Fact Check

Stephen King's Book Sales Dropped 70% After He 'Went Woke'?

King's latest book, as of mid-August 2023, was both a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

Published Aug. 14, 2023

 ( Leigh Vogel/Contributor, Getty Images)
Image Via Leigh Vogel/Contributor, Getty Images
Claim:
Author Stephen King's book sales dropped by 70% after "he went woke."

On Aug. 13, 2023, social media users shared posts linking to an article published by The Dunning-Kruger Times that claimed author Stephen King's book sales dropped by 70% after he supposedly "went woke":

Stephen King's Book Sales Have Dropped 70 Percent Since He Went Woke

Steven King is learning the hard way that his decision to enter the world of the woke is a costly endeavor. Like most things on the left, King's career is in ruins.

According to a new report, the author's book sales are at an all-time low. 'That's really cutting into his income,' said publishing mogul Joe Barron, 'and this is a guy who likes to live large.'

The article did not detail the alleged time frame from which it supposedly analyzed King's sales data — the period before and after he apparently "went woke" — nor did it define what it meant by him going "woke." (As we reported in June 2023, the phrase "stay woke" was historically used in Black communities to indicate staying alert to others' deception before people starting using the word "woke" to reference progressive or left-leaning ideas.)

We found social media posts with the article's link on platforms like X (formerly known as Twitter) and Facebook.

The article was intended to be satirical. The Dunning-Kruger Times describes its output as being humorous or satirical in nature:

Everything on this website is fiction. It is not a lie and it is not fake news because it is not real. If you believe that it is real, you should have your head examined. Any similarities between this site's pure fantasy and actual people, places, and events are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and satirical.

As of mid-August 2023, King's latest book was "Fairy Tale," published in September 2022. It soon after became both a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. USA Today wrote it was his 26th novel to become a No. 1 bestseller on its list.

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor. We've previously fact-checked other satirical claims from Dunning-Kruger Times, like whether Riley Gaines was chosen as "Woman of the Year" over Megan Rapinoe.

Sources

"Best Sellers - Books - Sept. 25, 2022 - The New York Times." The New York Times. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/books/best-sellers/2022/09/25/. Accessed 14 Aug. 2023.

Cadden, Mary. "Stephen King Takes Colleen Hoover's Crown: His New Book 'Fairy Tale' Is a No. 1 Best Seller." USA TODAY, https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/books/2022/09/15/stephen-king-fairy-tale-beats-colleen-hoover-best-sellers/10379335002/. Accessed 14 Aug. 2023.

LaMagdeleine, Izz Scott. "Was Riley Gaines Chosen as 'Woman of the Year' Over Megan Rapinoe?" Snopes, 11 Aug. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/megan-rapinoe-riley-gaines-woman-of-year/.

Mikkelson, David. "Why We Include Humor and Satire in Snopes.Com." Snopes, 15 Aug. 2019, https://www.snopes.com/notes/why-we-include-humor-and-satire-in-snopes-com/.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.

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