The Da Vinci Code – not the movie
In response to yesterdays post, Debi Alper brought to my attention the fact that Dan Brown has sold a lot more books than the rest of us put together:
I’m not sure if this should make us despair or not, but I do think we have to be aware of what people out there want . . . even if they’re not the same people who are ever likely to read our books . . . (snip) . . . While I was appalled at the language, plotting, characterisation etc etc I was also sucked into the page turning mode. I reckon we ignore this at our peril.
I’m not sure, Debi. I never thought of comparing myself to Dan Brown. To make sense of the world you have to compare like with like. I’m an individual writer, so are you by the sound of it, something like all the other hacks out there. I write because I write because I write. That’s what I do, what I’ve always done. I write because it makes sense to me, it’s how I experience the me who is doing it.
Dan Brown, on the other hand, is a corporation. He’s a money-making machine. I didn’t read his book but people close to me with opinions I trust, tell me that it is, as you say, badly written.
I don’t now and never have made the kind of money that Dan Brown makes. I’m sure that he does something different to me.
But I’m equally sure that the difference doesn’t lie in his ability to make people turn pages, and your and my inability to do so. People tell me all kinds of things about my books, but very rarely, if ever, do they tell me that they didn’t finish one of my books because it lacked suspense.
The difference between Dan Brown and the majority of writers is the same as the difference between a cabbage out of my own garden, or my neighbours garden, and a cabbage from one of the major supermarket chains.
One of those cabbages makes money. The other offers some kind of nourishment and a spark of hope for the future.