuality, aesthetic descriptions of the islands and the non compos mentis."

Also open mic for Vishwa Prakash, Who Stole My Soul? A Dialogue with the Devil on the Meaning of Life, ( "Who Stole My Soul offers answers to the purpose of the human soul and will inspire the reader to make a spiritual quest of their own."

I invite you to talk back to me. I don't guarantee a response, but I do guarantee that we listen. You can reach me by email at In the subject line write Attn. Willem.

Have a wonderful day!

--Willem Meiners

If you want to rent space on Willem's future Letters-from-the-CEO, go to Have your book reviewed for tens of thousands of people to see, or talk into the open mic!
You can read this letter also online here: All previous letters are here:

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