I know what you’re thinking . . . it’s a SATURDAY spotlight. And today’s Sunday. Yes. But, hopefully you’ll forgive me when you see the guest post we have from Michelle @ Chelle’s Book Ramblings. If you don’t know Michelle, she’s a Latin American bookworm who works as a translator in a few different languages (I am super jealous! That sounds so exciting!). Stop by Michelle’s blog, if you haven’t already. Her posts are so much fun to read 🙂
And now for the guest post. Welcome, Michelle 🙂
Hello, guys! I wanted to talk about whether or not too much hype is a clever idea or, if it ultimately hurts the chances of a book getting a good home with one of us bookish people . . . But, what exactly is hype? According to the Urban Dictionary . . .
Hype – A clever marketing strategy which a product is advertised as the thing everyone must have, to the point where people begin to feel they need to consume it.
That’s exactly what it is, a marketing strategy, and I can certainly attest that it’s a successful one for the most part. Let’s take The Cruel Prince by Holly Black as an example.
If you are a reader, a book blogger, a BookTuber, or a Bookstagrammer, chances are you have seen this book everywhere – and I do mean EVERYWHERE. Even most book subscription boxes had it in the same month. Even non-bookish people know about this book . . . the craze has been INSANE. I can tell that, as a marketing ploy, it has worked, because the book is certainly on the radar. People know about it. It is inevitable not to . . . (it’s EVERYWHERE). But what are the real chances of seeing something everywhere and actually getting the urge to buy it? As a reader, we have different tastes, and if a book is simply not our style of reading, we probably won’t be picking it up no matter how popular it might be – there has to be more about it, something appealing beyond being the flavour of the month. This is what happened to me and this book. I didn’t choose to read it because it was everywhere but because the plot was interesting to me. However, I have to admit that if the book hadn’t been everywhere, it would have taken longer for me to find out about it. So, as for the availability of the product, the hype that surrounded it worked.
And yet there’s a downside to all that exposure. It’s common to feel an aversion to overly-hyped anything – books, movies, TV shows, music. It’s only natural, when you see or hear about something SO MUCH that it tends to become annoying and bothersome. You just want it to stop, and choose to avoid it altogether. I think of it like reasserting our individuality; we just don’t want to be like everyone else, we want to be the odd man out. In this case, I’m speaking from experience since this was the case for me and the Harry Potter Craze – probably why I still haven’t read the books.
There’s another thing that comes into play with overly-hyped books. They tend to build up too high of expectations around themselves and then come crashing down when they fail to fulfill them, which hurts the chances of getting a sequel, or the next installment of a series (for those who like it) because . . . the HYPE MONSTER then turns from just letting you know the book is out there to a force of destruction (think about it a little like being a woman scorned . . . but, in this case, it’s the reader that is the scorned one and with social media, it’s so much easier to do damage). The book failed you, after all, and you feel the need to let EVERYONE know how bad it was for you.
Then we come to the worst type of hype – and I’m sad to say, one of the most successful ones – The Controversial Hype. If a book becomes surrounded by any kind of controversy, it becomes an overnight success. Let me refer to the Fifty Shades Trilogy as an example.
We all know they are not the greatest books ever written – not by a long shot. But, because the books toyed a bit with problematic content, it became a huge success. Whether we love or hate it is irrelevant.
Now my question here would be, was it worth it? I’m sure that monetarily speaking, it was, but in the end it will be forgotten, once your fifteen minutes of fame pass. Things will die down because you were just the flavour of the month – a controversial one that might give you more time in the spotlight – but the end result is the same, or you might get the slight chance of being infamously memorable but, is that really what anyone would look for as an author?
All in all, even if I do think that creating hype around something is a somewhat clever idea for letting us know about a product (a book in this case) and why we need it in our lives – we have all fallen victim to the hype from time to time (let’s be honest, peer pressure is a thing) – I believe it shouldn’t be overdone. It should be handled with the utmost care because it’s quite possible that it ends up hurting more than helping you sell books and establish yourself as an author. It all comes down to balance – not too much and not too little. Sounds simple enough but in truth, it’s quite the hardship to achieve. These are just my thoughts when it comes to hype surrounding books.
How do you guys feel about it? Do you think it works? Or does it make you doubt the quality of the work?
As always, happy reading!