In the second season episode “The Long Con” (2×13), Hurley, one of the main characters, is seen reading a manuscript entitled Bad Twin. Later that season in “Two for the Road” (2×20), Sawyer, another one of the main characters, also reads this manuscript written by Gary Troup.
In May of 2006, the LOST creative team took this seeming insignificant part of the series and elevated it to high importance by releasing a book by the same name. The mystery novel by the fictional Gary Troup was ghostwritten by Laurence Shames is set in the LOST universe. Bad Twin contains references to the Hanso Foundation and Thomas Mittlewerk, as well as to the Widmore Corporation and Paik Industries, which are fictional companies owned by the fathers of prominent characters in the series. Despite the book’s mediocre writing, it soon appeared on multiple bestseller lists, including debuting at number fourteen on The New York Times Bestseller’s List.
The marketing here is rather simple. Just like the Hanso Foundation commercials, Bad Twin caters to two different segments of the population. First and foremost, the book is enticing to major fans, who feel compelled to do as much research as possible about the show in order to uncover more of the island’s secrets. Moreover, ABC hopes that the book will appeal to general mystery fans who also may be casual viewers of the show. Based upon the large number of books sold even in the first week, ABC’s marketing strategy worked perfectly; they’ve made money directly from fan purchases when the show wasn’t even airing instead of from the usual advertising spots during the season. Finally, because the book was written by a fictional author, ABC doesn’t have to pay extravagant royalties to a well-known writer; the ghostwriter is unknown and thus doesn’t merit a large salary.