Times are not lean for Joe Wicks

If things don’t change, and there have been no sign that they will, next week will mark the 15th week where Joe Wicks has held the number one spot in the UK booksales charts. The last few days have borne witness to a titanic struggle in which Wicks finally pushed himself ahead of himself to secure both first and second places.
In the diet book category, it’s safe to say that this has been a success. It is, in fact, the highest-selling diet book since records began. It is also now in the top 7 non-fiction books. Ever.
And where did it come from? Will we ever know? Can we ever tell? Well, yes. He came from Instagram. In a model not dissimilar to that which saw the Irish happy pears, David and Stephen Flynn, take the Irish bookworld by storm, Wicks built up a strong and active social media following. Then, with the help of some smart publishing, this following became a phenomenom-nom-nom. Sorry about that.
What do we say to this turn of events, whereby a diet book can reach heights that serious non-fiction can only dream of? Well, congratulations. The sales have been great for booksellers, great for publishers and great for the author. We can’t all be Marilynne Robinson, but that’s hardly the bar.
It’s also a fascinating insight into how visual our culture is, and we will definitely see more books coming this way, and not just lifestyle books. It will be interesting to see how a novel by Rachel Hulin that was originally told entirely through posts on Instagram. Hey Harry, Hey Matilda was released today. The Skibbereen Eagle is watching.