Back in January, I wrote a pre-emptive review of what was going to happen in 2014. Like most psychics, I was unassailably confident about my foresight. Now, the naysayers amongst you – the doom-mongerers and pedants – might say that I got absolutely everything wrong. But that is simply not true. The fact that some authors and publishers I spoke of failed to fulfil their solemn duty is not my fault.
Today, I’d like to prove how magnanimous I am. Unlike common-or-garden psychics, I am going to go through my predictions in detail, allowing you to be the judges of my considerable soothsaying talent. (You can thank me at my live show.)
Introductory notes to my prediction post went as follows:
“Taking inspiration from J.K. Rowling, who wrote the last chapter of the Harry Potter series long before half the books were even published, I’ve decided to write my 2014 reviews now. It will save time at the end of the year, when I’ll be very busy with TV appearances, liposuction and smiting my enemies.”
I went on to look at the sure-fire bestselling book trends of 2014. I shall now proceed to comment upon them here, with the benefit of hindsight.
JANUARY: Who knew that the best selling book of January would buck the trend of the past 100 years? “SO I’M FAT. DEAL WITH IT! A Guide to Maintaining Those Hard Earned Festive Pounds” had sold 2.3 million copies in France alone by January 13th. There were reports of Cheryl Cole having gained 100g, but these were never confirmed.
RESULT: Nearly right. Cheryl Cole actually gained approximately 2lb when she acquired a diamond rock the size of Gibraltar upon her quickie marriage to Someguy Implausibly-Doublebarrelled. Not bad.
FEBRUARY: Literary critics the world over were unceremoniously fired for failing to spot that 6 out of the top 10 bestsellers in February were all written by J.K. Rowling, under different pseudonyms. This was seen by some as a bit harsh. Who could possibly have spotted that she was the one behind I.B. Hiden’s “How To Pass Your Driving Test In 6 Easy
RESULT: Right for different reasons: Literary critics were indeed made redundant during 2014, but only after anonymous book reviewers took to the cyberstreets and unceremoniously shot anyone who dissented from their cause.
MARCH: “Confessions Of A Billionaire Tax Defaulter” was a runaway success in the USA and 23 European countries.
RESULT: If only I’d been right: Billionaires had never been less newsworthy than in 2014, when it once again became acceptable to be openly loaded in public (at least outside the Eurozone).
APRIL: By the 20th, April had been officially declared Fake Autobiography Month. Top of the heap here were “You Thought I Meant What Exactly?” (Jesus Christ); “Each Night I Cried Myself To Sleep” (Denis Thatcher) and “The Writer’s Wife: No Romeo” (Anne Hathaway-Shakespeare)
RESULT: So right it’s wrong: The biggest autobiography released in the first half of 2014 was singer Morrissey’s, who packaged his emo life story in a fake Penguin Classics cover. C’mon. You’ve got to give me that one.
MAY: Fortune smiled on Jane Doe in May, when “One Direction”, her hitherto unknown self-published e-book about migrating birds, was mistaken by a billion fans for a kiss-and-tell on all 5 members of the now alcohol- and drug-dependent boy band. By the time the mistake had been realised, Jane’s mortgage was paid off, and she herself had migrated south for the winter.
RESULT: Really, who cares? This was funny.
JUNE: June was a washout, boosting the sales of rainy day romance e-book titles, but in a surprise twist, from male narrators. The battle was won by “Weak Female Falls For Controlling Billionaire”, “Pseudo-Independent Neurotic Finds Out Boy Next Door Is Actually A Stud”, and “The Implausible Marriage Proposal”.
RESULT: I’d like to see anyone even try to prove me wrong on this one.
JULY AND AUGUST: The traditional months of the silly season lived up to their name with the announcement that Katie Price’s breasts had finished the last 20 chapters of her latest book. Sales doubled.
RESULT: Don’t you wish I was right?
SEPTEMBER: September was the first month to see E-book sales outstrip print book sales.
RESULT: Seeing as nobody will supply proper e-book sales data, despite the fact that it’s more easily collected than paper book sales data, none of you can prove me wrong. So this makes me right.
OCTOBER: Literary fiction came to the fore in October for a brief spell when “The Wilting of Wiltersdon” hit the bestseller list for 2 hours in the afternoon of Wednesday 22nd. The book, described as “the most astute psychological narrative on depression-era turnip growing in a decade”, provided arts programmes and book festivals with their sole interviewee for the next seven months.
RESULT: Even I was surprised how many literary titles this year consisted of “The Something of Something”, or some sort of copycat take on “The Hundred-Year-Old Man… etc”. Are they ALL using my Literary Fiction Book Title Generator? Should I be looking for royalties?!
NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER: The runaway Christmas bestseller was also the most predictable, visible with the naked eye for a six-thousand mile radius. The 16-line long prequel and movie-appetite whetter “50 Shades: The Hidden Depths Of Christian Grey” had sold 103 million copies before anyone realised its length.
RESULT: We’re not done yet, but the movie’s out in February, so I might have been just 2 months out, which pretty much makes me a genius, in my book.
So, do you want my predictions for 2015? Or even better – have you any of your own?