You cannot be a part of the bookish world without hype. It’s basically everywhere—on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads and…where else do book people go? That’s it for me. In my time as a part of the book blogosphere, I’ve learnt a few something somethings about book hype, and I love hearing myself talk so here they are.
Obviously, a huge part of my time everyday goes aimlessly scrolling through Twitter and Goodreads, looking for something juicy to hold my attention. But you know what I don’t want to see? The same book being talked about day in and day out. All the time. Every time.
Lately, street teams for authors/books/series have had the task of garnering plenty social media attention for their cause. And that’s great, it really is. An author’s primary job is to write, and so it is truly awesome that a group of enthusiastic readers can do the promotion part of the process for them, while also finding an outlet to fangirl/fanboy about them! But here’s the thing: there is too a thing called too much of a good thing and it. is. exhausting. At the risk of sounding like a hypocrite—I’m a part of two street teams too!—I have to be honest to myself and say that over-talking about a book does not work.
From the perspective of a reader, and a person who is completely unaware of the type of book that is being hyped, let’s explore a very real, very genuine example. Book “A” by Author “Z” is being publicised hugely—it’s all everyone can talk about on all bookish platforms, and Reader “R” is excited beyond belief. R discovered the book through a certain media platform and jumps on to the hype train easily. A seems to be the book of R’s dreams with everything that R wants to read in it. The pre-order links are out, A is to be released in a month and a half, and R pre-orders it immediately. R is happy, Z is happy.
Fast forward a couple of weeks, and all R can see around the aforementioned social media platform is A. There are competitions, and chats about the book, book themed parties, and R is quickly getting tired of seeing the same book being publicised over and over and over again. The early reviews for A seem to be pouring in, and R can’t help but notice that it has mixed reviews. It’s an “either-you-love-it-or-you-burn-it” kind of response, and R starts to wonder whether or not he/she made the right choice by pre-ordering the book so early before it’s release. Thankfully, one of R’s favourite bloggers seemed to have loved the book a lot and R is temporarily mollified. Until of course, he/she sees the next negative review.
And then the book appears on R’s Kindle/doorstep and from here, it can only go two possible ways:
- R loves the book.
- R wants to burn the book because it sucks balls.
Believe it or not, both these situations happen multiple times. There are plenty of people who are sometimes disappointed by a book they were anticipating—you are in no way alone if you’re feeling this. There is no sort of formula, no checklist, nothing that can guarantee a happy ending with a book that you’ve been anticipating forever. And what about what makes you sadder? The fact that you wanted the book to be good? Or the fact that others you trusted promised you the book of your lifetime?
Either way, the more important thing for us readers is to understand that what works for five hundred people might not necessarily work for you. It might make you the black sheep (baaaa) but that’s okay. Seriously. Go read what you want. Go ask your friends what they feel about a hyped book. Ask your non-friends what they think. Ask the street team to pitch it to you. Read it a month after its release once the hype dies down. DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. The only opinion you can trust when it comes to a book is your own, after you’ve done the reading.