*Warning: this is going to be a long read*
Hi guys!! 😀 So this post was inspired some experiences I had so far regarding the book marketing programs. As a book blogger, I always enjoy sharing my thoughts about a book, rate it and hear what other people think about it. But sometimes, misleading book marketing can be frustrating and also the blogging and marketing misconceptions by other bloggers and readers. Addressing these issues, I decide to resume it in this post with the help of my co-blogger Lashaan and.. THE ORANGUTAN LIBRARIAN WOO!
How many times a book has been compared to The Night Circus and… IT WASN’T ANYTHING LIKE IT? For example, Caraval and The Lonely Hearts Hotel.
“Caraval was one of the biggest marketing flops this year for me. All I heard before I picked it up was that it was “the next Night Circus”. My goodness was this a disservice to the book- because whatever you think of it, Caraval was to Night Circus as chalk is to cheese. And as usual the hype train got derailed as I began reading and I ended up getting a lot less out of the book than I would have if I had gone into it without so many preconceptions. ” – The Orang-Utan Librarian
And here’s The Lonely Hearts Hotel’s blurb on Goodreads: With echoes of The Night Circus, a spellbinding story about two gifted orphans in love with each other since they can remember whose childhood talents allow them to rewrite their future.
Don’t get me wrong, The Lonely Hearts Hotel was an AMAZING book but it didn’t look ANYTHING like The Night Circus. So my question is, what’s the point of mentioning popular books when the actual book has nothing to do with it? Because of this marketing, people reading The Lonely Hearts hotel expect MAGIC, A CIRCUS, SPELLBINDING ROMANCE. But there’s nothing about magical in this novel and people get disappointed. Do people writing the synopsis even read the book or they just assume it has a romance vibe so automatically they think of The Night Circus?
“ What I am finally coming to understand is that if it is compared to the Night Circus, be prepared for something completely different. And I will never understand this hype because it nearly always backfires on the book. Surely it is better to be pleasantly surprised than let down? So why make these grandiose claims that never turn out to be true?”- The Orang-Utan Librarian
“As heart-warming and satisfying as it may be that your new debut novel is compared to a award-winning bestseller or two, I strongly believe that every book should stick to selling their story and its author without the need of such comparisons. Every book should have the opportunity to rise to the top and become an iconic creature of its own. Every book should have the opportunity to be known for what it is and who it was written by instead of drawing fame through proxies. This trend of comparing, and often missing the mark, only helps boost initial profits upon release, but if the comparison doesn’t make any sense to the reader, expect the book to take a huge blow, especially when bookworms can be quite vocal out here.
I doubt the trend will ever die as it seems to help plenty of individuals pick up a book faster than they used to, I just wish blurbs were a little less revealing and had a lot less comparisons to big hits.” – Lashaan
I’m very grateful to be a part of the advance readers for different publishers like Penguin Random House, Hachette, Flatiron Books, etc. I actually think Blogging is the main platform where the book trending begins and ends. Of course, it can start on Instagram and Tumblr with beautiful covers and pictures. But people tend to want to read reviews about the trending book and that’s where blogging comes from. I love doing that and being able to help other people decide if a new book is worth their times or not can be very precious.
Since the beginning of our blogging adventures, we’ve realized how much a review by a blogger can have an impact on reader’s who seek an opinion before a purchase.- Lashaan
Some people may not agree with how we are sponsored by publishers, hosting giveaways, or helping the publishers get more followers and likes, but I actually like it. I don’t think there’s something wrong in having the opportunity to giveaway hardcover books and incite people to participate. Let’s face it, books are expensive. I acknowledge the privilege I have to receiving free books and giveaways are a great way to give back.
Often, the giveaways we put up are opportunities to give back to a community that glows of love for books- Lashaan
Sometimes, I receive an extra copy of a book or I go to a book convention that other people didn’t have the chance too, my first thought is : omg let’s host a giveaway! You know, because it’s the same exciting feeling when you’re giving a gift ! But if our followers think it’s not in accordance of their practice, they can unfollow me any day.
Helping publishers reach a bigger audience through ARC reviews and giveaways is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful opportunity that Bookidote has given us. – Lashaan
And last but not least, the sponsored honest reviews. I’m not the type of girl to sugarcoat as you can probably notice in this post. When I receive a free book in exchange for my review, the publishers know the Bookidote’s oath: we will review it with honesty no matter what happens. I am the type of person to always finish a book to really give a more depth to my review, explaining what was wrong and if the ending was actually worth it.
“The key to successful blogging is honesty. Whether you engage with publishers often, rarely or never, what people are looking for is what *you* think. It’s actually bloggers honesty that can save a book from hype- because it’s thanks to so many bloggers that I am made aware of how a book may not live upto expectations. And surprisingly enough, a critical and balanced review can be more helpful than one that is all gush!”
– The Orang-Utan Librarian
“It is spreading this love for books that initially started everything on Bookidote and being able to share our honest opinion on a book will always prevail over anything. When partnering up with publishers, there will come moments where we help in expanding their fanbase, as well as ours, in hopes of reaching out to readers who have yet to meet us or discover a publisher and all the books they release. Hopefully, these opportunities will only rally us together in an optic to make our blogging voices even stronger and bigger than they already are, and in hopes that reading will only become bigger everywhere in the world.” – Lashaan
So I think blogging can be a great tool for book marketing as long as you don’t piss off the bloggers by comparing everything to The Night Circus 😉
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27 thoughts on “Book Blogging – Marketing (ft The OrangUtan Librarian) | Discussion Post”
This is an awesome post!! Firstly, I agree wholeheartedly with books such as Caraval that get compared to a best-selling book. If I had gone into Caraval not already having in my mind that it was supposed to be similar to The Night Circus, I may have actually liked the book more. To me, Caraval was a MASSIVE disappointment and the only reason I am now keeping the book is because it has a pretty cover lol.
I haven’t received any ARC’s yet, I’ve been a bit slow in getting around to this. I think I probably am the only book blogger out there who doesn’t get ARC’s!! But I respect others who get ARC’s and promote/do giveaways. It’s a great way for books and publishing companies to advertise.
And lastly, I LOVE honest reviews. I love reviews that don’t pull any punches. When I write my reviews I try to make them as honest as possible, even if I loved the book, if there is something that didn’t quite sit right with me I will say it. You can love a book and still see its flaws. I also think people know when you are being honest and when you aren’t, and I think honesty always pays. You will get more respect from your followers as well as the publishers as well.
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WOOHOO!!! SO EXCITED TO SEE THIS UP!!! 😀 hahaha that book blurbs logic is *GOLD*!!! You already know I love what you wrote, but I’ll say it again, I love what you wrote and wholeheartedly agree!! And I love Lashaan’s comments as well!!! 😀
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Can I favorite this post X 1,000,000?!?!? 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼 this is why Bokidote is one of my most recent fave blogs, you keep the reviews honest. I’ve said it too many times before myself, can people just stop comparing EVERYTHING to The Night Circus?!?! One of my fave books is now being used as a staple for excellence but the problem is that these books using it in their blurbs & the bookworms pushing it as such…are reaching to put it nicely. In regards to arcs and giveaways, I think it’s genius when it’s not abused. An excellent marketing tool that can help author, publisher, and blogger alike. I’ll be attending Bookcon in a couple of weeks & I fully plan on keeping an eye out for some giveaway copies. There have been a # of blogger buddies who have said they can’t make the trip due to expenses & these giveaways are a way to give back to our followers. Wonderful post! 🙌🏼😃💕
Awesome post guys! I agree with it all. Especially the “if you like Gone Girl…” thing. Ugh!
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I was going to say the same thing! I’m a huge thriller lover and everything is compared to Gone Girl. I have to admit I have fallen for that one. I was looking for the next Gone Girl but so many of these books were disappointments. So now I’ve been a little bit more cautious about what I buy and have started taking out more books from the library.
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Great post and I loved that you guys worked on this together. But back on topic, it drives me crazy when the comparison is completely wrong I feel like I was tricked into reading it. And then I may not be in the mood for that type of book and I don’t always get as much out of it.
A fantasy book blurb comparing it to Lord of the Rings (my favorite fiction) is an almost surefire way to stop me from reading it…been burned by that one too many times.
Great post – I think because I have read so many books that have been compared to something else and ended up nothing like it, I am now very suspicious of seeing that in the marketing. It only manages to put me off the book! Let the book stand for itself – I do also wonder how the respective authors feel about it too 🤔
We totally agree that book publishers (or whoever writes these comparisons) should CALM down with putting in big book hits on other books! It is extremely deceiving and can make the whole book journey a waste as readers would be expecting that book to be great (due to picking it up as it mentioned their fave book ever)! We loved this discussion you guys had and to be honest we wouldn’t have minded if there was a part 2 to this – basically this post could’ve have been longer but would not have stopped us from reading! These publishers (or whoever they are) shouldn’t be afraid of the book they are supporting – sure some may not like the book upon reading it ot may not read it at all because you just didn’t mention *The Night Circus*! But at least the respect should remain for the person who actually went ahead and wrote a book just by THEIR pure imagination and not piggybacking onto other bestseller books! Yeahh… We should stop – this is getting way too long and we fear we won’t stop 😁 Great post by the way 😊
Completely agree – and I had a little rant about the comparison of The Lonely Hearts Hotel to The Night Circus as well! Perhaps it’s a form of laziness, perhaps they are afraid readers won’t be familiar if they compare it to less obvious books… But I do know lots of readers who say ‘I just finished X, I want more of the same’, which seems strange to me, as I usually like to read more of a variety.
Great post! And I agree, honesty attracts readers; bloggers need to be honest in reviews and authors about their books, especially when comparing them to another work.
This is a fantastic post! First of all it’s very cool you collaborated with The OrangUtan Librarian. I really like both blogs.
I have the same opinions as you on this topic😃
Guys- you’re so totally killing it with this post! I could not agree more… I think if I see another fantasy book with a ‘For fans of Game of Thrones’ I’m going to throw a fit… as you said, it’s mighty to be compared and additionally to the fact that sometimes the marketing gets it totally wrong, I don’t understand why an author would want to be constantly compared!?… Love this post! Well done, guys and gals! 😉
This was SUCH a great post, thank you for writing this! 🙂 I have to agree, I’m a bit mad about ALL of the comparisons lately on books – it obviously makes my expectations so big at times and I end up disappointed because one, it’s not as good and two, it has NOTHING to do with the first book mentioned, not even in theme or genre or anything; This is SO annoying.
It’s definitely a privilege to be able to get free copies of books. Since I’m in France I only ever get a couple of digital ARCs and not that often, but it’s so great that you are taking the chance to have actual physical books and to send them back with giveaways. I would definitely do that too if I could 😀
Oh yes, the good ol’ Night Circus comparison.. It makes me so annoyed. First, the publisher knows for sure that these books are nothing like it, but they use the name anyways to get people to buy it. I find it cheap and terrible marketing. Just because a book is being compared to another popular book or series, doesn’t have any impact on whether I’m going to buy it or not. I just really wish publishers would stop doing that and focus on why their book is unique! Great post, Trang!
Ok this is one of my favorite posts ever! I don’t think that is even an exaggeration. I love how you addressed this is such a straightforward manner ❤ I see bloggers rant all the time about how we are not paid and we give honest reviews, but not often does anyone step up and speak directly on the relationship between bloggers and marketing and why it is healthy and important!
As bloggers we aim to give back to the book community. That community encompasses publishers and marketing as well. I feel it is so important not to overlook such a critical aspect in the birth and life of books. I also believe that it is such an important relationship and should be nurtured in a positive way. Bookidote and The Orangutan Librarian both do so very well 🙂
Oh and Caraval was an epic disappointment for myself as well. When I see "If you liked the Night Circus" I turn and run now.. one of the most over used marketing gimmicks 😉
I love this! Great post, thank you. 🙂
Lol! Love the format for this. Seems like yall were having a conversation.
And I agree with the points made, especially about comparing books to The Night Circus. Caraval was a huge let down for me because of that and in that way, comparing debut novels to great hits can negatively affect how a book is received by its audience.
Also, I’m all for honest reviews. I try to be respectful in my reviews but sometimes my emotions do get the better of me.
I totally agree with this post! I enjoyed Caraval but I haven’t read Night Circus yet.
Loved, loved this post guys! As a blogger, I can totally relate to it.
One of the things that really bother me when reading a synopsis is the comparison. It’s rarely, if ever, correct and simply put, misleads readers. Just because you *want* a book to be as good as a famous one, doesn’t mean that it actually is. More often than not, it’s not.
Also, I’m glad you stand by your motto despite being part of the advance readers group. I find that, nowadays, more and more bloggers seem to sacrifice their honest opinions for free books and publicity. And that isn’t helping anyone.
Keep up the wonderful work and keep up being awesome! 😊
I loved the thoughts you brought out with this discussion… (Thanks Books, Vertigo and Tea for pointing me to this post which I had missed!) As a reader I’ve learned to sense through the marketing blurb to get to whether I would enjoy the book or not. Marketers have patterns (and for me a pattern person) that I can instinctively pick up on. Nowadays I rarely read say a 1 star book because I know from the blurb. That’s why as a book blogger I rewrite the blurb for my reviews… to give potential readers a heads up about the real focus of the story.
I totally knew the three of you are honest reviewers as you are very sincere in your reviews. It definitely comes through your writing. I do also like the idea of staying positive. As a book blogger I’m seriously not trying to trash an author’s efforts even if it’s not to my taste nor am I trying to keep readers from reading books they could potentially love. It’s not personal, it’s about the story. So while a book may not have diversity or shows prejudice in a way society wants to eliminate I don’t authomatically assume the author is a racist jerk. It’s our responsibility as book bloggers not to personally attack authors or accuse them in our reviews. I think that’s why many book bloggers become trusted sources of book opinions (like you three!) Such a great post, and not long at all!
YES YES YES!
First, marketing teams should stop comparing books with other best sellers. I even feel it has the opposite effect than what they’re hoping for and I always mention when I was mislead by this kind of method. I was utterly disappointed by a French book sold as “the heir of 1984”. I’m still so mad about this, it had nothing as good as the real deal, and I saw it as a pure lie.
On top of getting my emotions under control, I love sharing my experience with books in reviews so that I can compare, convince, and yes, help indie authors, or publishers, get more coverage for a book, good or bad coverage, that’s my decision, as I’m reaching your third point: honesty. I cannot and will never write and publish anything on Chocolate’n’Waffles that doesn’t perfectly reflect my own experience with a story, no matter where the book comes from. Would I lie to myself about a book? No! Why should I lie on my blog??
So many great points! I wholeheartedly agree with you guys. A book is a sum of its parts and when you’re comparing the whole with another, you expect 90% of the first book to be like the new one. I think that’s where the problem comes in. Take ‘Alice in Wonderland’, you can’t just compare it to any story that has whimsical and odd elements to it and say they’re alike because Wonderland had a specific kind of nonsense that made sense, it had intelligence and relatability behind it’s silly questions/antics. So, yeah, I think it’s risky comparing one work to another. Lol, just wanted to say my piece.