Friday, 8 February 2013

Dan Brown's Next Bestseller

I recently received a promo on my e-reader for Dan Brown's new novel Inferno, which is to be released on May 13.  His latest offering will once again feature the protagonist Robert Langdon, popularized by Tom Hanks in the movie adaptations of Brown's novels.  It is anticipated that Inferno will become a massive bestseller as did its predecessors, The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol

A recent Globe and Mail article at presents a very different perspective.  The article points out that in the current publishing environment, The Da Vinci Code, which was Brown's fourth novel and has sold over 80 million copies worldwide, would probably never have seen the light of day.  The reason?  Publishers can now access an author's book sales on such services as Nielsen Bookscan in the US and BookNet Canada. Publishers are sticking with proven best-selling authors.  Brown's first three novels, Digital Fortress, Angels & Demons, and Deception Point, sold less than 10,000 copies each in their first printing.  (These books, of course, have been reissued after the success of The Da Vinci Code, and Brown's novel sales top 200 million worldwide.)  This means that in today's environment, publishers probably wouldn't have taken a chance in publishing The Da Vinci Code

What does all of this mean for mid-list authors?  According to the article, many of them are being squeezed out as the foreign-owned multinational publishers merge and pare their lists.  The result is that mid-list authors are being forced to list with small publishers with limited marketing ability. 

What do you think?  Will the current climate in the publishing industry mean that only “bestsellers” published by instantly-recognizable names such as Dan Brown, regardless of their literary merit, will now see the light of day? Or is there still room for mid-list and beginner writers to make their mark either through e-publishing or small-press publications?  I'd be very interested in hearing your feedback.


  1. I don't know Michael. I still think that publishers will take a chance on an unknown author if they love it enough. If not, as you said there's always small press and epublishing. I'm kind of over the whole publishing industry and it's gate keepers anyway.

  2. Thanks, Lan. It's certainly a challenge, that's for sure. I think a lot of people agree with you that the spotlight is slowly moving away from the traditional publishing industry and its gatekeepers.