No word yet of a Linda Tripp or Monica Lewinsky deal, but books revolving around That Story continue to be signed up. Steve Ross, editorial director at Crown, has signed Michael Isikoff of Newsweek, the journalist who can be said to have launched the whole thing -- he first uncovered the Paula Jones story. Since then he has followed the White House sin saga for five years, "battling," as Crown puts it, "both skeptical editors and a formidable White House spin machine." Isikoff said his book can offer a "unique perspective" on the story as it developed, including the war between Clinton and his political enemies, and how journalists covered the story. Crown publisher Chip Gibson said he expects Isikoff's work, which will be published as soon as he can finish it in 1999, to be the "definitive book on the scandal." The book was agented by Isikoff's lawyer, Gail Ross.
Meanwhile, over at the Free Press, one of the ace manipulators of that formidable spin machine, Lanny Davis, former special counsel to the president, will offer a book called Truth to Tell. It's not exactly a book on the White House, where Davis toiled for 14 months beginning at the end of 1996. He became one of the most familiar talking heads on TV, logging more than 80 appearances since the Lewinsky affair broke last January. Although he returned, somewhat bedraggled, to his law practice several months ago, he remains a loyal and vocal Clinton supporter. The book will draw on the lessons Davis learned as the president's leading spokesperson, including the many mistakes he believes were made in withholding information. The book, he said, will be "the 10 rules for making bad news better," which will also be its subtitle. And what's that but spin? Paul Golob will be the editor; agent Arthur Kaminsky of the Marquee Group made the sale, in the low six figures.