Yesterday I watched an interview with author Dan Brown. You may not know him by his name, but you’ve undoubtedly heard of his books – The Divinci Code, and Angels And Demons. His latest title, The Lost Symbol, has just been released and is now in stores. Fifty million copies have been printed in anticipation of record breaking sales.
While I admit to never having read one of his books (though they do sound intriguing!) and not being a fan of the author (nothing against him, I just don’t have the time), there are some things which even a non-fiction booklet author, like me and you, can learn from him.
Some of these things are good – things we might want to incorporate into our own career as a writer. But, one of these things is not good and we should do our best to avoid that one at all costs!
A Little Background On Mr. Brown And His Work
Before he became a full time writer, Dan Brown was a college English teacher. He had a good grasp of the mechanics of writing, punctuation and grammar. Of course, you don’t need to be an English professor to create a booklet. In fact, thanks to editors and writers for hire, you don’t even need to know how to write! But, it’s helpful if you do.
Mr. Brown’s father was a college math professor, and his mother was a professional musician who played sacred music. Thus, science and religion were a part of Mr. Brown’s life from a very early age, and later influenced his work.
Although he writes fiction, Dan Brown’s books do have some basis in reality. First, his stories were based on his own background and knowledge of science and religion. It’s always good to begin with what you know or what you’re passionate about, and work from there.
Mr. Brown also tends to write about real places, although his characters and plots are fictional. This makes his stories believable and credible in the minds of his readers. As a booklet author, your work will be believable and you will be credible when you present the facts related to your subject.
Good Habits Make Good Writers
Dan Brown didn’t get to be a best selling author by wishing it would happen. He has made a committment to his career. He is at his desk, writing, by 4:00 am every morning because he knows the very early morning hours are his most productive. But, don’t worry. If you’re not a morning person, you can still create a booklet. Just write during your most productive hours!
Mr. Brown also likes to solve plot challenges by wearing gravity boots and hanging upside down from his ceiling. He said he feels this shifts his perspective.
If this doesn’t sound the least bit appealing to you, you can get the same effect by doing something else that Dan Brown does. You can take a break every now and then to refresh your mind. Once, every hour or so, Mr. Brown does push-ups or stretches to give himself a little break from writing. You can do this too, or you can go for a short walk, or do another relaxing activity for 15 to 20 minutes. Then, come back to your writing and you’ll find the words flow a little easier.
Dan Brown’s Fatal Flaw
For all of his good habits and his success, there is one flaw that Dan Brown seems to have. At least, he did on his latest work, The Lost Symbol. That flaw is that he spent six years writing his current title because he refused to call it done until he felt it was perfect. You must avoid this fatal flaw in your own work at all costs!
Some might argue that this is good – that Mr. Brown is successful because of his careful attention to detail. Granted, he does write novels and they take longer to write than booklets do. But, six years? That is a long time to work on a project. Why? Because first of all, none of us has the guarantee of time. We like to think we will be here tomorrow, but we really can’t be sure.
And second, that’s six years of income that Dan Brown will never see from this work. Yes, it takes time to write a novel, and yes it took him time to do his research. Perhaps he enjoys the research part of his projects so much that it’s difficult for him to quit. That’s understandable. I like doing research too. One little clue leads to another, and you find answers to questions you never even thought to ask.
When you’re creating a book (or booklet) for profit, however, it makes sense to get it done. Every day you spend on the creation of your project is a day you are not making sales. You can market your work ahead of time, but you can’t sell it until it is finished.
Dan Brown is a rich man from his past works – The Divinci Code, and Angels And Demons. Therefore, he can afford to spend six years on his project if he wants to. That’s his perogative. But, most writers don’t have that luxury. Most writers are working at day jobs to pay their rent or mortgage and keep food on the table when really, they would much rather be writing.
Writing a booklet takes very little time. You can start writing today and have a product to sell in just a couple of weeks – even less if you’re selling e-booklets. And if you really want to write a novel you can do that. But, wouldn’t it be nice to have money coming in while you’re working on your lengthier project?
To your riches,
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