The Pressures of Book Hype | Novel Newcomers (Xandra from Starry Sky Books)

Posted July 17, 2019 by Xandra @ Starry Sky Books

Novel Newcomers

Hi bookwyrms!

We’re going a little off schedule for Novel Newcomers, but who needs to follow the rules of blogging? 😜

Okay, but seriously. Life as a bookwyrm is not always endless treasures to hoard, and that extends to books as well! It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of a book — everyone is reading it, after all. But book hype comes with a variety of pressures, and today, Xandra from Starry Sky Books is here to talk about those pressures!

But What’s Novel Newcomers?

Novel Newcomers is created based from features spotlighting debut authors, only with book bloggers! It all began in 2016 with Nori from ReadWriteLove28, started in 2017 but the feature took a back burner later that year and remained so in 2018.

This year, however, Novel Newcomers is back! Clo from Cuppa Clo and I will be featuring book bloggers who started in 2017 OR 2018 all throughout the year, so brace yourselves and let’s chat about book hype with Xandra!

The Pressures of Book Hype

I think we’ve all been there. All of us, at one time or another, have fallen prey to some kind of book hype. 

What exactly is book hype, you ask? 

Book hype is what happens when there is a lot of positive feedback surrounding the release of a book. Oftentimes, several celebrated book reviewers will praise the book for its writing, or world-building, or humor. It seems as though everyone who gets their hands on an ARC of said book will praise it to the heavens, causing all of us who don’t get ARCs to highly anticipate said book. Those of us who have to wait until the release date will meticulously add this book to our TBRs, and list it as a “most anticipated read”. And when we finally receive this book… we just know it will be the best book we’ve ever read. 

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but this kind of “hype” can be misleading. Sure, we’d all love to read a book and fall in love with it, but the problem with book hype is that we all have different tastes. 

Every reader has certain book preferences.

While you may like romance novels, I would prefer to stick to fantasy. I might love a good friendship story about dragons, and maybe someone else would rather read a love triangle about werewolves, or something. These kinds of preferences usually dictate whether or not we choose to read certain books on our own, but it can be more difficult to make this decision when book hype comes into play. 

Many times, I have scrolled through Goodreads only seeing, say, three different books from all of my friends. Everyone is shelving these hyped books, or maybe they are reading them right at this moment. Perhaps they just finished one or more of them, and they’re updating their reviews with “5 STARS!!” written all over. No matter where I go, I see these hyped books everywhere. On Goodreads, on social media, on blog tours, and on bookseller websites. There is no escaping these hyped books, and so… I might as well read them. Everyone seems to like them, right? If these books changed lives, then maybe it’ll change my life, too. 

While it can be easy to go down this path of thinking, this is not always god for us, as readers. Book hype often creates high expectations for a book which might not ever be met. When we see everyone loving a certain book, we might hope a little too much that we could feel the same way. 

But should we ever “give in” to the book hype? Is it ever okay to hype books on our own platforms? 

Pros of Book Hype

Sometimes everything works out!

You heard me. Sometimes the hype is correct. 

When this happens, everything is magical. The book lives up to its hype and becomes one of your favorite reads of the year! Who could ask for more? 

Also, this means that the book is actually good (at least in your opinion). You can now write a completely honest review about why you love this book! 

Book promotions for everyone

By writing a great review on that hyped book, the book gets promoted to everyone who reads your reviews. Maybe one of your readers will love the book, too! Share the book love, my friend! 

I personally love these types of recommendations from my favorite bloggers. If they like it, I probably will, too! 

Cons of Book Hype

High expectations

When we see hundreds of people giving the same book 5 stars, we might say, “Oh, then it should be 5 stars for me, too!” But saying this to ourselves will give us nearly impossible expectations for the book. And if the book doesn’t meet those expectations, we can get let down and give it a lower rating than it deserves.

Misleading information

Sometimes, when a reviewer gives a hyped book 5 stars, they list all of the reasons why they rated it as such. They say, “It was amazing! I cried so hard! All of the characters were hilarious and perfect!” And if the reviewer truly feels this way, then that’s great! Good for them. 

But other times, reviewers might feel pressured into saying these extremely positive things if they received an ARC for the book, or if they’re doing a blog tour. They want the blog tour to be successful, so they make the book sound amazing! But this kind of behavior about blog tours and ARCs also makes the viewers think that the book will be just as amazing for them, even though… neither the reviewer nor the viewer will ever feel this way about the book. 

How to Defeat the Hype

I’ve found that one of the best ways to defeat the book hype frenzy is to just… wait a little bit. 

In my experience, I usually either a) purchase the hyped book a week or so after its release, or b) purchase it when it comes out, but I wait a while to read it. All of this happens on purpose because I wait for the book hype to die down. I don’t want to see other people’s social media posts about how great the book is – I just want to be influenced by my experience alone! By following one of these 2 steps, it really helps to block out what everyone else is saying. 

It also allows me to sit down and evaluate myself. Do I really want to read this book, or is that just the hype speaking?

xandra starry sky books
Xandra @ Starry Sky Books

Xandra is the blogger behind Starry Sky Books, a blog dedicated to books and writing.

Categories: Books
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13 responses to “The Pressures of Book Hype | Novel Newcomers (Xandra from Starry Sky Books)

  1. Ahhh I love this post so much, Xandra! I really like what you said about how sometimes these hyped reviews can be influenced by a pressure to conform to the general perception of the book. No one wants to be labeled as an outsider for disliking a very hyped book, so this could potentially influence early reviewers to give more positive rather than negative feedback.

  2. Hi Sophia, great idea featuring new bloggers! And as for the hyped book I agree with all your comments! I will often wait some weeks before buying it too.

  3. ooo Great topic! I tend to stay away from hyped books for a couple of months afters it’s release for the exact reasons you mentioned. Not to say ARC reviews are dishonest, because they shouldn’t be, but because sometime I feel like alot of reviewers (especially on GR) feel that pressure to churn out a positive review, and I know some PR firms ask that you only leave 4+ star reviews if you want the ARC, so my waiting is due to those. lol.

  4. Awesome topic! Like Sam said, I too tend to stay away from hyped books for a while…usually about a year or so, when the hype is around a new book and usually a different author. I still sometimes get hit by disappointment if I don’t enjoy the book, but it’s usually not that big as it would have been had I read that book while the hype was on for it. I agree with Xandra though that it all depends on what your reading preferences are and what your beliefs and likes and dislikes are. Because sometimes I find myself wondering how a popular book ended up with almost an average of 4 star rating on GR when I couldn’t even finish it, while I 5 star other books with a much lower average score. Can’t wait to see what discussion you’ll have next.

  5. Totally agree with Xandra about how sometimes reviewers can probably feel pressured, I naturally get into the hype and end up buying the book but it’l take me months to read it. That being said, I’m a generally easy to please reader so I tend to just love everything X’D. I really enjoyed this post and you brought up some great points!!

  6. Thanks again for featuring my post, Sophia! Don’t worry about it being a little late – I’ve been super busy as well, and I hope you’re able to get back on track soon! And I can’t wait to see what the next Novel Newcomers post is about!

  7. Great guest post, Xandra! Book hype and me do NOT get along, I tend to build up books so high in my head that I am almost always disappointed. I can even hype myself though, such as with a sequel to a book I LOVED. It’s insidious! I tend to not read reviews at all for books I am already planning on reading… and once I decide to add one to my TBR it is no more reviews! It kind of helps, but waiting does, too.

  8. Ooof, I get the Defeating the Hype ALL TOO WELL. I, too, either wait a while to purchase (mostly borrow from the library tbh) the book, or purchase a copy the first day it’s out and wait a while. I appreciate the hype that books can get. But I’m too easily influenced by the hype, so waiting and avoiding book reviews is what I tend to do. –And that works best!

    I either end up forgetting that the book even existed, or I realize that I was caught up in the hype of it all and decide that This Book isn’t for me.

    Lovely post! I followed Xandra on their blog.

  9. This is such a great post! I hate reading hyped books because I hardly ever like them. I was given that Eleanor Oliphant book for Christmas and EVERYONE at work was RAVING about how AMAZING and LIFE CHANGING it was. I was left going “I don’t get it? What mental illness did she have? Did she have more than one? Is this meant to be a happy ending?” which just left a sour taste in my mouth.

    I love your tips on how to beat the hype for those books that get raved about that you want to read.

  10. I’ve trust issues which I why I rarely buy overhyped books like SJM books lol. I still haven’t read Six of Crows till now because I don’t want to be disappointed.