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  1. #31
    I eat fish. Bear's Avatar
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    People get genuinely upset when they don't like a book that's hyped up? I mean, the quality of a book is subjective, including your opinion of it. Just because lots of people are getting something from it doesn't mean you will too, and vice-versa. Seems like that would be kinda obvious. It's like getting a book from the library and saying: "I'd better enjoy this novel, or else all who enjoyed it, thus leading me to try it, will pay."

    I remember when Memory, Sorrow and Thorn was pretty talked up and widely praised. I kept hearing the name, so I gave it a go. I didn't like it at all. Barely finished the first book, and never continued with the series. But I did not feel cheated. Lots of people seemed to like it, but it wasn't my thing. I just marked it up as "different tastes" and moved on. This has happened a number of times over the years (most often with "Epic Fantasy"). The most it effects me is that I can get a little disheartened. When a book I think is crap is widely praised and begins to influence authors in it's direction, I may end up with less reading material (which has never been the case -- I always have more books on my to-read list than I can find time for -- but the fear is always there). But cheated, robbed? No. Someone wrote a novel. A lot of people seemed to enjoy it. I chose to try it as well. It didn't work out. Whoops. The author, nor the people who liked the book, owe me nothing. And they're perfectly entitled to their opinion, no matter how much I think it's off-base.

    Anywho, hype can surely paint an unrealistic picture of a book. I'm glad I read Martin before he was considered the savior of fantasy. I think I picked him up just before Storm of Swords hit shelves. And people were really praising him, sure, but not in the same way. If I went into it now, with people saying 'You might want to save this for last, because every other fantasy writer pales in comparison to him' or 'Tell your pants they're about to be crapped in', I don't know how well he would have fared. I definitely enjoyed the first three books, particularly Storm of Swords, but they aren't my all-time favorites, and they didn't rewrite my concept of what the written word could do, or anything as severe as that.

    And to some degree, I must admit, I've done this to others. When I first read American Gods, I loaned my copy out to just about everyone, with a "You have to read this book, or I will kill you" statement. Half the people were glad I did, but the other half? They just asked why I made them read that thing, or asked me never to call again.

  2. #32
    Gentleman and Scholar Wulfa_Jones's Avatar
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    I don't think anything that has ever been hyped has lived up to it's expectations - it is impossible. Even if something isn't hyped, but is something you are personally looking forward to, it is likely to prove to be a little bit of a disappointment.

    I enjoyed The Name of the Wind, for me it was one of the most enjoyable books I've read in years. I can't honestly say I would have enjoyed it less or more with or without the hype. I suppose I got the book as soon as it was released and so before it was heavily discussed. With Bakker and Erikson, I'd been hearing reviews, discussions etc for a couple of years before finally picking the books up and being disappointed with them.

    Same, to a point, with Morgan. Yes he is an established writer, but The Steel Remains was his first move into a different genre. The book was hyped - I started the thread about it months before it was released based solely on the synopsis and cover art. I enjoyed the book, but again, would have I enjoyed it more or less without having heard so much about it before hand? I don't think I would have.

    With new authors, such as Rothfuss, I think the hyped serves them and us, as the reader, well. Without at least a little bit of hype, books such as The Name of the Wind, by new authors, wouldn't have had the success they had. I think the question must be, how much hype is too much hype? How do we define hype? Word of mouth is very important in the publishing industry because publishers don't really spend that much on advertising. One of the main reasons I come to this site is to find out about new title or authors I've not read.

  3. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B View Post
    It does bother me because as some have said, there is an investment of time and a shared experience with the author.

    Books that have let me down or where "I just didn't get it"

    Little, Big by John Crowley - I remember being excited to get the recent (2006) reprint from Harper after seeing so many good things about the book and a great deal of praise from writers about the book. I started reading and couldn't figure out what the big deal was, I was absolutely bored to tears.

    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell - Neil Gaiman let me down on this one, I have to admit. I thought it was interesting, but plodding, and v-e-r-y l-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g winded.

    M. John Harrison - Light was pretty good, so I thought I'd try his acclaimed Virinconium novels but like Little, Big I hunted used book shops for the books for years and was thrilled when BantamSpectra reissued the book in a terrific looking omnibus in 2005. Boy was I let down, I couldn't even finish the whole thing it just meandered and went nowhere.
    It's already been proven to my satisfaction that you and I have different--oposite--tastes. That can be useful, however, and no hard feelings. I'll just check out your favorites and avoid them. One of the benefits of criticism that critics tend not to mention.

    How can JSAMN be plodding, long-winded and interesting?

  4. #34
    Nobody in Particular kcf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B View Post
    Good thoughts and I'll respond to each of the above. When the Recommendation is the form of a letter on the Advance Copy of the book and the person in question is the Editor in Chief of the publisher, then it certainly does hold a certain amount of weight. Then again, it is the publisher's job to sell their books.

    Interesting statement about the fairness to Rotfhuss (or any other author in that position). On one hand, yes he is the beneficiary of all that hype. On the other, it still does put some expectations on the title.
    It's funny, this book has almost been elevated to the level of love it or hate it. And really, when it comes to the hype that everyone references, I don't see it - at least early on. Sure, there was the letter from the editor, which was curious and certainly notable (though I've seen similar letters from other editors since). But when I look at early reviews - the PW review, my review, Pat's review, Rob's review, etc. I see a book that gets somewhat mixed praise, though a general consensus that it's an impressive debut. I think that this early buzz has since been retold and maybe become true hype, but really it seems that people mostly think it's hyped because they've heard that it's hyped. Has the hype been hyped?

  5. #35
    Analyze That
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    That's a really interesting point about hyping hype, actually, because it can have a terrible effect on a book if it's taken the wrong way. When reviewing the book, people can tend to say things like "didn't to live up to expectations." Honestly, your expectations have absolutely nothing to do with whether the book was good or bad. People reading this review can take that to mean "a bad book" when the book is actually pretty good, just not in comparison with your expectations. Expectations are important, but keep in mind they apply only to you, and not to the people you are recommending/ not recommending the book to.

  6. #36
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    I'm surprised we've gotten so far through this thread without KatG jumping in and telling us we're mostly talking about buzz rather than hype. Or someone including a McDonald's reference.

    I can't say I'm ever upset or angry after reading a hyped/buzzed book, but I have noted that sometimes I'm disappointed. I think this more comes from beginning the book with a somewhat altered set of expectation - and considering I know that most of the time I strongly disagree with the buzz, I'm not sure what that says about me. Maybe I'm masochistic?

    Quote Originally Posted by kcf
    Sure, there was the letter from the editor, which was curious and certainly notable (though I've seen similar letters from other editors since). But when I look at early reviews - the PW review, my review, Pat's review, Rob's review, etc. I see a book that gets somewhat mixed praise, though a general consensus that it's an impressive debut
    I think the impact was more that all these sources were discussing it at the same time that added gravitas to the positive nature of the buzz. This is a novel that didn't meet the mark for me (I'd rate it as OK), but was obviously extremely well marketed by the word of mouth channels. While I wasn't a fan of the editor adding the cover letter, or it being mentioned in reviews of the book, you would have to agree that it was effective in raising the profile of the book, and I would therefore guess the sales as well. So good job to the editor and marketing team.

    And for recently buzzed books? I loved Jonathan Stange, thought Lynch and Rothfuss were merely OK and have yet to read Morgan's latest. No best thing since sliced bread there. The "impressive debut" of this year for me? So far it's Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory. Buzz.

    In the end though? "de gustibus non est disputandum"
    Last edited by Eventine; October 20th, 2008 at 10:16 PM. Reason: McDonalds, McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut

  7. #37
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    LOL, you're talking about hype and buzz, so there's no need for me to mention it.

    My answer to the question, for me, is no, because I have no expectations when I read a book by an author I've never read before. I have no dislikes of particular styles or approaches of writing or types of stories. I do read stories because a lot of people are paying attention to them, but I have no expectations that I will like or dislike such a book beforehand. I appreciate recommendations, but I don't expect that I may agree with them.

    If a publisher publishes a book, then the publisher thinks highly of the book, and advertising, etc., doesn't mean anything extra to that. The DAW letter was for booksellers, not fans, and meant that they would spend a lot of money on co-opt advertising. Before the Internet, probably most of us would never have heard about it, and most of the people who bought the novel never knew about it. I don't rank fiction works by who is better than someone else, so that doesn't figure into it. I don't psychoanalyze authors according to their fiction. So whether the Emperor is wearing leather or orange shorts or is naked doesn't matter to me.

    The only time I'm disappointed is if an author I like writes a book that I don't like, which does happen. It doesn't mean I won't try other works by the author, but I have the disappointment that I didn't get the "buzz" I was expecting from the book I didn't like. But new authors -- it is impossible for me to be disappointed in them because I have nothing invested in them. Hype means nothing, buzz is subjective. So it's just not an issue for me, and therefore, I have been quiet. You know, in that multi-paragraph way I have of being quiet.
    Last edited by KatG; October 21st, 2008 at 10:45 AM.

  8. #38
    Ranke Lidyek
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    I stand by my statement that anyone calling In the Name of the Wind the "best fantasy in 30 years" is selling something--most likely the book. Such a proclamation is irresponsible and damaging to the author, but more to the genre itself (yes, you're right that Rothfuss benefited from overblown praise--he sold a ton of novels, but it DOES hurt his reputation and that of this editor-in-chief). My reservations with George R.R. Martin aside, I feel that at least--as a reader--I could understand such an opinion if applied to Game of Thrones, even if I couldn't quite agree. To apply it to Wind is reckless by any definition.

    This is my problem with hype. Please keep in mind that I enjoyed Rothfuss' novel, and do not regret buying it. However, in the interest of honest assessment I have to say that Kvothe is a Mary Sue (he does EVERYTHING better than everyone else), however well disguised and there are serious issues with pacing and redundancy in the novel. Nothing happens for a long period. Furthermore, the novel lacks the stakes necessary for a classic tale (stoned dragons, anyone?)--though the author may rectify this later on. As a whole, it was episodic and uneven. I feel it would have been better to ditch the "present" day stuff and write the whole thing in first person. At least, then we'd have an immediately gripping tale that might have risen above its blemishes. BUT, when he was on, the tale is very gripping and connects on an emotional level unlike a lot of authors not named Gemmell.

    I only use Rothfuss as an example of a larger issue (sorry, Pat). If one were to ask, I'd recommend the novel. But how would I phrase the recommendation? It's a compelling old-fashioned fantasy novel well worth reading. We need more books like this.

    And we do.

  9. #39
    I dont know about anyone else but I for one definetly say Hype about Name of the wind. Someone asked earlier if this might be a case of the hype being hyped and I dispute that.

    At the time I brought it the book was being mentioned as the book of the year, debut or otherwise on almost all of the forums I visited. Hell it has more 5 star reviews on Amazon than any book I've ever seen. And While I do know how pointless Amazon's ratings are it almost seems like the blogosphere ran a coordinated propaganda of this book.

    I know I am imagining that last part but I was so disgusted and annoyed after reading the book that I spent nearly two days railing against it here and on other forums.

    On this book I dont think there can be any question it was definetly hyped. Several People mentioned it's "fresh first person view". It was everywhere battling for book of the moment with Scott lynch's debut and It seemed to me that people favored this book.

    So I admit I went into the book quite unfairly expecting some Book of the New Sun mindblowing adventure. What I got was a supercliched novel albeit a well done one. To me the book is simply average or competant at best. At worst (as someone else pointed out) it's a mishmash or themes and topics that have been covered better elsehwere. harry potter/magic school Scott card/feral child hobb/coming of age tale etc... I had grave problems with this book. I can feel myself getting started....so let me end my reflection on NoTW with the statement that I have three other first person tales on my bookshelf that I can remember, Book of the New Sun, The Chronicles of Amber, and Assasins Apprentice. Compared to either of these NoTW is like a happy meal set beside a five star restaurant
    Also........................kvothe is a douchebag.......

    Other books and authors I feel I cant get behind.

    Erikson-fight scene, fight scene, fight scene, introduction of new character fight scene, loading up of "assult crossbow", fight scene, reflection on some lost empire or "mother dark", fight scence, introduction of new character, fight scene, really big fight scene featuring either two huge armies, or one character vs 100 or more puddies.

    between all this someone either A dies and comes back to life later in the series or B turns into a God.

    elizabeth haydon-one of the few I couldnt finish. Rhapsody or something like that...I cant even remember it well enough to make jokes.

    Sanderson-admittedly I am only still struggling through Elantris but is this guy really supposed to be the one to finish jordan. WoW.
    Last edited by Afrobro; October 21st, 2008 at 12:35 AM.

  10. #40
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    Reading your posts I asked myself: if people at a book store were asked about hype and reaction to it, would they answer in the same fashion?

    Or, is hyping - message board - Internet related?

    When does hype start? Are people talking about a book enthusiastically hyping it already?

  11. #41
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Okay, apparently I was wrong and I do need to make the differentiation between hype and buzz.

    Hype is advertising and promotion. It's what publishers and booksellers do to sell a title. So the letter that DAW's EIC wrote to booksellers about Name of the Wind was hype, even though she probably did feel that way about the book. She certainly hasn't done it before for a title, even though DAW has launched some biggies. But nonetheless, that's hype. It's manufactured. You could probably throw in reviews as hype as well, though I think it can be argued there's a difference between reviewers who are paid by a publication to do reviews as an asset of the publication and people who do free reviews on the Net because they want to express their opinions. But let's call all reviews hype. Booksellers who recommend a book because they liked it (hand-selling) are included in hype.

    Buzz is when friends or acquaintances who are not trying to sell the book tell you they really liked a novel, for one reason or another, and recommend you read it. You can manufacture hype to try and attract readers and hope that those readers will give you buzz, but you can't manufacture buzz in fiction writing. And fiction readers are notorious for ignoring advertising, that is, if they see it in the first place, since publishers can't afford to do much outside of bookstores. About half of the hype thrown at them goes to waste. You can't make novels cool like you can non-fiction, movies, music groups, etc., although goodness knows, they keep trying.

    And if they don't like something that is hyped, they get pretty nasty. Warner, for instance, bought for a million plus advance a new novel, a non-category magic realism work, and launched it with much hype. Whereupon it was promptly trashed by the hype reviewers, and after a brief flurry of interest, sank like a rock on bad buzz.

    So DAW could launch Name of the Wind with much hype, and they did, and this got the book a lot of attention. But DAW could not make people buy the book. And DAW could not make people who read lots of fantasy novels say they thought it was the best book of 2007. Did they pick that book to read over others that weren't as well hyped? Maybe, though the die-hard fans on the Internet tend not to stick to just the lead titles. That's why we have a category fantasy market in the first place. But they couldn't make them buzz about it. And if you like an author who isn't getting much hype from the publisher, buzz, buzz, buzz is the best thing you can do, like the old shampoo commercial, so that others know it's there.

    That's not hype, because you sincerely had a reaction to something. You're not lying are you? Why would you bother to lie? I thought the dragon being stoned in Name of the Wind was the most interesting bit of the dragon part, though Ranke and I might agree about some other aspects concerning uneveness in the novel. I'm not lying. I'm not hyping. I'm buzzing. And both hype and buzz happen in the bookstore and the Internet and elsewhere.

    So obviously, I'm with Bear. You can certainly be suspicious of hype, but being suspicious of buzz being a cheat seems a strange notion. And I'm also with the people who say that they don't see anything wrong with publishers doing more hype for their books. I want them to do hype. I want them to get their SFF authors on television, curse it. I want billboards in Time Square, if there was ever any way that would make sense to do. It doesn't matter if I like a book or not. They deserve a chance to be noticed and then to find their audience if there are people who like parts of the novel or the whole thing. This does not, in my view, cause the downfall of Western English civilization. In fact, it just might save it.

    When the Emperor strode naked, having been tricked by hype into thinking he had new clothes, no one said anything at first because they were too scared and embarrassed to do so. I have seldom encountered fantasy fans who were too scared and embarrassed to say that they dislike a book, especially one that is hyped. There have been numerous versions of this thread over the years, for instance, and no one has ever been shy about naming titles. I've run into some who were too intimidated to say that they liked a book, that the Emperor's new clothes looked spiffy, because they knew they'd get jumped on for it by those who didn't -- and I would sincerely like that never to occur, but hey, fan discussion is for the tough. But that's buzz, not hype.

  12. #42
    Author of "The Inferior" peadarog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by argon View Post
    Reading your posts I asked myself: if people at a book store were asked about hype and reaction to it, would they answer in the same fashion?

    Or, is hyping - message board - Internet related?

    When does hype start? Are people talking about a book enthusiastically hyping it already?
    Some good questions. I've read through the thread and haven't seen a real definition of hype yet. Should we distinguish it from honest reviews by honest fans/bloggers? Is hype to be defined as propaganda emanating from those with a stake in the book's success? Or is hype made up of the entire noise machine that surrounds a book, including Amazon reviews, including word of mouth?

    In either meaning of the word, even if I hate the book, I think that hype is deserved provided a large enough number of readers love it.

    E.T.A. I see that KatG has just done the necessary

  13. #43
    Nobody in Particular kcf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KatG View Post
    You could probably throw in reviews as hype as well, though I think it can be argued there's a difference between reviewers who are paid by a publication to do reviews as an asset of the publication and people who do free reviews on the Net because they want to express their opinions. But let's call all reviews hype.

    Well, I consider blog reviews and reviews at websites like SFFWorld to be more a form of buzz than hype, but I'm obviously biased. While I am just giving an honest opinion of books, as someone who receives ARCs and review copies I am also a part of the publisher's marketing plans - so it's a gray area that can go either way.


    And I for one am pleased to see the discussion diving into hype, buzz, expectations and the like rather than being limited to just another clone of posts that basically say 'I didn't like ___ and am mad because others told me it was good.'

  14. #44
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DailyAlice View Post
    How can JSAMN be plodding, long-winded and interesting?
    I knew you might comment on my (once-again) thoughts about Little, Big.

    As for JSAMN - I thought the idea at the heart of the novel was interesting, I thought some of the concepts were interesting, and even some of the footnotes were interesting. The plodding and long-windedness, for me, was how long the book was compared to how much I enjoyed it. A scalpel wielding editor would have helped that book a great deal.

  15. #45
    I find it interesting that amongst the books held up as being over hyped or deserving of reputation, I see a lot of books I really liked and a lot of books I really disliked. And they`re not always in the expected "categories" either.

    I read plenty of book reviews (or video game reviews for my other big hobby), and in the end it comes down to preference. I`ve loved books and games that have been trashed in reviews. I loved books and games that have gotten good reviews. And I`ve hated some books and games that "everyone" seems to like. (Martin, Jordan, Follet, Paolini are ugh in Aurian's world).

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