It’s hard not to hate Dan Brown

But we should try. I mean, unless you know something I don’t – I assume he’s a perfectly pleasant guy. But it’s pretty much Dan Brown, then everyone else (See here via here).  Of course we’ll be at least a little annoyed at the guy who’s lapping the field.

And of course, we tell ourselves we don’t think this way, but we really do – we secretly maintain that anyone that popular can’t be any good.  If it appeals that strongly to the unwashed masses, it must be beneath us, the civilized and knowing.

The question comes down to, “Is Dan Brown’s success good or bad for other authors?”  It appears that, as his sales go up, overall sales are going down.  Dan Brown is an ever-increasing piece of a shrinking pie.  When the US economy turns around, maybe the pie will expand a bit again.  But for now, it’s his world.

Maybe I’m an optimist, but I think his success is good for authors.

He’s proving that people will buy (and perhaps more importantly, read) books if you get them excited.  Some may complain that it’s only the very biggest and most popular writers who are getting this kind of marketing and attention, and that the lesser-known authors are being ignored.  This may be true, but I choose to see that as opportunity rather than tragedy.  People are buying books.  If they aren’t buying yours, maybe you aren’t getting them excited enough.  But that means there’s something you can do.

If no one is buying any books, then authors are in trouble.  But if people are buying books, just not yours, then you have opportunity.  You can do a better job of selling your book, of promoting your book.  Maybe you even write a better book.  But you can do something.

I wish Dan Brown the best, though he doesn’t seem to need it.  And I’m excited about the opportunity to get people excited about books not by Dan Brown.