Musicians page through their pasts for book deals
By Cortney HardingSkip to next paragraph
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NEW YORK (Billboard) - As recording artists experiment with all manner of digital media to reach their fans, a few are engaging in a centuries-old practice -- writing books.
Those awaiting new material from Eminem, for example, were granted a temporary reprieve when the rapper-turned-hermit released "The Way I Am" in October. Part scrapbook and part memoir, the book has sold 10,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen BookScan.
"The Way I Am" isn't the only new tome on the market from an outspoken Detroit musician. Ted Nugent's "Ted, White, and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto," a polemic about politics, has sold 24,000 copies since it arrived October 7 and is No. 28 on the New York Times' Hardcover Nonfiction best-seller list.
The book sales haven't translated into increased record sales for either. None of Eminem's four albums or Nugent's greatest-hits album has enjoyed any appreciable rise in sales since their books were published, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Then again, that's usually not the reason why artists turn to book writing. Musicians pick up the pen to set the record straight, rant about the state of the world or just share tales of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. And even those who aren't rock-star famous can sometimes get book deals: Juliana Hatfield, more than a decade past her indie-rock heyday, recently published a memoir through Wiley.
A more conventional rock 'n' roll book project was Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx's memoir of drug addiction, "The Heroin Diaries," which has sold 161,000 copies in hardcover and an additional 6,000 in paperback since it was published in September 2007. Sixx helped boost sales of the book by releasing an album a month before the book's publication. "The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack" has sold 276,000 units in the United States, according to SoundScan.