NEW YORK — As the policeman from Midtown North said, "Now this is a party." At that moment, several thousand of Donald Trump's closest friends were gyrating on a dance floor smaller than most volleyball courts. Every few seconds, another among the thousands of red balloons that dropped from the ceiling of the atrium at Trump Tower would explode, a victim of a stiletto heel or an errant champagne glass. With expansive thanks to publisher Si Newhouse of Random House, editor Peter Osnos (ditto) and co-author Tony Schwartz, this was Trump's little get-together to introduce "Trump: The Art of the Deal," a book that sold a cool 54,000 copies in one week alone. As groupies gawked, Hollywood-premiere style, outside on Fifth Avenue, Trump and his omnipresent bodyguards worked their way through a scene that was among New York's more interesting tickets in weeks. Twenty violinists serenaded arriving guests. Jackie Mason did Borscht Belt commentary to introduce the real estate billionaire turned best-selling author. Phyllis George and Barbara Walters showed up. An exercise guru named High Voltage danced, or worked out, or something, in a Lurex bra and purple spandex cape. Trump, for his part, revealed he would donate his share of the book's bound-to-be-enormous profits to various charities, none specified as yet. Schwartz, however, said he intended to keep his portion.
AWARDS: Richard Howard, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and professor of French literature at the University of Texas at Austin, has been awarded the French-American Translation Prize of $5,000 for "William Marshal: The Flower of Chivalry," his English translation of the medieval historian Georges Duby's "Gillaume le Marechal." The prize was presented to Howard at a Dec. 2 luncheon in the Trustees Room of the New York Public Library. Nancy Ampoux received an Honorable Mention by the French-American Foundation for her translation of the novel "Cat's Grin" by Francois Maspero. The annual prize, established last year by the French-American Foundation, is designed to honor and encourage translations of French works of note into English and is made possible through the support of IBM-France.
Also, Susan Minot has been awarded the 1987 Prix Femina Etranger for her novel "Monkeys."
MORE AWARDS: As winners of the Mildred and Harold Strauss Livings, Diane Johnson and Robert Stone will each receive $250,000--$50,000 annually for the next five years. The Livings, as the awards are known, were made possible by a 1981 bequest from Harold and Mildred Strauss to provide writers of English prose literature with a stipend to cover their living expenses. Harold Strauss, who died in 1975, was editor in chief of Alfred A. Knopf.
NBCC NOMINEES: Rebuffed by the National Book Awards, Toni Morrison's "Beloved" (Knopf) and Philip Roth's "The Counterlife" (Farrar Straus & Giroux) are vying once again, this time for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Other fiction nominees are: "The Age of Grief" (Knopf), by Jane Smiley; "Crossing to Safety" (Random House), by Wallace Stegner and Tom Wolfe's "The Bonfire of the Vanities" (Farrar Straus & Giroux).
General nonfiction nominees include: National Book Award winner Richard Rhodes, for "The Making of the Atom Bomb" (Simon & Schuster); "Time's Arrow, Time's Cycle" (Harvard University Press), by Stephen Jay Gould; "The Genius of the People" (Harper & Row), from Charles Mee; "Democracy Is in the Streets" (Simon & Schuster), by James Miller; and "And the Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic" (St. Martin's) by Randy Shilts.
Biography/autobiography nominees are: "An American Childhood" (Harper & Row), by Annie Dillard; "Chaucer: His Life, His Works, His World" (Dutton), by Donald R. Howard; "Don't Tread on Me: The Selected Letters of S. J. Perelman" (Viking), edited by Prudence Crowther; "Private Domain" (Knopf), by Paul Taylor; "Timebends: A Life" (Grove Press), by Arthur Miller.
Criticism nominees: "Collected Prose" (Farrar Straux & Giroux) by Robert Lowell; "Dance Writings" (Knopf), by Edwin Denby; "Every Force Evolves a Form" (North Point Press) by Guy Davenport; "Sight Lines" (Knopf), by Arlene Croce; "Understanding Toscanini" (Knopf), by Joseph Horowitz.
Poetry nominees: "April Galleons" (Viking), by John Ashbery; "Flesh and Blood" (Farrar Straus & Giroux), by C. K. Williams; "Happy Hour" (University of Chicago Press), by Alan Shapiro; "In Other Words" (Knopf), by May Swenson; "The Sunset Maker" (Atheneum), by Donald Justice.
THE RECORD BREAKER OF RUSSIAN HILL: Two weeks after its official publication date, "Kaleidoscope" (Delacorte Press), by San Francisco's own Danielle Steel, had a whopping 1 million copies in print. Steel's 21 other books have more than 85 million copies in print worldwide.
SO YOU WANT TO BE A PUBLISHER?: An analysis by BP Report, a book industry trade journal, showed that book publishers earned more than $1 billion in pretax profits in 1986. Educational publishing continued to be the biggest profit-maker.