Arts & Entertainment, Writing

Life As A Writer

Dan Brown

Lesson time 08:57 min

Dan explains the importance of persistence, shares tips on how to build a team that believes in you, and teaches you how to write a query letter that will stand out in agency slush piles.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Be Persistent • Invest in Yourself • Build a Team That Believes in You • Write a Great Query Letter


Shortly after my first novel came out, "Digital Fortress," I was giving a book signing, and I was excited. It was one of my first signings, and I went to this little bookstore in a mall, and they set up a card table in front, and they had a stack of my books there. And I had a bunch of pens just in case one ran out. I was in a coat and tie. I was all very eager. And I waited. It was a three hour signing. And I waited, and I waited, and people walked in the store. Nobody made eye contact with me. Nobody wanted to deal with me. And it was, frankly, it was a little depressing. It was a little demoralizing. I was excited about my book. And toward the end of the day, somebody was coming toward me, eye contact, looking right at me, clearly wants to talk to me. They walk right up to me, and they say, excuse me, can you tell me where the restroom is? And at that moment, I felt as low as I could possibly feel as a writer. Here I had just spent almost two years writing this book and really nobody wanted to talk to me about it. Nobody wanted to buy it. And what I learned from that moment was that the process itself needs to be the reward. You can't be striking out saying if I don't sell x number of books, I've failed. You need to love the process of writing a novel and understand that it takes time to build a readership, that your first novel almost invariably will sell very few copies. You have to love what you do and do it for the sake of writing. Do it for the sake of sharing a story with your readers. And then in the same way that you are committed to your story from beginning to end, be committed to the process of building your career, of building an audience. Just because your first book doesn't sell doesn't mean your second won't. In my case, my first book didn't sell, my second book didn't sell, my third book didn't sell. And I remember the experience of when we finished "The Da Vinci Code," and they gave me a galley-- this was before it came out-- I read the novel, and I thought this is the novel that I would want to read. Here it is. This has everything in it that I as a reader would want, and if this doesn't work, then maybe I shouldn't be a writer, because nobody shares my taste, obviously. I was very fortunate that "The Da Vinci Code" found a readership. And the important thing to remember is that after "The Da Vinci Code" found a readership, my first three books that nobody had read became very popular. I didn't change a single word. Those books had the potential to be popular before they were. The book that you write has the potential to be very, very popular, even if it isn't. Every creative success involves an element of luck. It also involves an element of persistence and understanding the part of the process is failing, failing as you write the novel, and then eventually getting it right, failing as you publish the novel and try to find an audience, and eventually getting it right. Again, stick to your process. Be kin...

About the Instructor

Packed with secret symbols and high-stakes suspense, Dan Brown’s thrillers have sold more than 250 million copies and include one of the world’s best-selling novels, The Da Vinci Code. In his writing class, Dan unveils his step-by-step process for turning ideas into gripping narratives. Learn his methods for researching like a pro, crafting characters, and sustaining suspense all the way to a dramatic surprise ending.

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Dan Brown

In his first-ever online class, best-selling author Dan Brown teaches you his step-by-step process for turning ideas into page-turning novels.

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