Writing an instant bestseller usually comes with a hefty payoff. So does managing a hedge fund. Even the salary from, say, running the FBI seems paltry in comparison with the other two. Given that the former FBI director has done all three, it won't be a surprise that James Comey's net worth is likely to be quite substantial.
No one knows for sure what exactly Comey is worth, but you can make a pretty good guess based on the information that has been confirmed. When Obama nominated Comey for the position of FBI director in 2013, Comey filed paperwork saying that his net worth was approximately $11 million, which included a house worth about $3 million and stocks with a total worth of about $5 million. He was also due to receive a payout of over $3 million from the hedge fund where he previously worked, which wasn't included in that $11 million.
When taking that into account, the FBI director's salary of $172,100 was actually a serious pay cut for Comey; considering that the title of his book is A Higher Loyalty, though, it should perhaps be no surprise that he took it. CNN reported soon after Comey's firing that it was highly unlikely that he'd receive a severance package — but the explosive nature of his exit from government provided the perfect ground for a book deal much more lucrative than anything he would have gotten from his government job.
Numerous publishers were bidding for the rights to Comey's book, an absolute dream scenario for anyone who's ever tried to get a piece of their work published. Macmillan won, and the initial print run that they ordered was 850,000 copies. Just to give you a sense of what that number means, Michael Wolff's inflammatory book Fire and Fury started out with a print run of 150,000 — and that's only counting actual printed books, and says nothing of the expected sales of audiobooks and e-books. Before the book had even been released, an anonymous source told Huff Post it had already sold 200,000 copies across all platforms.
While there's no word on how many copies of A Higher Loyalty have sold so far, it does seem clear that it's going to add a boost to Comey's net worth. He already reportedly received at least $2 million after signing on with Macmillan, Politico reported, and he'll also get a cut of any royalties on the book — which could end up being much higher than that advance.
Comey is currently working pretty hard to maximize those book sales, as he's making the media rounds on a fairly substantial publicity tour. He also got some inadvertent advertising in the form of a series of bombastic, insult-laden tweets from the president, which seemed to come in response to leaks from the book. CNN reports that Comey's tome hasn't drawn exactly the in-person interest that Wolff's did, but there's a very strong chance that it'll still hit number one on the New York Times' non-fiction best seller list.
All that is to say that in the year following his firing, Comey has definitely added at least $2 million to his fortune through his book deal — and it will likely end up being significantly more than that, depending on how well his book sells. The loss of a guaranteed $172,100 over the rest of the time that he was supposed to be FBI director is a financial hit — but according to all of the public records on Comey's net worth, it doesn't seem like it left him and his family in dire financial straights.