Penguin pays six figures for self-published novel

Penguin has scooped the previously self-published title Natural Causes by James Oswald, with Michael Joseph publishing director Alex Clarke winning a four-round auction with three publishers left in at the final stage, paying a “good” six-figure sum.  

Clarke bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, in the book through Juliet Mushens at PFD.

The title is described as a supernatural thriller set in Scotland, and previously sold hundreds of thousands of copies as a self-published title. It was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger award, and is the first in the author’s Inspector McLean Mysteries.  

Mushens submitted the title in the UK last Thursday, turning down one pre-empt the following day, and a further two on Monday.  The book was pre-empted for six figures by Goldman Verlag in Germany, with offers now in from Brazil and Italy.