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GETTING A READ ON THE MAYOR

A WEBB SPEECHWRITER PENS A VANITY BOOK IN HONOR OF HIS HONOR.

The district attorney, she writes, "was daring and dashing. He was a former track star who kept his svelte, six-foot-one-inch body in shape by regularly working out at the exclusive Denver Athletic Club. He was outgoing and strutted confidently with shoulders thrown back, dressed handsomely in designer suits."

Webb, meanwhile, "had a paunch that couldn't be ignored."
Early could not be reached for comment, and Bain says he hasn't read the book, adding that he's "never heard of it." He does say, though, that Webb's victory had less to do with his neighborhood walks than with the Bain camp's decision to concentrate exclusively on attacking Early before the general election, giving Webb a free ride. Bain says if he had gone after Webb instead, "we could have knocked [him] out in the first round."

To Make a Mayor was published by University Press of America (UPA) of Lanham, Maryland. The firm's acquisitions editor, Michelle Harris, describes UPA as an "academic publisher" but notes that the company is not affiliated with a university.

UPA agreed to print and distribute 700 copies of the book in paperback after Denver's Hue-Man Experience Bookstore, which specializes in African-American literature, agreed to buy 500 of them.

Harris insists that UPA is "not a vanity press." But Dick Rowson, publishing consultant to the American University Press in Washington, D.C., who is familiar with UPA, says book contracts that require prepublication orders are "in effect...a vanity form of publishing." Tucker's book sells for $19.95.

Tucker says UPA gets to keep all proceeds from sales of the first edition of the book, but she will earn a small royalty if there is a second printing. Tucker says she hopes to continue her career as a writer and is currently looking for an agent for a recently completed novel.

Tucker's book appears to have received a mixed reaction since its release. Hue-Man Experience owner Clara Villarosa, a Webb backer who has donated $225 to the mayor since 1993, says she sold 250 copies to the Tattered Cover, another 50 to the four Benjamin Books outlets at DIA, and kept the rest herself, so far selling about 100 copies to the general public. Villarosa says she agreed to purchase the books partly as a business decision and partly "to be supportive to the mayor." Cathy Langer, projects manager at the Tattered Cover, says the book "hasn't been a runaway bestseller, but it's been selling steadily." At DIA, however, Benjamin Books operations manager Renata Warner says her stores have sold only a handful of copies. "Nobody's been particularly interested," she says.

Villarosa says she has complained to the publishers of both the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News because neither newspaper has yet reviewed the book. "It has gotten absolutely no publicity," Villarosa says. "People don't know about it.

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