Thursday, May 10

Royal Rantings - Resisting the Hype


One of the biggest...afflictions I see in this community is the hype, oh my God, the hype. It's omnipresent, whichever way you turn. Whether it's a new book coming out or a new cover for an older book. Whether it's an unnecessary addition to a series or a much-awaited sequel. A prequel, a novella, a spin-off. Diverse, ownvoices, neither of these. Hardcover, paperback, painted fore edges, stained edges. Collector's editions, anniversary editions, special editions. Books, books, and yet more books, and being part of the bookish community means you're attacked by the hype from all around you.


While I agree that a healthy hype is no doubt necessary for a book to see the success it deserves, there are instances when the hype can prove to be a problem. For instance, there have been many times where I'd been super-excited about a book thanks to everyone raving about it that I have extremely high expectations for it- only to be disappointed with it when I actually do get around to it. Other times I get so excited for a book that I read it and love it- just like I expected to...or so I say while ignoring the nagging doubts I have about it. 

It may seem like a weird confession to make but there have definitely been times when I got so carried away by the hype that I didn't think about the fact that I was blindly following the crowd. This has happened at least thrice so far and I've come to realize, in retrospect, that hype can be extremely harmful if you don't check yourself. 

It has now come to the point where I'm actually quite averse to books that are hyped too much. How much is too much, you may ask? I don't really have an answer for that, but it's books that you see all day everyday- everywhere, practically. The books where you see a solitary tweet calling out on problematic aspects, but you see hundreds others praising it for- wait for it- being diverse. Do we not realize no rep is better than harmful rep?


I've now begun to check negative reviews of whatever books everyone, their mother and their cats are raving about,  or I try to dig up everything negative about a book that seemingly everyone loves before I let myself get carried away by the hype and it actually works most times. I may be missing out on great books, but at least I don't inadvertently support problematic ones, right? But the truth is, I miss letting myself get hyped for books. I miss going into a book knowing everyone loved it and I'd no doubt love it too. I miss falling in love with hyped books, because I don't freaking read them all that much anymore! And that, right there, is a problem.

Has the hype affected you too? Are you wary of books that practically everyone's raving about? How do you resist the hype? 
...Or do you?

16 comments:

  1. I always give into the hype and I end up downplaying my faults with the book because of it! This happened to me a lot with Sarah J. Maas’ books. Her novels were so popular when I first entered the blogosphere so I forced myself to read and pretend to like them a lot more than I did to feel “accepted” into the community. It was totally wrong on my part, and I wish I didn’t waste so much time back then on books I wasn’t enjoying.

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one! I like some things about her writing, but there are also a LOT of negatives, and I found myself editing my harshness because I was influenced by the hype.

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    2. This SO happens with hyped books though! I totally understand, and I've seen many people speaking up about SJM now, so at least they're more aware now!

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  2. I actually feel like the hype backfires in some cases. When a book is mega hyped I’m actually wary of it and assume there’s no way it can live up to the hype that’s been generated. I do feel like I’m somewhat immune to it or not in the thick of it anyway, because it feels like it’s usually centered on fantasy novels. And since I rarely read fantasy... I’m mostly out of the loop or ignore it.

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    1. The hype definitely does backfire in certain cases! And yesss to feeling wary about overly hyped books! This is me most of the time, lately ://

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  3. I don't read any of the really hyped books right away anymore. I wait a few months - check out my friends reviews and be sure to read a few 3 or below starred reviews as well so I have a clearer picture of what to expect.

    They rarely meet my expectations and then I'm the lone jerk writing a negative review lol I don't mind being honest with my thoughts but I would rather spend my time reading and writing about something I enjoy.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I try waiting a few months and that works- because the books tend to get lost in my never-ending tbr lol, so I'm not sure if it's wise to put off reading them anymore. I badly need to strike a balance!

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  4. This happens to me ALL THE TIME! I've actually started actively avoiding reading recently released books until about a year after they've been released so that the hype is completely washed from my mind. Of course, that then brings up the discussion of what it means to be a 'relevant' blogger and if by not keeping up with recent releases, you're not going to be as prevalent. I decided that it's definitely worth it so I can keep my feelings under control :)

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

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    1. OMG YES about being relevant! I've noticed I get the most engagement out of recently release or hyped books more than I do from, idk, indie books and lesser known books and that's just sad :((

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  5. I try not to be sucked in by hype, because I usually end up disappointed. I don't tend to read reviews until after I read a book, I will check out reviews from bloggers I trust. I am usually late to the party on hyped books, so there is normally a bunch of the non-hyped reviews out there by the time I read it.

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    1. This is very wise and I definitely admire your strength and levelheadedness, Sam! :D

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  6. I always try to resist the hype, sure the book is something I am anticipating but I try to keep my expectations on the same level even after reading all the raving reviews. One thing I always do is try to find negative reviews for a certain books, it will tell me all the red flags and keep my expectations on a more realistic and manageable level :D

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

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    1. I think I'm getting increasingly better at keeping my excitement at bay, even if it's an author I absolutely adore. AND YES- negative reviews certainly do help!

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  7. I'm the queen of hype-resisting LOL. I mean, I have a blog called Offbeat YA...

    Seriously though - it's always been part of my personality to go counter-current. I don't do it on purpose - it just happens. As for books, the genres I tend to read are rarely (if ever) hyped, and even if I make my mind about reading a contemporary or fantasy book, I almost never buy them when they're fresh out the press, since I usually treat myself with books once a year. So, in the meantime, I can focus on the 1, 2 and 3 star reviews, and decide if the aspects those readers were annoyed with could be turn-offs for me.

    Hype is a dangerous beast. Of course, the publishers turn to those bloggers/YouTubers/Instagrammers etc. who are supposed to receive certain books with enthusiasm - so the raving reviews start even before the book is on NG and the likes. Of course, there are already established authors who - in the eyes of their fans - can do no wrong. Of course, most readers like to be in good company when it comes to choosing and discussing a book. Of course, there's always the mentality that, if lots of people talk about something, it must be good (I'm usually more vary of it instead...). Of course (as Laura above said) there's the whole "being a relevant blogger" issue, too - whatever that means. But there has to be a happy medium between blindly following the hype and purposely avoiding the books everyone and their dog reads.

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    1. The queen of hype-resisting, you certainly are! I guess it helps that you don't read all that much of fantasy or contemporary when it comes to YA since those are the most hyped these days! AND YES- it's extremely wise of you to limit your book-buying till the end of the year- you have more time to figure out which ones you're ACTUALLY excited about!

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  8. I've definitely been affected by the hype before too, Ruzaika, and I wish I knew a way to not let it happen so much. Because it's SO present in our community, and it's hard to want to jump on the train too because what if you don't like the book? I've had super high expectations get CRUSHED before because they weren't lived up to, and then it's like, is that even fair to the book or the author? I've become a bit wary of super-overwhelming hyped books, too.

    On the flip side, I've LOVED books that would never have gotten on my radar if it hadn't been for the hype surrounding them. Simon Vs., The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, and Uprooted by Naomi Novik are the first that come to mind. Because of everyone raving about them (most from trusted reviewer friends), I *needed* to see what they were about, and I ended up loving the books. So I think it can be a good thing, depending on the story! Great post. :)

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