Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Hype and Hyperbole
Man, there's so much to talk about but most of it is still under wraps and I'm waiting along with you guys. So I thought I'd come in and talk a little about hyperbole.

According to, the definition of hyperbole is "extravagant statement or figure of speech not meant to be taken literally".  When I was growing up hyperbole was usually indicated with a plethora of exclamation points (!!!!!) to show that what was being said wasn't meant to be serious. Stan Lee back in the old days was a master of hyperbole.

In the last twenty years or so, the word hype has come into being, primarily as a shortened form of hyperbole. The meanings are pretty close to one another, though they have separate entries on the site. Check out what they say: "exaggerated publicity, hoopla; a swindle, deception or trick".

So when one is publicizing their wares (books, music, videos, film, art, etc...) the world now demands not just marketing  but rather hype. You can't just tout the high points of your work or the things you're offering for sale, you have to make it the MOST ATTRACTIVE THING IN THE WORLD OR NO ONE WILL BUY IT. If you or your work doesn't STAND OUT no one will notice you.

Why? Short attention spans. Because of short attention spans, the product can't just speak for itself or depend on word of mouth any more. The internet has opened up opportunities for every single person in the world to sell you something you need but didn't know was available. In some cases this is good, in others very bad. (You can come up with your own examples, I'm sure.) So to STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD you have to make every choice available to you and use hype over hyperbole.

The backlash at risk is that overhyping, or using too much hyperbole, will cause people to ignore you because all you're doing is trying to sell them something they don't necessarily want. I know the world isn't perfect, that things don't work the way they used to but come on --- shouldn't they?

I mean, you don't want me to just come out and say that you should buy my book, right? You want to know what it's about, where you can get it and how much it costs. That's all you need. I could ask you to tell your friends or purchase a gift copy for someone, but that's shilling rather than hype, hyperbole, or marketing and that's just between us.

What I'm getting at here is that I want the people who read my work to read it because they want to. If it was suggested by a friend or a review or something, that's great. I don't want to actively sell you my work. I don't want to say "Buy my stuff or I start in on the kittens" or anything like that, either. I found books in the days of bricks and mortar stores by browsing covers on the shelves. I want to put out work with an attractive design that draws you in enough to read the descriptions and then you can decide if you want it.

That's how things SHOULD work. I don't want to shout at you, you're busy and you've got things to do and limited disposable resources. I respect that. I respect your choice to hang out here with me and to buy my stuff when you can. All I'll do is tell you that stuff is available and that you can get your mitts on it. Is that enough?

1 comment:

11:17 Promotions said...

I can guarantee you it's not enough. I see a lot of authors actively trying to build a reputation and a fan base, but they're forgetting the key to marketing: telling people what you want them to do.

Your website is like your personal bookstore, catering to one author -- you! Don't look at it like you're asking people to buy your book. People have come to your site. Do them the service of making it easy to get what they want. Put your book on your home page. Let them see it in your navigation bar. Make it easy. Your readers will thank you for it.