When one traverses the book blogging realm odds are you’ll encounter: hype. What is hype? It is a tricky (and sometimes evil) squid that forces your expectations to build a city of hope that a certain book is going to be excellent. Beyond excellent. INCREDIBLY EXCELLENT, OKAY?! The key word here is: expectations. Hype makes us expect a book is going to be good as “everyone” claims.
That’s why it’s sometimes evil.
I’ve stumbled across books that’ve been hyped over the blogosphere and, after reading, I’ve shrieked things like, “BUT WHY???” and “THIS ISN’T EVEN SPECIAL” and “I’M FEEDING THIS DISAPPOINTING NOVEL TO MY DRAGONS AND EATING ICE CREAM TO COVER MY DISAPPOINTMENT RIGHT NOW.” All very logical things to shriek, of course.
When your expectations get too high…it’s hard to meet them. SIMPLE.
And I know people who a) avoid hyped books because of this or b) hate hyped books on principle.
But after saying all that…honestly….
Is hype really all bad?
I have made a handy dandy list of pros and cons for the practise of hyping books. YOU’RE WELCOME.
P R O S
- When a book is hyped, TONS of people read it. This turns the book into a kind of international book club read. Which is epic because now there are tons of people to discuss the book with!
- And we all know…discussing books is basically the best thing since chocolate brownie cheesecake.
- Except cheesecake is always going to be better.
- BUT I DIGRESS.
- Whether you love or hate the book, since so many people have read it — you’ll always find someone that shares the same opinion as you. You can make unlikely friends because of this!
- It’s really nice for the author. I’m not saying authors should get famous for NO REASON…but I am saying (as a writer myself) it would be absolutely incredibly marvellously awesome to realise your book was flailing through the internet as a much-anticipated-release. Plus money to support oneself = very helpful.
- It’s nice to share mutual excitement for something! Like counting down till Christmas!
- It’s not always the publishers who do the hyping. Sometimes it’s your friends. Ergo, I am pretty likely to trust my friends’ hyping of a book.
C O N S
- Obviously you have these mega high expectations now…and if they’re unfulfilled you feel CHEATED. Not a nice feeling!
- Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair for a particular book to get hyped. Like you’ve read another version of it (maybe better written) and it’s totally flown under the radar. Which is totally unfair. Or, worse, this is just one of MANY books like it and you don’t see why it gets to be special.
- It’s NOT being hyped because it’s a “good book”…it’s being hyped because it fills a hole in the book world. I think this is monstrously unfair. And I’ve definitely seen it happen! Oh this book features a blind, asexual, ethnic protagonist? HYPE IT. IT MUST BE GOOD. Um, excuse me but: not necessarily. It bugs me when a book gets hyped because of content, not good storytelling!
- When publishers hype the book up and slap on “it’s better than…” labels, it immediately turn you off. Because how can this debut be better than an author who’s been writing for years, has credentials, and tons of published books?! Little upstart. Pfft.
- Or worse it’s hyped as a “this is Divergent meets The Fault In Our Stars!” and when you read it: IT’S NOTHING LIKE EITHER OF THOSE. And you feel like the publisher just picked whatever is “hot” at the moment and falsely advertised.
- Hype sometimes makes you read a book you wouldn’t otherwise be interested in, simple to make people STOP TELLING YOU TO READ IT. The whole “GAAASP how have you not read [insert hyped book here]…are you even a real bookworm?” is really frustrating sometimes. And this doesn’t bode well for you to like the book if you feel forced to read it.
My pros and cons lists ended up rather evenly split, didn’t they? Which you know what that means… It basically boils down to:
READ WHAT YOU WANT.
And that’s the simple truth!
But, especially if you’re a book blogger, you can’t really ignore the fact that some books get famously hyped.
For me personally? I actually don’t hate hype! I’m very much into discussing books and it’s easy to strike up a conversation if you’ve read the popular books everyone is talking about. I try not to let my expectations soar, though, and I don’t trust hyped books if it comes from publishers. But I DO trust it if the book is hyped by bloggers. When a blogger starts to rave…I listen.
Of course publisher hype vs blogger hype isn’t full proof. Because it’s all about who YOU are as a reader and your tastes. I know a zillion bloggers who’ll stand behind 13 Reasons Why with an army of flailing, enthusiastic orcs. I despised that book. And publishers really donned their astronaut suits to promote Illuminae and yet I loved it.
But as a general guideline: I trust reader hype over publisher hype.
And I don’t ignore hype! Because some books DO deserve the praise and it’s fun to join in the conversation.