The queen of home entertaining, and much else domestic, is writing her autobiography for Clarkson Potter, the Crown imprint that has published her throughout her successful career. Meanwhile, a journalist who had once intended to collaborate with Stewart on a personal book is doing a study of his own. Martha's book, signed with the author by Crown president Chip Gibson and Potter editorial director Lauren Shakely, will be, said Stewart, a study—"bumps in the road," imperfections and all—of her progress to the chairmanship of her own prosperous multimedia company and her position as the doyenne of home how-to. It will be, she added, "the ultimate recipe book for success." Crown bought world rights to the tale, tentatively titled Martha: Really and Truly, and plans to publish in 2003.

Beating her own book into the stores by some distance, however, will be one by New York Observer and Bloomberg financial commentator Christopher Byron, whose Martha Inc. promises an investigative inside look at the lady and her company. It's being written for John Wiley, where senior editor Pamela van Giessen signed it from agent Joni Evans at William Morris, and it will be published, they say, as soon as next April. Byron, who has been a not-unsympathetic observer of Stewart and her Omnimedia company, said he originally had planned to do the book with her, but that she had backed out when she apparently became "uncomfortable" with some of the questions his researcher was asking. Byron added that she decided to do her own book only after it became clear that he would go ahead without her. Crown responded that Stewart had always planned to do her own memoir.