Code Industry Grows/As I Lay Crying

May 20, 2006

Da Vinci Code Industry Larger than Imagined
A few days ago, I joked that the Da Vinci Code was becoming its own industry. I never realized how close to right I was. “If you, like more than 100 million readers around the world, enjoyed The Da Vinci Code, marketers are betting that you might like the 'Da Vinci' video game for PlayStation2 and Xbox, too. Or a 'Da Vinci Code' paint-by-number [dumb idea]. Or 'The Da Vinci Fitness Code,' a diet book based on the Fibonacci sequence.” That's the word from Julie Bosman in her article for the New York Times. She also notes there's even Da Vinci Code porn. (Does Mona Lisa do the dance of the seven veils? Or does Mary seduce you know who—full frontal nudity?) Estimates as to the size of this industry: $1 billion, excluding revenues that Sony is expecting from the movie. All goes to show that P.T. Barnum had it right. He just never took it to publishing.

As I Lay Crying
Go from Bosman's article to Rachel Donadio's. You'll end up crying in your beer. Dan Brown is raking in the money as are his publisher and his agent. And what do they want more of—Da Vinci Code sequels—not in the sense of a follow-up to the book (although that is there) but in the sense of another cash register regardless of its intellectual or literary or academic value of the which the Code has zero.

Let's presume you are aspiring to something literary—in other words not like Dan Brown, polar opposite, having something intelligent to offer. A snowball in Hell has better chances, according to Donadio's essay “Promotional Intelligence.” Here's what a budding novelist must do: 1. Convince an agent to represent him/her. 2. Get the agent to believe that he/she can make good money from his 15 percent commission. 3. With her agent, convince an editor that her career will take off with the book. 4. With her agent and editor, convince the sales and marketing departments to push the book. 5. Finally convince Sessalee Hensley, the literary fiction buyer for Barnes & Noble, to buy the book. 6. Cross fingers and hope and pray and rub a magic whatever.

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