Hype: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Ever since I (finally) started reading THUG, I’ve had a topic in mind for a new Infinity Talk: hype. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why I came up with this particular topic while reading one of the most hyped contemporary YA books in recent years.

What exactly is ‘hype’?

To me, hype starts with an intense feeling of anticipation leading up to a book release. Once said book hits the bookshelves, sales skyrocket, people read the book, and discuss it . In short: a hyped book is a highly anticipated book that spurs a lot of conversation once it’s released.

There are several ways to experience hype.

  • You hate it: you avoid hyped books like the plague. You might read it once the hype has settled down but you’re more likely to never read a page. Why? Maybe you don’t like sound of the book (not your prefered genre, themes, etc.) or maybe you’re avoiding the book because of the hype. Basically, you’re sick of everyone reading and talking about the same book over and over again. It’s annoying.
  • You love it: you like the buzz of conversation surrounding a book and you add your voice to the conversation. The only way you can do that is by reading the books everyone’s talking about.
  • You are indifferent…but kind of curious: you’re the ‘neutral bystander’. You’re aware of the hype surrounding a particular book, but you don’t hate or love it. You’re not going out of their way to read it as soon as it hits the shelves, but you don’t banish it from your TBR either. As a neutral bystander, you will (most likely) read the book because you’re curious to know what the fuss is all about, but you don’t mind if it takes you a couple of months to get to it.

Whether you hate it or love it or you think a book deserves the hype or not, there’s not much you can do about it once it starts. It’s like a snowball effect. Once the so-called influencers (well-known book bloggers, instagrammers, reviewers, … ) get on board of the hype train, the audience will follow.

Now let’s talk effects and consequences.

THE GOOD:

  • it’s a way to give a voice to books that are usually overlooked: this is what’s happening right now with #ownvoices and books with POC characters. Just look at Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give. Hype equals sales (she was a best-seller in the US and UK in a matter of days!) and that’s a very good thing for books from #ownvoices authors or diverse books in general. If these books are hyped up the way THUG was, more people will read them, which will create new and better opportunities for other authors.

THE BAD:

  • A hyped book creates a lot of high expectations that can lead to disappointment. Who hasn’t looked forward to the release of a book that everyone (including you) thought would be Amazing! only for you to not like it all? Maybe even hate it? Yeah. Not fun.
  • If everyone only reads the popular books, other great books (which might not have the same marketing budget) are ignored. This is something I’m guilty of. I tend to steer towards the more popular and hyped books when I should also be on the lookout for some undiscovered gems. But, in my defence, it’s hard enough to get my hands on the hyped books (I’m not living in an English-speaking country). It’s nearly impossible to find the not-so-popular ones.

THE UGLY:

  • Let’s face it: hype is a marketing tool. It’s a business and that means it can be abused. I imagine that it’s a lot easier for the big publishing companies and influencers to create hype around a book than it is for smaller, indie companies. And you know what they say: with great power comes great responsibility. We, as readers, expect them to hype up a book that deserves the hype and is a good book in general. This means no books with bad representation, offensive language, gender and cultural stereotypes etc.

To wrap up this post, I’ll be sharing three hyped books I haven’t read (yet?).

  1. Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab
  2. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
  3. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
What do you think about hype: good or bad? Do you read hyped books or avoid them? What are some of your favourite hyped books? Which were a huge disappointment? What are some books you haven’t read yet?

Let me know in the comment section!

See you soon,
Lauren

17 thoughts on “Hype: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  1. Yeah totally agree with this! The only reason I read Fault in Our Stars was for the sake of the movie and now im doing the same with Everything Everything. I like hype if its surronding something I’m curious or am not a hard core fan about…but if people are hyping up something I love (like when the netflix adapt of Thirteen Reasons Why came out and eeveryone and their mother were suddenly into it) I get really nervous because I don’t want it to flop 😮

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  2. I am really guilty of reading books because of the amount of hype they get! Sometimes this has totally paid off (ADSOM is one of my favourite books of ever and THUG is a new favourite as well!!) and other times, the book doesn’t meet my expectations which is always disappointing. It’s a shame though that other great books are perhaps cast to the side in favour of more hyped books. Loved this post!

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  3. I completely agree! Personally, I do read hyped books, but it does take me a while. Most of my experiences with these books have been pleasant, but All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven and Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell were dissapointments even though they were hyped.

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  4. NOWWW WERE TALKING GIRLL ❤ I think this post is amazing in every single way. You wrap up all the points very clearly and visually pertinent. BRAVO ❤ And yes, I've been that girl who's trying to avoid the hyped books but…also like to buy them GAHA #bloggercurse. So I guess our blog is the tool to let people know if it's worth it or not 😉

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    • Thank you so much! I’m happy you enjoyed this post. ❤ You're right. Blogs are very helpful. If I read a lot of negative reviews about a hyped book, I'll probably avoid it (unless I really, really like the sound of the summary) 🙂

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  5. I’m kind of a neutral bystander! I can’t resist hyped books 😅 I’m always super paranoid, but I NEED to read them to see how (of course there’s some exceptions, but mostly I’ll keep them on my TBR). I definitely understand how over-hyping a book can backfire though. Out of the ones you mentioned I’ve read A Darker Shade of Magic and Caraval and loved both of them!

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    • I’m definitely the same. I’m so curious I just have to know what it’s all about, but it usually takes me a while to get to it. Hence why there are still a couple of popular books I haven’t read yet.
      Oh, good! I think I’m going to add all three to be my TBR soon 🙂

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  6. I think I am definitely a huge hype reader. If I see enough great buzz about a book and it happens to be one I think I’ll be interested in it automatically goes on my TBR. And I think hype reading has worked for the most part for me – Six of Crows, ADSOM, and ACOTAR are books I read because of hype that have turned into my all-time favorites. Although, there are times when it hasn’t worked out for me as well which sucks because I think it’s an even bigger let down when you’re REALLY excited for a book. Great discussion! 😊

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