Rise of the Celebrity Author: Britney Spears' $15 million book deal with Simon & Schuster
By Hannah Collins
In recent years, books by celebrities, or perhaps what we should now call ‘celebrity authors’, have become a new and distinct genre. There may have been a time where readers would have expected such novels and memoirs to not be as high-quality as surrounding fiction, with ghost writers sometimes playing a part in this process too. Although to some extent this may still be the case, there have also been some incredible recent successes for celebrity authors whose day jobs aren’t connected to the world of literature. The first to note is Richard Osman, whose second crime novel, The Man Who Died Twice, became one of the fastest selling books since records began. It sold almost 115,000 copies in its first week on sale. Another celebrity success comes in the form of Will Smith, whose autobiography became a Sunday Times Bestseller, and Smith himself posted on social media about his memoir reaching a million copies in sales.
This seems to have set the precedence for other celebrity authors wanting to break into the book market and this couldn’t be truer for Britney Spears, who has just signed a contract with Simon & Schuster to produce a tell-all memoir. She began hinting at such a project on Instagram, with a picture of a typewriter being posted on her feed alongside the caption, “Shall I start from THE BEGINNING???”
For this book, Spears is set to receive a $15 million advance, which has been referred to as “one of the biggest book deals of all time,” with Spears receiving more money for her book deal than Pope John Paul II and the same financial figure as President Bill Clinton for his 2004 memoir.
This is the sign of a new start for Spears since the end of her conservatorship in late 2021, which had previously bound her personal life and finances to decisions made by her father and other legal guardians. The ‘Free Britney’ case was extremely high-profile, both in terms of the media coverage the court case received and the ‘Free Britney’ campaigns that were circulating on social media. A website called Freebritney.net was also launched in 2009, showcasing the passion fans had regarding Spears’ freedom. During the court case in 2021, Spears stated that, “I just want my life back,” and this book deal with Simon & Schuster seems to be an indicator of the personal and financial control that the singer has regained, and appears to be the first step in demonstrating her independent earning power.