They are the four or five Thursdays in September and October when publishers release what they hope will be their major selling titles in the run up to Christmas for the UK.
What makes them “Super” Well for one thing it is volume, for example on Thursday 11th October over 220 new hardbacks were published. That’s the highest number of new titles released on the one day for many years; recession, what recession says the publishing industry. I am thinking that if I wrote a book and the publisher suggested that we publish on one of the “Super Thursdays” I would be thrilled, it probably means I am a celeb, – heaven knows what I’ll have done to deserve that. On the other hand this year it would mean that I would be competing with the likes of Miranda Hart, Clare Balding and even J.K. Rowling.
Speaking of JKR and the publication of The Casual Vacancy, it turns out that once Little Brown announced that J. K. Rowling was going to be published on Thursday 27th September, other publishers scrambled to move the publication of their authors’ new books onto other days to avoid losing sales. So can you imagine? You write the book, it’s accepted by the publisher, you are given a publication date, you tell everyone and then wow, someone else announces their book is coming out and oops, your date is moved. Tells you where you are in life I guess!
Does it really matter when you are published… well it appears so. Each week the bestselling charts are published to the trade. On release emails fly to avid analysts wanting to know how they have done. Trembling people in Hodder Towers are spotting the Hachette titles and further on down near the river in Random House equally anxious eyes scan the charts. And it is not just for the satisfaction of doing well for your author, the two giants of publishing are battling it out for the top spot of biggest and not just best, publisher in the UK.
And it is not just the publishers who are keeping an eye on the charts, newspaper reports this month that good friends Miranda Hart and Clare Balding are having a friendly rivalry as to whom will top the charts each week. Newspaper reports are saying that Ms Balding is taking it so seriously that she is checking book stock in shops and has her friends doing this also and if a shop is spotted without stock, the publisher is contacted and asked to get stock out there asap… now who’d have believed that. But then why believe everything you read in the newspaper.
Over recent years Hachette has often been the winner of the biggest publishing house in Britain and often tops the bestselling charts with its authors, but not in 2012. Oh no, one woman has taken Random House to the top spot E L James. E. L. James dominated the bestselling charts this summer with her “50 Shades” trilogy. In August “Grey” was declared the bestselling book of all time with 5.3m copies being sold worldwide. She is also responsible for the creation of a new publishing genre called Romantic Erotic. Publishers are now offering bookshops countertop packs to hold a selection of Romantic Erotic titles aimed at the “stocking-filler market” this Christmas. There’s a pun there somewhere… but…
J.K. Rowling might be expected to give E.L. James a run for her money with her first novel for adults The Casual Vacancy and certainly she went straight to number one in the week of publication. Oh by the way what book did 50 Shades displace as bestselling book of all time? JKR’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows.
It could be that there are lessons here for a budding author? Have you always had thoughts that you’d like to be an author? First don’t use your first name, just your initials and second try to get it published earlier in the year, well away from Super Thursdays, unless you are already incredibly famous.