Hype kills books– how many times have we heard that? There’s a lot of truth to it to be sure. How many times have we all picked up books that had a HUGE buzz about them and ended up disappointed? It makes you want to swat away all the expectations before you catch the bug. Well, never fear, I have some tips to manage expectations that work well for me when it comes to that dreaded hype.
Usually when we know the author already it doesn’t turn out too bad. Now this isn’t something you can always control, however, it does help to bear in mind how you felt about an author’s previous works before going into a book. Several times a book has been insanely hyped and yet I know the author so I don’t find myself swayed by it. This is the case with Cruel Prince for me personally- the author’s been around for a while and I’ve enjoyed her books. Granted, I’ve not read this yet- nonetheless, I’m pretty much expecting more of the same: while I’m sure I’ll like it, I’m not on the hype train. I find it helps to keep a level head, especially if you’ve rated the author in the 3-4* range- just expect more of the same and you’ll rarely be disappointed.
I always find it helps to lower expectations. Read negative and meh reviews (dudes that’s what they’re for)- hopefully then you can go into the book with your eyes open. The idea isn’t to be put off, but to be aware of the things that might bother you before going in, so you’re not surprised by it. This is especially helpful if you’re a massive mood reader like me- if I see complaints that a book is slow paced, I will know to pick it up when I have the time to be completely absorbed in it. For me, this was useful when I went into books like The Bear and the Nightingale. The point is to get a good idea of what you’re getting into- which leads me onto…
Listen to reviewers you trust. I think it’s great to build a rapport with *actual people* on the blogosphere. That way you know you’re getting an honest review. I love hearing so many people’s thoughts and feelings on books and I have found it helps me build up a clear picture of what I might be getting into (without any spoilers!). I have to say, since I started blogging, I’ve been finding it *so much easier* to find books I love. Some, like Suitable Lie, I never would have read otherwise. Take everything with a pinch of salt, because everyone’s taste is different, but there are great reviewers out there who will give you a really clear view of what they liked/disliked about a book. There’s so many great people out there and I recommend checking out: Lucinda, Liis, Meggy, Lashaan and Trang @Bookidote, Brianna and Krysta @Pages Unbound, Zezee, Marie and Kat (I could go on forever listing people, so forgive me if I only mention a few).
WAIT– I know, I know, this one’s really hard. But I’ve found in a great number of cases where I’ve leapt at a book that I’ve seen hyped and jumped on the bandwaggon, I’ve ended up disappointed. And then of course, the second I come out with my review saying “meh” there’s a ton of other reviews by people who were also disappointed. When I wait, however, and bad reviews are not forthcoming, I can be pretty confident I’m onto a winner (hello Six of Crows). Still I know a lot of book bloggers have ARCs or need to read a book for some other reason, so if waiting is not going to be an option…
Try to go in blind. I know that’s realllly hard for a book blogger. And yes, this contradicts some of my other advice, but sometimes this is the best thing to do- especially if you’ve been approved for an ARC. If you do like the sound of a book and have to read it the second it comes out, try to ignore all the reviews. That way you’ll only be focused on the concept and content of the book and can’t be swayed by public opinion.
And finally, if you have an instinct that a book is not for you, then TRUST THAT INSTINCT. I think this is one of the ways that hype can be very useful because then you actually get to know a little bit about the book before release. For instance, I used to hate the “it’s the next Hunger Games” type tagline- but I’ve been finding it more useful lately in eliminating books from my TBR. Personally, for instance, I’m a little bit over the whole Red Queen type books at the moment, so when I saw the much hyped Everless was compared to that I didn’t reach for it immediately (and I’m glad I didn’t, because the more mixed reviews are coming out now)
So what do you think of hyped books? And do you have any tips for handling the hyped books? Let me know in the comments!