March 16, 2017
Please leak your rejected Dan Brown book cover designs to Melville House
by Chad Felix
Here’s what’s going on. As if they’ve learned nothing from the Boaty McBoatface debacle, the people at Doubleday have asked the internet to design the cover of the limited edition of Dan Brown’s forthcoming novel, Origin. Yes, you, me, your mother, your father, Simon, that person over there — any and all of us are invited to partake in the creation of this Origin, Dan Brown’s—and franchise protagonist Robert Langdon’s—first foray into the world of modern art.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the mega bestselling author had this to say about the book, which follows up to 2013’s Inferno and is due out in October:
I absolutely loved writing Origin and watching Professor Robert Langdon explore a rich tapestry of art, codes, religion, symbols, and fascinating locations. In this novel, Langdon finds himself in an unfamiliar world—the world of Modern Art—and on a quest to answer two of the most profound questions in human history. It was an exciting process for me, and I’m really looking forward to people reading it.
Which is cool, good, great. Many of us will be curious to learn what, to Brown’s mind, are the most profound questions in human history — and which modern artists wield, or once wielded, the key to the . . . thing.
But what’s really important here is the cover, that limited edition cover, and you, the people who will make it. Because the realest, most visceral joy any of us is likely to feel with regard to this particular book will not be found among its pages, or in the winning cover, but in our failures — the works of this contest’s discard pile.
Now, the rules of this contest all but guarantee the public won’t see anything interesting. After Dan Brown himself chooses six finalists, the public will be asked to vote for their favorite. Of course, these finalists will be staid, safe, commercial affairs. They will look just like Dan Brown book covers: serviceable, and bestselling. But we—we, the people—are not staid or commercial! We are not safe. We are not serviceable. We are not bestselling. We are luminous and weird. We are fucked up and angry. We are unbelievable.
Which is why we’re asking you to submit your excellent Dan Brown covers, rejected and pre-rejected, to the editorial board here at MobyLives. We want your rejected covers. We need your rejected covers. The world needs your rejected covers.
So please send us your rejected covers. You can email them to [email protected] Thank you.
Chad Felix is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House, and a former bookseller.