The Thursday Murder Club: Launching a megabrand author - a publishing case study

Journal article


Barker, D. and Mitchell, C. 2022. The Thursday Murder Club: Launching a megabrand author - a publishing case study. Logos. 33 (1), pp. 7-22. https://doi.org/10.1163/18784712-03104029
AuthorsBarker, D. and Mitchell, C.
Abstract

In 2020, the Christmas book charts in the UK made headlines: Barack Obama’s eagerly awaited autobiography, The Promised Land, was beaten to the top spot by The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, a debut cosy crime novel set in a retirement village. Not only did Osman’s book beat the former US president’s expected bestseller, it also broke records, becoming the fastest-selling debut crime novel of all time. Although Osman has a certain level of fame in the UK from his TV appearances on shows such as Pointless, his celebrity status does not entirely explain the novel’s huge sales. This article tracks the acquisition, publication, and promotion journey of The Thursday Murder Club in order to understand the industry and cultural context of its success and to interrogate the role of celebrity in the creation of author brands. The findings suggest that the unexpected scale of the success of the book owed to a number of factors, including in-depth editing by the novel’s agent, editor, and author to tighten up the plot, an extensive and strategic promotional campaign, the pandemic (which drove interest in the book’s genre and themes), and the quality of the writing. We find that the book’s success was accentuated by Osman’s celebrity status rather than being entirely reliant on it. This research adds to the growing scholarship on celebrity authorship by means of an in-depth case study and provides insight into the processes behind publishing a ‘celebrity’ book and launching a megabrand author.

Keywordspublishing; bestsellers; crime fiction; celebrity authors; marketing
Year2022
JournalLogos
Journal citation33 (1), pp. 7-22
PublisherBrill
ISSN0957-9656
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1163/18784712-03104029
Web address (URL)https://brill.com/view/journals/logo/33/1/article-p7_2.xml
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online18 Jul 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted29 Mar 2022
Deposited22 Jul 2022
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https://repository.derby.ac.uk/item/97x46/the-thursday-murder-club-launching-a-megabrand-author-a-publishing-case-study

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Accepted author manuscript
Thursday Murder Club final version submitted to Brill March 2022.docx
License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
File access level: Open

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