COLUMBIA -- Michele Bachmann is the latest 2012 hopeful to release a book, a tool that could help her struggling campaign gain traction in South Carolina's First in the South GOP primary.

Kendra Stewart, a political science professor at the College of Charleston, said Friday the political memoirs are carefully vetted and if executed right can increase a candidate's likability, which she said was a key factor for voters in the 2008 presidential election.

"People do very often walk away with a favorable impression," Stewart said. "These are very purposely written."

Bachmann, whose book "Core of Conviction" was released this week, told The Post and Courier that her book is an unfiltered way for her to speak directly to people about who she is and what motivates her.

Bachmann, a congresswoman from Minnesota, said readers will learn about her upbringing in a middle-class home that changed when her parents divorced and her mother and siblings lost virtually everything they owned. The memoir details the lessons her mother instilled in her, such as "Your education is everything," her college years, life as a wife and mother to five biological children and 23 foster children, and what led her into politics.

"I am running for president because I truly believe this next generation is worth it," Bachmann told the newspaper.

All the GOP's top presidential contenders have authored a book, and several have been released to coincide with the 2012 election.

For instance, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his wife, Callista, will sign copies of his latest book "A Country Like No Other" after a town hall meeting with U.S. Rep. Tim Scott at 7 p.m. Monday at the College of Charleston. The book, his 24th, was published in June.

Stewart said the books can occasionally have negative consequences for politicians.

Gov. Rick Perry, Texas, found himself in a firestorm when former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney slammed him for comments in Perry's book "Fed Up!" Perry called Social Security a Ponzi scheme in the book, published last November.

Stewart said putting a comment in print in a book does not allow a candidate much room for spin.

"Once it's in print, it is obviously something that has been talked through and vetted," she said. "If it doesn't play well, it could have a lasting negative effect."

As for Bachmann's book, Stewart said she could use the book to draw political support from people who don't know her well.

Bachmann said her book will show voters why she isn't just a candidate wearing a "Republican jersey."

"I want people to know I am completely unlike any of the other candidates," she said. "I have been tested in the lion's den of Washington, D.C., for the last five years. From the core of my conviction, I have stood fast and strong."

The book was published by Sentinel, a conservative imprint of the Penguin Group.

Sentinel is also publishing Gov. Nikki Haley's memoir "Can't is not an option." The book is due out Jan. 3.

A spokeswoman for the publisher declined Friday to say if Haley is through writing her book.

Reach Yvonne Wenger at 803-926-7855.