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Morrissey can’t get a book deal? Impossible!

September 16, 2013

A few days ago the Morrissey fan-site True to You posted the following brief news item:

Although Morrissey’s Autobiography was set to be available throughout the UK on September 16th, a last-minute content disagreement between Penguin Books and Morrissey has caused the venture to collapse. No review copies were printed, and Morrissey is now in search of a new publisher.

What’s strange about this aborted autobiography – other than its title, Autobiography – is that up until its derailment just days before it was to hit (UK) shelves, it seems that no one was aware of the book’s scheduled existence!

At first glance, one is inclined to take the True to You statement at face value. The site is a semi-official repository of Moz info and the statement was supposedly made by the King of Mope himself. But if that is the case, how can it be that the book was a complete secret? A little deeper digging seems to be in order here …

One simple way to find out if this story is true is to contact the publisher, which The Guardian did. Unfortunately, Penguin Books “refused to confirm or deny that the book was due to be published, or even the existence of the reported deal with the singer.” It was never “coming soon” web page either.

What about the cover art? It also came from True to You. Online booksellers? No listings, no pre-orders. As the Atlantic Wire wisely explains:

If the autobiography really is real and really is canceled, and was really supposed to be out on Monday, copies of the book would have had to be in stores’ backrooms already and floating on editors’ desks. The “official” statement says no review copies were handed out (convenient, but not true; there are always some review copies). A last-minute fallout would place a premium on someone with a stolen copy, and there would be at least one lucky soul on Instagram or Twitter extolling his/her possession of a Morrissey galley. We don’t even have official book art, which usually comes out months before a book is sold.

Some are suggesting that this is Morrissey’s way of shopping a book deal. Others believe that this is Penguin’s way of hyping a book that will be released in the coming weeks.  If press is desired – either by Morrissey or Penguin or both – the scheme is working, as today the story was picked up by the TODAY show.

Frankly, Mr. Shankly, none of that makes sense to me. A Morrissey autobiography needs no artificial press to generate book sales, and it certainly needs no hoax from Moz himself to find a publisher! After all, a 700-page Smiths biography written by Tony Fletcher received a fair amount of press (I wrote about his appearance at the Strand with Andy Rourke here). Honestly, if he’d allow me, I’d find a way to come up with the cash to publish the book.

Take it from this Morrissey fan, there’s only certainty about Morrissey: Autobiography – nothing would stop me from reading it.

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