This is a publishing event, certainly. I heard about it because I got an email this morning alerting me to the event, and that the title would be revealed on social media.
It’s a cute use of social media to get people into the puzzle. Why not a little fun amid the publishing-industry heebie-jeebies? It’s in keeping with the Dan Brown method, certainly. His “The Da Vinci Code” was one of the biggest bestsellers of recent years, starting a still-going trend of thrillers filled with puzzles, conspiracy, iffy art-history and religious paranoia to create crowd-pleasing page-turners (until “Fifty Shades of Grey” came along and did to porn what Brown did to thrillers).
Here’s what the email said:
In a twist befitting a new Dan Brown novel, the title of the book will be revealed later today via reader social media posts wed to an online digital HashtagArt mosaic, created by Hyperactivate.com. Readers can view the mosaic at DanBrown.com, on Dan Brown’s Facebook page, and on TODAY.com.
Beginning at 7:00 AM EST, Doubleday, in partnership with NBC News’ “TODAY,” invites Dan Brown readers to post via Facebook or Tweet that they are helping to unveil the title of his latest book. After readers take a social action (For example, “I want to know the title of Dan Brown’s latest book! “New Dan Brown book coming, can’t wait!”), their profile image will instantly claim a tile in the mosaic, and it is through the aggregation of thousands of reader tiles that the title will be revealed. Readers will be able to find their profile images by zooming into the mosaic canvas.
(The author already has something like 2.5 million fans on Facebook – so through his books he’s built a quite sizable platform.)
The name of the new novel is “Inferno.”
Let’s hope the new book is as compelling as the one that put him on the map. Because the follow-up, while a bestseller, was a letdown. So, amid all the social-media froufrou regarding the new title, can anyone remember the title of the last Dan Brown bestseller? Anyone? It was “The Lost Symbol,” and it involved Masonic skullduggery in our nation’s capital. It was a big bestseller. And pretty much forgotten.
You can have a great platform, but you still need to keep turning out good and memorable product.