Posts Tagged ‘J.K. Rowling

28
Sep
09

May I Call You Dan?: Letter to a Bestselling Author

More familiar readers know that a portion of my current professional life is consumed by Barnes & Noble, a company that, due to a recent downturn in sales, has become very excited about the release of über-popular author Dan Brown’s latest book, The Lost Symbol. About a week prior to the book’s release, a photocopy of the following letter appeared on the bulletin board in the break room of Barnes & Nobles nationwide:

*****

September 2009

Dear Barnes & Noble,

As I prepare for the September 15th release of my new novel, The Lost Symbol, I wanted to take a moment and thank you for the important work you do… for authors, for readers, and, above all, for books.

A few years back, with the release of a little book called The Da Vinci Code, Barnes & Noble led the way with unparalleled enthusiasm and support.  You made an enormous difference, and I will be forever grateful.  This fall, more than ever, let’s make it a season to remember.

With sincere thanks and best wishes,

Dan Brown

*****

The following is my reply to that letter:

Dear Dan,

May I call you Dan?  Pardon me if I’m being too glib, but I figured as long as we were communicating via these casual letters, we might as well skip all the “Mr. Brown” formalities and get right to the more penpallsy vernacular you established in your note.  And while we’re on the subject of that note, let me take the opportunity to now thank you.  As a part-time bookseller at one of the thirteen Barnes & Nobles in my immediate area, I can’t tell you how often I feel the work I do to help support authors, especially wildly successful ones like yourself, goes unnoticed, and to at long last have one of those authors return some thanks certainly validates me and the effort I put forth.  You (or your assistant, whoever jotted the note) are a gracious and wonderful man (Consider for a moment that J.K. Rowling [the heartless bitch] hasn’t even sent us the likes of a measly “thank you” drunkenly scrawled on a used cocktail napkin despite that it was we the booksellers who turned that stale cliché of an orphaned wizard into a cash-printing cultural phenom.  All that to say, it’s nice to be recognized.).

Now as to your most recent novel: I’m sure it’s been difficult to gauge what the word of mouth is from your gated beachside home in New Hampshire, but let me tell you, from where I’m standing, things are looking good for you, sir!  I haven’t yet had the chance to read it myself, but being surrounded by book lovers at work, I’ve been able to have my fair share of conversations with people who have, and let me tell you, I’ve heard some glowing reviews.

“Literary masterpiece” isn’t a phrase that’s tossed around very liberally, which probably explains why I haven’t heard it used to describe your book yet, but I have heard that it’s really passed the time on a number of trans-continental flights, or in the terminal in between trips to the bathroom and the Cinnabon kiosk (or should that be the other way around? *lol*), or on a week’s worth of bus rides to and from the office.  I’ve even talked to one man who’s already halfway through your book despite he’s only been reading it over a handful of visits to the bathroom, and he told me most of the time it’s been so thrilling that he doesn’t want those visits to end!  And if there’s one thing the eager bibliophiles of the world need more of, it’s literature that’s enjoyable from the bus to the bathroom, that passes time like a 528-page game of minesweeper, but with even more dramatic tension.

(“…enjoyable from the bus to the bathroom.” Hey, that’s kind of catchy… maybe you could use that on the book jacket for the next major reprint?  Fingers crossed for you that it’s before Christmas!)

Really, though, we the readers shouldn’t expect anything less from the author of (as you put it) “a little book called The Da Vinci Code.” Little, Dan?  Hardly!  If your intent was to amuse with a modest and self-effacing jab at your hugely successful novel-turned-multi-billion-dollar-Ron-Howard-movie-franchise, then consider me tickled pink.  Calling the world’s most purchased novel little? It’s biting wit like that that can only come from a paid professional writer, and here you are giving it away free to Barnes & Noble employees nationwide.  That’s why you get paid the big bucks, friend.  Consider all those royalty checks validated.

So again, Dan, many thanks for your gracious note, as brief as it may have been.  I know I appreciate your brevity in that, had it been any longer than four sentences, it likely would have been as gripping a page-turner as your newly-grown library of cryptic mystery novels, and everyone reading it could have taken a hefty withdrawal from the productivity bank here at our local B&N, and then who’d be available to sell your book?!

Do know that we’re doing all we can here to push your most recent of masterpieces on everyone who comes in the store.  We sold over 200 copies in the first week of release, so if we can’t break 1,000 before the holiday season, well then that’d be a Langdon-worthy mystery if ever I’ve heard one.  As an eager reader, I encourage you to keep writing, because I know I can’t wait to see which religion you (and then hopefully Tom Hanks, *ka-ching!!*) will debunk next with a flick of that mighty pen of yours!

Your Friend,

Andy