Phelps Strikes Publishing Gold

michaelphelps082708.jpgJust when you thought the Olympics were over, they pull you right back in, to the pool, that is. Michael Phelps — the shirtless American hero we might already be sick of — just received a book advance of $1.6 million from the Free Press imprint of Simon & Schuster.

That’s $200,000 for each of his gold medals or more than $20,000 for every inch of his 6’7″ wingspan. Regardless of how you break the number down, it’s much more than Jamaican sprinting sensation Usain Bolt will get.

The book, sold by Waxman Literary Agency and Peter Carlisle, Phelps’ talent manager, will hit shelves in December with the title Build to Succeed.

Although the general public only cares about the Olympics once every four years (and even then, our dedication is questionable at best), marketers think Phelps could rise above the trend. His recent Sports Illustrated cover sold 72 percent more copies then an average week in the second half of 2007. Whatever, we’re still not buying his book, although over at GalleyCat, Ron Hogan writes of an Olympic memoir we might actually read.

(The Games also continued to dominate TV ratings.)