Friday 18 December 2020

A Thank You to Book Publicists and the Hype #Hype #BookPr #BookPublicists #LetsTalkAboutHype #ThankYou


So, we are almost at the end of a year that not one of us could have forecast. It's been a hard year, that's for sure. Personally, I have missed seeing my book community friends so much. No festivals in Harrogate, Newcastle and Beverley for us this year. No meet ups with bloggers, no book launches ... basically, no fun. 

It's been a year of new words, words that we had hardly every used before. Lockdown, socially distanced, tiers and many more.

There's another word that seems to have become very popular recently, and that's 'hype'. It is probably one of my most hated words to read in a review of a book, it rhymes with tripe, and that's how I feel about it. 

I'm not sure that people really understand hype. I don't claim to be an industry expert by any means, I am not a marketer or a publicist but I do think I understand a little about how books are sold.

I personally think that book publicists do an incredible job, and I am eternally grateful to them for continually feeding my book habit.

So, what exactly am I bleating on about? Well, it's the comments and/or reviews that mention the hype. It really makes me feel a bit queasy when I see the comment such as:

Ignore the Hype
Don't believe the Hype
Not worth the Hype

Hype is what publicists do! It's their job and they are damn good at it. I prefer to call it a buzz, but hype is what it is.

Not every book will have a huge marketing plan or budget; I don't really know how a book becomes a publisher's chosen book, but I'd guess it's about money. How much they've paid for the book, how well known the author is etc. That makes sense to me, good business sense, and that's what the industry is. It's a business. Books are a product to be sold, to make a profit for the company and to enable that company to continue to buy and publish more books. A bit like Tesco, or your local butcher. 

Publicists send out proof copies of a book to people who they think will enjoy it. They will send to booksellers, other authors, other publicists, press reviewers, librarians and bloggers. Sometimes there's a little gift, or a gimmicky PR sheet, and that's a great idea. The person receiving the book will remember it.

Publicists arrange as much 'hype' for the book and the author as they possibly can. There are thousands of books published every month, but there are only so many newspapers, magazines, TV and radio programmes and blogs that can actually feature the book. Getting the book a slot in a magazine, newspaper or any form of media is a challenge and a triumph for the publicist when it happens. 

The more people who see the book cover, or the author, or read an interview, or listen to them talk, the better. That's hype, and despite the numerous times people say 'not worth the hype', it really really is worth it. For a book, an author and a publisher, it's fabulous. 

Some people refuse to read a hyped book. This is one of the strangest things for me to get my head around. 

Every. Single. Person who utters one word, or posts one photo of a book, in the public domain is adding to the hype. So, you don't read a book that a publicist has promoted really well, but you will read something else, and add to the hype about it.  Doesn't make sense to me.

I mean, who says they are not going to watch a newly released film or TV programme because there's been too many adverts for it?  Or refuse to eat food from M&S because Tom Hardy is hyping up their sprouts?  Does it make sense to you? I can't figure it out at all. 

(Totally gratuitous photo of Tom Hardy - you are welcome)

So, basically, what I am trying to say, and have been trying to work out how to say it for ages is this.

Hype is publicity and it's what publicist do. We are all part of it. Publicists are amazing, and I love them for what they do. I love the fact that they whip up excitement about upcoming books. I love the fact that they trust us with their books and I love the fact that they exist.

Honestly, I really don't enjoy all of the books that have the biggest hype. I honestly don't. However, saying stuff like 'not worth the hype' is pretty bonkers in my view. We don't have to like everything. No publicist expects every single reader to love every single book, but for goodness sake, let's praise those people who work so hard to make sure that we know about books.

I am not going to name all of the fabulous publicists that I work with as I'd probably forget someone and I would be mortified, but they know who they are.

Thank you book publicists. Thank you for the hype. Never ever stop what you do 💜

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