Thursday, September 17, 2009

Great Expectations

“Life is so constructed that an event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation.” – Charlotte Brontë

After reading Monday’s post by Helen Ginger, “The Lost Book,” on Straight From Hel, I found myself wondering what it must be like to be Dan Brown, his agent, or his publisher this week.

As a fiction writer, I think I have a fairly good imagination. However, I simply can’t conceive of how it must feel to have a book released to such fanfare. The book became available on the 15th and has been a regular news item on local and national stations both before and after the release. Some bookstores opened at midnight so people could grab their copy immediately.

Is Dan worried that with all the hype his book won’t live up to readers’ expectations? Does it keep him awake at night? Since it’s already a best seller, and will probably stay that way for weeks if not years, does he care about whether or not he meets someone else’s expectations? Has he already put this book out of his mind so he can work furiously on his next blockbuster? Maybe if he had his own blog, I could find the answers to all my questions, but my limited search did not come up with one.

The article, “Dan Brown’s ‘The Lost Symbol’: Why is the book biz so scared?” appeared in last month. The following is the first paragraph.

"There’s been much fulminating in the books world lately that The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown’s eagerly anticipated follow-up to The Da Vinci Code, is bad for publishing. This week, former Publisher’s Weekly editor Sara Nelson even dubbed Brown a “Book Killer.” The theory is that Brown’s readers will only troop into stores (or go online) starting Sept. 15 to buy Symbol, probably at a deep discount, and they won’t buy anything else. Worse, the critics argue, the hubbub surrounding Symbol will drown out media coverage of other books — and eat into sales of those books too. So publishers have supposedly been shuffling the release dates of various titles so they don’t have to go head-to-head with the Dan Brown juggernaut."

I agree with Thom Geier, the author of the article, when he went on to say. “It doesn’t take a Harvard symbologist to see that this is mostly sour grapes and a whole lot of hooey.”

I enjoyed The Da Vinci Code and I plan to read The Lost Symbol, but I didn’t feel the need to stand in line at midnight to purchase it. Actually, I can’t think of anything I’d stand in line for at midnight. I take that back, I can’t think of anything that could get me out of the house at that hour line or no line. Besides, I have a feeling the book will be around for quite some time.

Did you venture out to be one of the first to own a copy? If you bought it, did you buy or look at any other books? What do you think of dubbing Dan Brown as a “Book Killer?”

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: Bronte, Dan Brown, Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol, Helen Ginger,


Helen Ginger said...

I did something the bookstores would probably rail even louder about than people coming into the store only for Brown and not looking at other books - I bought Brown's book online and had it shipped to the house. BUT...I did buy another book at the same time.

Straight From Hel

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I would suspect that after a while, best-selling authors don't worry much about the expectations of others. I think it's easy to disconnect from one's readers at that point. I met a multi-best seller a couple years ago (won't name the author) and she seemed out of touch with reality.
Sad thing is - all those stores have to discount that book big time to attract buyers, which means they are not making money. That probably hurts the most.

L. Diane Wolfe “Spunk On A Stick”

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

The only comment I have on this relates to the Today show interview I watched. He said something like, "...then I go out to my writer's cottage..." and I turned off the TV. :)

Mystery Writing is Murder

Karen Walker said...

I'm ashamed to say I didn't even know about this book coming out until Helen wrote about it. Now I will have to go get it, because I loved the DaVinci Code. As to how he might feel, it's impossible to say. He was asked whether he sees Langdon as Tom Hanks now and he said, no he sees the character as he envisioned him while he was writing. So perhaps he is insulated enough in his own self and his own writing to keep the media frenzy at bay.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth's comment made me LOL! I dream of having just an "illustrator's shed" in a backyard someday. Imagine a whole dang COTTAGE!

As both a consumer and a maker of books, the saturation of Brown's book in the media is annoying. I mean, the guy doesn't really NEED the help. "The little guy" and lesser-known book creators certainly do, however!

The Old Silly said...

I'm with you. I loved Da Vinci Code, Dan is a great writer, but I won't be standing in line overnight to buy the first book off the shelf. But I WILL get around to reading it.

Marvin D Wilson

Anonymous said...

I also refuse to stand in line to buy a book at midnight with a hundreds of other people. Nope. Not me. I'll order it when its convenient for me to do so.

I didn't even stand in line to meet Dean Koontz last weekend. I went home for a few while, then went to Del Taco, then came back when the line was about thirty minutes long. I was the second to the last person to see him. No way I'm waiting in a htre hour line.

kathy said...

I went to WalMart on Tuesday to print some pictures. I arrived at 8:05 to discover the photo lab closed at 8:00. The book section is adjacent to the photo lab, and so I ended up there where I bought a romance and Dan Brown. I didn't go with that purpose, but once there, I couldn't resist. I'm reading the romance first. Dan is in my TBR pile.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Now, Jane, I know you’re not including *my* book in your statement about not getting out of bed for. Surely you’d get up at whatever hour and stand around for hours to buy mine…right? Wellllllll, maybe.

I do know that for my books original release, I had more than one book signing where I stood right next to t life-sized cut-out of Harry Potter with a stack of my books and a winning smile, only to watch people tramp in, buy Potter, and leave…when I had by far and away the better book. So, not so sure about the spillover effect. And, I was there in person…no cutout of me. Hmmmm….Maybe that was the problem.

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Pete Klein said...

Look forward to talking with you tonight.
As for Dan Brown, I wish him the best as I do you and all writers but...
I won't be reading his book because I am too busy with my own writing and all the book reading I do now is for people who send me a book to review.
I find there are many good authors who just aren't be recognized. That's why I do my show and write reviews for Allbooks Review.

Nancy J. Parra said...

Nice blog- really, I agree that it is all sour grapes. The author doesn't make the buzz... and yes, the media has a tendency to go too far with everything...
Still, I think it would be great if all the really good books out there got this kind of attention-(like Jane's and mine-lol) But isn't it nice to know that people are buying books and reading? That alone warms my heart. Thanks for sharing. Cheers!

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world