Thursday, August 24, 2006

Da Vinci-size Me

What does it take to be proclaimed the next Da Vinci Code or the next Harry Potter? A book about a great world-wide hunt for an amazing, life-altering treasure? A book about magic and sorcerers and evil out to destroy the world?

Despite the fact that if you google “Da Vinci Code” you’re likely to come up with a list of 15 books about The Da Vinci Code before you see a link for the actual book by Dan Brown , the answer is no. There is really only one Da Vinci Code and only one Harry Potter, no matter how many books appear about magical other realms.

But books do get compared to other successful books. It’s not usually the author doing it, but a marketing person, or a critic perhaps. Yesterday, a USA Today article declared the book Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton the next Da Vinci Code. They also provided a short excerpt from the book for those who hadn’t heard of it before.

It’s not because the book is about the subject matter of the Da Vinci Code. Heck, it’s not even aimed at the same readers. Endymion Springs is a young adult novel. The comparison is because the reviews have been so good critics are saying the book will sell and sell big. It’s already a hit in the UK and the first printing in the US is 150,000. Movie rights have already been optioned.

Agents don’t want to get a query letter from an author who proclaims his manuscript is the next Harry Potter. But when critics, media and your publishing house say it, it’s a good thing. But they’re most likely not saying you’ve written a sequel. They’re saying they expect your sales to be huge.

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