Thursday, August 28, 2008

Does an Author’s Hype Ever Get Out of Hand?

The past few weeks there has been a lot of hype with some authors and their books that readers have been anxiously awaiting for. Both authors that suddenly come to mind are Stephenie Meyer and Sherrilyn Kenyon. These two authors had very anticipated reads released within days of each other. The hype for Breaking Dawn and Acheron grew to the point where people were foaming at the mouth to get either one of these novels.

Okay, so I am be a little too dramatic, but I for one was so excited about getting my hands on Breaking Dawn, that it was all I could talk about for almost a year. I have witnesses to my obsession and I assume most wanted to bop me over the head with my relentless chatter over one book THAT I JUST HAD TO HAVE BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE!

Now it is weeks later and both these books have been released and the hype has come and gone. But at what price? The build up to Stephenie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn was almost comparable to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Unfortunately, the fans of Stephenie Meyer were not as pleased as the Rowling fans were. In less than 24 hours from the time Breaking Dawn hit the shelves, there was such a backlash I have never seen. I assumed some readers wouldn’t be happy with the final book, but was a bit shocked to hear that some wanted to burn Breaking Dawn in some form of effigy because they were so upset by what Meyer had written. WTF???

Some readers did the more mature approach and decided to return their copies of Breaking Dawn, which makes sense. If you are not happy with the product you bought, you have more than a right to return it to the store. Meyer’s publisher, Little, Brown and Company even issued a statement in regards to the overall disappointment of the novel:

“With a book that has been as eagerly anticipated as Breaking Dawn, it would simply be impossible to meet every reader’s expectations.”

In other words, Little Brown is saying take it or leave it!

I have to say I am responsible for starting my own personal hype for an author’s next release. I use to be this way with Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. The idea that I would have to wait over a year for the next book drove me insane! Each day I would troll the various websites and message boards for any information I could find on her soon to be released book. The countdown I would start in my head from the months to the weeks to the final few days before the release were the worst And when I finally had that book in my hands, I would seriously stand in the book store shaking with my heart beating a mile a minute because I finally had what I have wanted so long for! I felt like I had survived some type of battle within myself and was able to breath again in relief. Well, that is until I had to wait for the next book in the series. I am not sure if anyone else does this, but I am guilty, as I begin reading the book I wanted above all else, that I become anxious for the next one after it. You would think I would be happy with what I have in my hands. I wish I could say that was true, but it is not.

I believe there are different levels of author hype. One that I just mentioned is a reader’s own personal hype and the feelings they alone go through as they wait anxiously for their favorite author’s books release. The next is the hype a small group of people start through on-line blogs or message boards. This has been seen with the fans of JR Ward. Talk about some dedicated fans!

The final type of hype is the mass audience such as we have seen with Meyer, Rowling and Kenyon. Of course these three authors are very different with the types of fans they have. Rowling and Meyer have a much younger crowd who are prone to fits of excitement more so that the more adult fans Kenyon may have.

In other ways, I am glad for some authors to have such hype. Some have worked so hard and gone through hell to get to the point where they are in their career. Why not have a bit of excitement that leads up to their next work of art?

The hype I had for LKH was when I was a bit younger is very different from the way I act now because I am older have calmed down. I still do get very excited to hear about future releases that are a few months or years down the line. I compare this hype just like Christmas. The joy of the holiday is waiting to see family and friends and to exchange gifts. You wait for months to see if you are getting that one gift you have longed for and when you have it in your hands and open that package, wrapping and all, the excitement is over till next year. The buildup tends to be the most important thing and when it is all over you can only hope the build up was as exciting as the actual gift you wanted.

So who else is responsible for adding to an author’s hype? Do you start you own internal one or do you tend to go along with the crowd and the excitement that builds up?

Katiebabs (KB)

And speaking of some hype, Meljean Brook is having another fun contest for those who have never read any of her books but would like to. Meljean is giving away 25 copies of her anthology, First Blood to those who have never read any of her books. So, if you have wondered what all the hype about Meljean is and always wanted to read her, go enter the contest. And while you're at it, go out and buy every other book of Meljean's because you will not be disappointed in the least!

Katiebabs (KB)


meljean brook said...

"And while you're at it, go out and buy every other book of Meljean's because you will not be disappointed in the least!"

LOL! I appreciate that, but my one-stars at Amazon suggest otherwise :-D

Anonymous said...

Meljean, are any of those one-stars complaint's about Amazon's service? I find those kind...perplexing. :|

I hype! Oh how I hype. Started a BDB fan board with some other folks - that's how much I hype lol. A bunch of us found that talking about the books would help carry us through to the next release without going gaga, or sooth us if we weren't happy about a book (BDB or otherwise), or just act as a reader community in general. But yeah, it does abound with the hype at times, but we try to keep it all in the spirit of fun. Which can get hard. Overall though, it's been an interesting experience.

Bev(QB) said...

Insatiable Book Lust... I haz it.

I try to avoid a lot of the hype, because I'm spoiler-phobic. So all my frenzied anticipation can be blamed on no one but myself. In fact, as the time gets closer for some of my most lusted after books to release, I have a difficult time being satisfied with any other books in my TBR.

Right now, I'm coming up on the out-of-control stage for KMM's Faefever (fortunately I'll have Jean Johnson's The Storm to delay the full out lust attack) then shortly after that for LKH's Swallowing Darkness (gawd I hate that title), and, yes, I STILL get excited when a new Anita book is released--- hope springs eternal and I'm not ready to give up on it yet (mainly because it still feels like I'm catching up with old friends).

Carolyn Crane said...

This is a good post and an interesting question. I mean, every author wants hype, but does the hype sometimes work against the author? I think it may have for Stephanie Meyer. I never read any of her books, but the backlash was so vocal it made a negative impact for me.

Anonymous said...

"If you are not happy with the product you have bought, you have more than a right to return it to the store."

I don't see that at all. The only book I've ever been tempted to return was physically faulty - the binding didn't hold the pages together properly - and I'd think of that as 100% returnable.
But I can't see the argument for returning a book because you didn't like the story it contained.
To me it's like ordering from a restaurant menu - I'll have the ham and pineapple pizza - eating it, and then expecting a refund because you didn't enjoy it as much as you hoped you would.

If the product was as advertised - a book containing the author's vision of what happened to Bella and Edward - why should you have the right to return it?

And, seriously, isn't it a bad thing? Couldn't you conceivably have a publisher putting pressure on an author to change their vision because they feared the public would reject it?

Janicu said...

I don't know if I'd say I'm hyping a book if I'm really looking forward to it, because "hype" seems to suggest exaggeration! :) If I'm really into the series where I feel my heart beating fast when I finally get my hands on the newest book, um.. it's not exaggerated to ME. Haaa.. maybe it's hype to other people who disagree about my opinion that the book and author are wonderful though.

Brie said...

I kinda compare what happened with SM with what occurred with Ward's last two releases. There was a lot of hype surrounding them, lots of eager fans that had waited on pins and needles for the books. And then they come out and wham, backlash city.

I have been guilty of hyping up a book in my head to impossible feats. No way can an author please all of their fans equally. After my last eagerly anticipated disappointment, I've learned to not hype as much as I once did. I try not to become too cerebral with a book I want and a little more patient.

*G* I have no idea if I answered the question posed. :p

KT Grant said...

The only time I return a book is it is a DNF and it was so bad that I wanted to throw it against the wall. Other than that I never return any of my books even after I finish reading. I think I am more aware of the author and by me returning their work, it takes money out of their pocket.

Tracy said...

Although I look forward GREATLY to certain books I try to not hype them up too much in my own head. I find when I do I tend to get a little disappointed after I've read the book and damn - now it's over! lol

Meljean - 1 star? Those people are nuts! I have to go fix this probmlem!

Anonymous said...

I totally understand the BD backlash. When an author disregards the major driving force of her series (love tiangle) - that's gonna pis* off fans.

And when the author adds something that is not plausible in the world that she has created, but then laughs the inconsistancies off as -hey, you guys are reading about vampires. It's fiction. (WTF?!) The vampire venom is so magical that it can make the impossible, possible.

I am rolling my eyes at the contempt Meyer has shown for her fans. It was stupid of her.

KT Grant said...

Maered: The whole pregnancy plotline along with Bella jumping out of bed after her transformation with no problems was the "jump the shark" moment for me in this series.
There were a lot of inconsistances that ruined everything I enjoyed in this series.

lisabea said...

Meljean ONE STAR?

Crack heads NO. I did not say that!

K, so I've certainly contributed to the hype-dom of certain books ::cough AdrienEnglish cough:: and ::cough JR WARD cough:: but as of today? Never Again. I swear.

azteclady said...

(don't believe lb--it's all her fault, after all)

I'm with Marianne Mca on the returning of books. If the book sucks, I will likely not try anything else by that writer, and will either sale, trade or giveaway the offending book, but I won't return a book unless it's missing pages or otherwise damaged.

Anonymous said...

I do a lot of the personal hype for an author. But the hype usually occurs about a month before release date. I.e. Nalini Singh's Hostage to Pleasure. I've been dying to get my hands on this book and the closer we get to the release date, the more I see reviews and the more I want.

Although, I will join in with others if they are around, but I won't run the gauntlet with them.

I will say Meljean Brooks is on my TBR list, but since it's over 300 books strong, I'm still trying to get to her. I do want to read Blood Lite and I did enter her contest.

Shaymless Aymless said...

Oh yes! I have insatiable book lust too! Hype, what's that? *bats lashes*

I have must-read authors (and the list keeps growing) and am a totally series junkie. It usually takes several really bad books to turn me off an author but somehow I always manage to buy the latest book, just not necessarily new.

I haven't returned a book because I didn't like it. Its a consumable product as far as I'm concerned and if opened then it's used. I'm more likely to donate a bad book or sell it to a used bookstore than return it. Beside returning something is so much work!

Oh and Jackie... you really need to move Meljean up on your TBR. And HtP soooooo cool. *wink*

And I am so not frothing at the mouth for the new CL Wilson, Meljean or Jean Johnson... so not... Isn't denial great. *grin*