In a world where marketing is everything, publishers have always tried to crack the code of what makes a book a bestseller. Now it seems that the answer may lie in the power of fandoms, as Taylor Swift fans have sent the untitled book known only as “4C Untitled Flatiron Nonfiction Summer 2023” skyrocketing up the charts in the US. Swifties have pieced together apparent clues and come to the conclusion that the book may be a memoir by the singer herself, known for peppering her songs with Easter eggs that reward devout fans.
The Power of Social Media
The pre-order rush began when a document purported to be from Flatiron began circulating on social media, stating that the title and author would be revealed on June 13th. The document described the book as a “biography or autobiography” with 40 colour photos, an initial print-run of one million copies, and a global release date of July 9th. Swifties quickly noted that 5 + 4 + 4 = 13, the singer’s lucky number, and that the release date also matched the date mentioned in the lyrics of her song Last Kiss. Swift is set to re-release that album on July 7th as part of her “Taylor’s Version” project to re-record her six albums for the Big Machine label, a move in protest of music executive Scooter Braun, whom Swift despises.
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Another reason why swifties believe that Taylor might be releasing a book is from the cryptic messages from her post on Instagram. While the post doesn’t reveal much about what’s in store, the mention of “just in time for July 9th, iykyk” (if you know, you know) is enough to get her followers curious and excited about what’s to come. Could it be a new product launch, a special event, or something else entirely? Moreover, she starts her announcement with the words “dear reader”, which happens to be a song of hers from her album Midnights, but swifties have chalked it up to it being a clue of her possibly writing a book.
Despite the pre-order frenzy, scant details about the book have been released, leaving fans and booksellers alike in the dark. The mystery book was described in the document as a “fun, celebratory title” with global appeal, and would “skew slightly younger” but be for people of all ages. Wisconsin bookshop Blue House Books wrote that they’d give full refunds “if it turns out not to be the memoir we think,” while a New York bookshop shared on TikTok that it would be cancelling more than 600 preorders for the book after receiving information that it was not by Swift.
Speculation Runs Wild
On Tuesday, Variety reported that the mystery author is not, as rumoured, Taylor Swift, adding that it was unlikely given that she is in the middle of a huge US stadium tour and about to release another album. But Swift is known for her exceptional planning which could still mean these rumours are true. However, speculation remains rife, and the firm favourite to replace Swift as the author is BTS, with several figures in publishing reportedly confirming off-record that the book is by the K-pop group. BTS is currently on hiatus as various members complete their mandatory military service in South Korea and is expected to reform sometime around 2025, so a 544-page book would certainly keep the A.R.M.Y. entertained until then.
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While the identity of the author remains unknown, one thing is clear: the power of Taylors fandoms in today’s social media-driven world is a force to be reckoned with. Publishers may have found the formula for a bestseller after all – tap into the passions and interests of a devoted fanbase, and watch as pre-orders soar. As for the untitled book, only time will tell who the author is and whether it lives up to the hype. Until then, Swifties and BTS fans will continue to speculate and keep the mystery alive.