Last year’s Republican vice presidential nominee is starting a book tour next week to promote her memoir, “Going Rogue: An American Life.”

Is it a thinly-veiled bid to test the waters for a possible 2012 Republican presidential bid, or simply an effort to make money and cement her celebrity status?

Only time will tell. For now, the opening stops of her tour in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama and Florida, could be valuable if she later decides to run.

Palin remains as controversial as ever, beloved by grassroots conservatives and derided by liberals, a year after bursting onto the national stage with her run at high office with Republican presidential nominee John McCain.

Yet there is no denying her star status in the Republican Party, where she is often mentioned alongside possible Republican candidates in 2012, such as Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Mike Huckabee.

The book, written with help from ghostwriter Lynn Vincent, has been high on’s best-seller list for weeks, long before the Nov. 17 release of a reported 1.5 million copies. Palin received an advance of at least $1.25 million from publishers Harper Collins.

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