Monday, March 22, 2010

The Lost Symbol Sold 5 Million in 2009

Grand Masters lie awake nights dreaming of how to get Freemasonry back into the collective consciousness of society. Well, it's already happening.

Publishers Weekly announced today that Dan Brown's novel, The Lost Symbol, smoked the publishing industry by selling 5,543,643 hardback copies between September 15th and December 31st, 2009 in the US. Worldwide it sold 8 million.

The paperback is due in stores as early as July of this year, which is when sales will skyrocket. Recall that Brown's The Da Vinci Code eventually sold 80 million copies.

The movie is due in 2012, and a DVD will follow 6-10 months later.

Pay attention, brethren.

6 comments:

Tom Accuosti said...

After a couple of years "Secrets of the Freemasons" on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, Lifetime, and (IIRC) ESPN, and Cartoon Network, aren't we back into the collective stream of consciousness, already?

Not even after those big, friendly, yellow & black (and orange)books? Or the Revolutionary War posters displayed all over New England, featuring Ben, George, and other guys wearing the funny hats?

Geez, Chris, if all that *free TV exposure*, along with a Nick Cage movie or two didn't make the public more aware, then I'm not sure why anyone is worried about one more Dan Brown book/movie.

Do you it would help if we had a couple more parades or a child ID event? Because that's what I see happening, at least at the GL level.

Personally, I suspect that the bestest, most effective PR is happening right at the local lodge level, when the younger and more vibrant members are talking to people in the community, and getting involved in local projects.

hatrock said...

I did a quick poll of the brethren in attendance at my lodge last week and half of them had already read "The Lost Symbol".

I don't think Grand Lodges need to do more PR. Tom is right, Lodges do, if they want to.

But of all the candidates I've seen enter our doors lately, on why they joined, none of them said, "Because I read this book or watched this program or movie."

It's always been, "I heard about them and knew a friend of my dad's" or "I knew my grandfather was one but he never talked about it". "Then I looked it up on the Internet and liked what I read."

Using Google Trends, I have shown that interest in "Freemasons" jumps up only in correspondence with Dan Brown's books/movies and National Treasure, but this jump is only for a few days to a week at best.

Then again, we've never had a recruitment problem. What lodges should be doing is having guest speakers on the Masonic aspects of "The Lost Symbol" and keeping the members' interest. These could be public events, but they usually involve a Mason inviting a friend.

Apocalypso said...

I've only been raised for a few months, but I have noticed that although we are bringing people into our lodge (we have 3 FC's tonight!), keeping them in the lodge and doing things is another story.
There have been 5 brothers raised since I was and 2 are actually going to meetings and doing things in the lodge. We have the initial interest but not enough follow up.

Apocalypso said...

I've only been raised for a few months, but I have noticed that although we are bringing people into our lodge (we have 3 FC's tonight!), keeping them in the lodge and doing things is another story.
There have been 5 brothers raised since I was and 2 are actually going to meetings and doing things in the lodge. We have the initial interest but not enough follow up.

Chris Hodapp said...

Tom, it didn't take Dan Brown's book, it took the THREAT of Dan Brown's book that everyone capitalized on for the last six years. Yes, we have had more exposure in the public eye than at any other time in our history.

No, I think things like ChildID programs are not the best use of our resources, and are, in fact, too creepy for me to encourage. And you'll note I don't say Grand Lodges need to get in gear. It's now up to the local lodges to answer the door when men knock on them. As Apocalypso alludes, no grand lodge can keep a man coming back if his lodge is a bore, a disappointment, or not what he was expecting. We have fretted about membership numbers for so long. That's about to change, if it hasn't already in your neck of the woods. It's up to you and me at the local lodge level to keep them. Grand Lodge can't do that for us.

Simon LaPlace said...

"we've never had a recruitment problem"
No, we've had a retention problem. Half of those dropped for non-payment of dues were raised in the last 5 years.