Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Emerald City

by Julie Coulter Bellon

A few weeks back I was in a venue where a young man was having his sixteenth birthday party. I knew right away it wasn’t a normal sixteenth birthday party because of the three huge men at the door who had muscles bigger than Rob’s head, with SECURITY across their chests that were patting everyone down. The TV camera crew also gave it away and the fact that half of the building had been rented out to them for this party. There was an employee who was more than willing to dish with us about who it was and what was going on. Apparently, this young man’s father is a famous music producer, allegedly to some music superstars including Michael Jackson, and this family has several houses across the country, including a Utah vacation home, hence the party being held here. There was an air of excitement around it as more and more people came, and the whispers were that the birthday boy would be making his arrival at any minute. The employee couldn’t wait to see him and what he was like since there was all this hype being set up just for him.

I think this is somewhat similar to some authors and their books. Some books have the connections, the word of mouth and the money behind them and they get so much hype before they are released. For example, I read that the next book in the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer is going to be released on Aug. 2nd. The news seemed to spread like wildfire around the internet and I bet the book sells out quickly since it is so highly anticipated. It makes me wonder, though, does the author feel that pressure since expectations are so huge for that book? Will it live up to the hype?

Back at the party, when the birthday boy arrived, there was such a crush of people around him, I didn’t get to see him, but the employee came back and said in a somewhat disappointed voice, "He looks smaller than I thought and like a regular kid."

Have you ever had that happen to you with a book? You wait and wait for it, anticipate reading it and it just doesn’t live up to your expectations? It feels like you’ve made the long and arduous trip through Emerald City only to find that behind the curtain lurks something small and unremarkable? I've had that happen a few times and it's disappointing every time.

So my question to you today is, how do you wade through the hype of a book to see if it’s the real deal? Do you depend on other people’s opinions, do you read reviews, or do you just read the book yourself no matter what?


At 2/21/2008 5:07 PM, Blogger Worldbuilder Robin said...

So where does one find these review things of which you speak?

I base most of what I personally read on the description inside the cover (since the back seems to now be dedicated to blurbs). Don't know much about hype on any book, at least not since Harry Potter. I suppose this means I live in literary cave when it comes to this stuff (like I didn't know there was a fourth Stephenie Meyer book announced, much less a shipping date).

At 2/21/2008 5:57 PM, Blogger J Scott Savage said...

More and more, authors are sending out ARCs for early review. That allows you to see reviews on sites like, or blogs, or Kirkus/Publishers Weekly.

If you search for enough reviews, you can usually sort through the fluff of people who LOVE it, and people who HATE it, and see what it is really like.


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