Ways to Manage Hype Without Being Overwhelmed
This is a guest post from Joséphine from Word Revel!
In communities as large as the book blogosphere, booktube, bookstagram and booklr, it is inevitable that one should encounter hype. Of late hype has engulfed The Raven King, A Court of Thorns and Roses and The Star-Touched Queen, just to name a few. Naturally, we’re all familiar with The Fault in Our Stars, The Hunger Games and Divergent — even those who have yet to read them. Their hype permeates the lives of bibliophiles, making it impossible not to know these books.
One question that often makes the rounds is, “How does one deal with hype?” The manner with which you choose to approach it largely depends on your perception of it. Some people adore the hype and love being caught up in it. Others, like me, feel incredibly wary about picking up hyped books. However you might feel about hyped up books, here are some ways to avoid being overwhelmed by hype.
Relish the Hype
Ideally, everyone would be able to celebrate together. That is why we joined various bookish communities, or even book clubs — to talk about books, share our love for books, recommend books and so on. Hype promotes all the reasons we bibliophiles band together! That’s why relishing the hype is a wonderful way to get involved. This is an approach recommended for anyone who:
+ likes to make an informed choice before picking up a book
+ doesn’t mind spoilers in the least, and maybe even enjoys them
+ has the privilege of reading a review copy — it’s your job to add to the hype
Avoid at all Costs
On the flip side, avoiding the hype is a method of self-preservation. If hype overwhelms you, avoidance is your medicine. That way you’ll be able to read a book in peace, without worrying about what others thought about the book, be they positive or negative reactions. If this is your preferred method, it’s best not to to look at your Goodreads feed, mute anyone who has read/is reading the book and stay away from Tumblr. Consider this extreme if you:
+ detest spoilers to the core
+ easily feel pressured to match the reactions of others
+ find ARC envy getting the better of you
Know Your Interests
Another coping mechanism necessitates that you know your interests. Sometimes hype tempts us to read books that we wouldn’t choose ourselves. In such circumstances, it helps to remain grounded. If paranormal romance isn’t your thing, don’t expect to love such a book because everyone’s praising it to the moon and beyond. Going in with an open but measured mind leaves room to be pleasantly surprised but also negates extreme disappointment.
Maintaining a neutral stance before actually reading a book can be rather difficult. Knowing yourself, however, makes it easier. Assess if you’ve read a book from the author before. If yes, did you like it? Consider why you did or didn’t. Use that to determine if the new book might bear similarities in those aspects that affected your (dis)like for the previous book.
In the case of debut titles, take note of the themes. Try not to ignore the taglines, “The next Hunger Games, Twilight, Throne of Glass, or what-not”. They’re there to sell you the book, not tell you what to expect. If a synopsis doesn’t give any clues, refer to reviews whose opinions you trust and about whom you know they won’t spoil the book for you. Once you know what the themes are, you’ll have a better idea if a book might be your jam.
Embrace New Experiences
Rising above the hype is the ultimate way to not feel overwhelmed. By focusing on the book itself, ready to embrace new experiences the hype comes secondary. Why care what your neighbour or best friend thought about the book? What matter to you are your thoughts and experiences. Take the what others have said with a grain of salt before diving in to the book. Soak in the characters, the prose, the story and and concentrate on your own reading experience.
When you’re done reading said book, that’s the time to discuss, compare notes, and sort out your differences with others. It’s a lot more productive to come together to talk about something when everyone involved knows what is going in. Embracing the new experience first, regardless of what you’ve heard takes practice. Once you’ve mastered that, hype becomes irrelevant because what matters is the book you’re currently immersed in.
Hype is Bigger than You
No matter how you feel about hype, it won’t go away. It’s bigger than any of us, bigger even than the book and its author. Lamenting that it undermines our enjoyment of books won’t get us anywhere. At the same time, I implore those who adore hype not to cause others’ misery. Don’t spoil a book in such a way that there’s no way out. Tag spoilers in such a way that allows more sensitive readers to exit.
Goodreads has dedicated HTML tags to mark spoilers and also has a check-box option to hide entire spoilers. WordPress bloggers might like to use the Ultimate Book Blogger plug-in (https://shop.nosegraze.com/product/ultimate-book-blogger-plugin/
) or learn to code their own solutions alongside bloggers on other platforms. Bookstagrammers can resort to preempting with “[SPOILER]
” or emojis to signify caution.
What these spoiler notices achieve is an overall happier community that accommodates every kind of reader. Warning those who are easily overwhelmed by spoilers allows those who love the hype to proceed while ensuring that nobody is unduly overwhelmed by the hype.
Hello! I’m Joséphine, a camera-wielding book blogger at Word Revel. I learnt to love books before I could even read. My dad jokes books are in my blood because I hail from the same place as the Gutenberg printing press. When I’m not blogging or reading, I’m staring at the world through my camera lens, am baking, or pursuing competitive sports.
How do you avoid hype? What books do you think are over-hyped? What’s a book that you think deserves the hype it has?
Thanks for reading!