Faye’s Thoughtful Friday is a new feature here at A Daydreamer’s Thoughts! At the moment this may not happen every friday, but they will always appear on Fridays. These posts will be all about my thoughts and opinions on bookish things and movie things. This week I am going to talk to you all about The Next Big Thing
There are hundrends upon hundreds upon thousands of books published to date. So how is it truly possible to decide what we’re going to read next? How do we just know which books to buy and which ones to by pass? Before I started blogging, I bought books based on intuition. Did I like the cover? How was the synopsis? I never read reviews, I never got recommendations from friends, I just went out there, picked a book of the shelf and tried to decide if this book was for me. Sometimes I manage to find some ultimate gems that I have treasured for many years, and then other times I would have picked up a book that was not the book that was right for me but throughout it all, I never regretted my decision to choose a particular book because I had chosen it based solely on the basic marketing tools, a cover and a synopsis.
Now, however, I actually choose what I read in a very different way. Nowadays, I recieve an e-mail from a publisher or an author with a book pitch, or a press release, or a synopsis and I’ll look it over and if I like the sound of it, I’ll request it. This process is still very similar but just leads to me having books before they’re even in full print yet. Then there are the books that fellow bloggers have read and loved and strongly advise that I read as well. (Although, a fair few of those are still on my shelves!) These are books that I buy sometimes without even reading the synopsis. If someone I know personally has spoken passionately about the book, I just go in, pick it up and buy it and just let the story take me without knowing what type of book I may actually be reading. In a way I like this type of reading because it gives the journey a little bit of an adventure. You just have no idea what will happen along the way.
And then you have the books that have been hyped around the blogosphere. Here I’m thinking about books like Divergent, Cinder, Clockwork Princess, Fallen, etc. They haven’t just been loved by one person but by many and the large porportion of people talking about them are really urging you to go ahead and read it for yourself as well. These types of books I want to say that I also head down to the store and buy STRAIGHT AWAY, but this just isn’t the case. I actually fear these books more than the others because what if I dislike it? What if I’m the one blogger who just doesn’t see why the hype is even there in the first place? Plus, I have tended to notice that I prefer to read the books that no one has read because they’re the real gems of this world. However, this hype is an invaluable marketing tool for publishers and one that, ultimately, they jump on to use.
The Next Big Thing is an undeniable marketing tool for publishers, they can suddenly see what people want in their books and can market new books for lovers of those books. This happened a lot when the Twilight books and films took off like a plane leaving the runway. Not only were more books being bought then ever before, but suddenly a large proportion of YA titles were being published with the tagline; “Twilight Fans Will Love It”. Then, when The Hunger Games film was released and the books once again were bought left, right, and center, books were compared to this book with taglines such as, “if you loved The Hunger Games, you’ll love this!”. These types of marketing have been there for many years and I can see why they do it, I can see what they’re trying to do but I’m not so sure that it’s essentially effective. Which is what I would like us to discuss today.
Personally, when I see taglines like this on a book, I tend to shy away from picking that book up to read it. It may stem from simply not liking to be told what to do, it may stem from my hatred of the Twilight books or my ultimate love of The Hunger Games, but I just usually get put off by tag lines like these. When it’s compared to Twilight, I know that it was a series that I didn’t like and therefore, why would I like these books that are similar to it? But then, I decided that because I had a personal recommendation to read a book that had this tagline, I would read it. Turns out, the book was nothing like Twilight and that irritated me. I would have walked away from a book simply because it was being marketed as similar to a book that I simply couldn’t stand and I would have been turning my back on an ultimate gem. Thus I feel that these taglines are actually a very dangerous marketing tool.
But the real reason that I dislike these taglines is that I feel that new books should always be marketed on their own merit. They shouldn’t be compared to other books on the market because it is not fair to them. What if they don’t like up to the then preconcepted expectation of the reader? A good book may be seen as terrible simply because it wasn’t up to the standard they expected. Yet, in it’s own right it may be an absolutely amazing book that is never just given the chance to shine like it should. This really cuts me apart because I know that there are some absolute treasures sitting on the shelves on bookshops just waiting for someone to pick them up and read them and allow their words to take them to an entirely new place. If we market books based on others like it, it’s almost like saying that this newcomer can “jump like Radcliffe can run”. It may well be true that they can, in fact, they may be better than Radcliffe but suddenly you’ve brought a comparison to life to two different things that can never be taken away and will forever leave an expectation in someone’s mind with the chance to ruin it.
And I just can’t see how that can have a good impact on the book.
How do you feel about these marketing taglines? Do you read books based on the recommendation that they’re the next big thing? Do you shy away from books that are “like such and such”? Have you read any books that you were uncertain of but then ended up loving? Tell me all! Let’s discuss!
Discalimer: I admire everything that publishers do and understand the pressures that they’re under to keep their businesses running. This is in no way a dig at their work, but merely an opinion on this. I wish no harm to any marketing teams, and am certain that many people do read books based solely on these taglines.