Controversially, it was published under the Penguin Classics imprint. It was a number one best-seller in the UK and received polarised reviews, with certain reviewers hailing it as brilliant writing and others decrying it as overwrought and self-indulgent.
Morrissey mentioned that he had begun work on his autobiography in a radio interview in 2002. An extract from Autobiography titled "The Bleak Moor Lies" was published in 2009 as part of The Dark Monarch: Magic & Modernity in British Art, a compendium published by Tate St Ives art gallery. The extract tells the story of Morrissey and a few companions seeing what they believed to be a ghost near the Yorkshire village of Marsden in 1989. In 2011, Morrissey said in an interview that he had completed the book and was looking for a publisher. He expressed interest having the book published as a Penguin Classic.
A few days before the book's apparently scheduled, but unannounced, release on 16 September 2013, Morrissey issued a statement explaining that a content dispute with Penguin Books meant that publication would be delayed and that he was seeking a new publisher. The book's subsequent European release, on 17 October 2013, caused controversy as it was published under the Penguin Classics imprint, normally reserved for highly esteemed deceased authors.
On the day of the book's publication, Morrissey undertook a signing session in Gothenburg, with some fans queuing up to 30 hours in advance.