Saturday, 14 June 2008

Hype is a double-edged sword...

A comment I made not so long ago appears to have ruffled the feathers of Simon Spanton, editor at Gollancz. The comment in question is one I posted on Pat's Fantasy Hotlist in response to Pat's review of Richard Morgan's The Steel Remains. 

In his review, Pat mentioned the hype that surrounded the novel, and said that it perhaps influenced how much he enjoyed the book. I posted a comment in which I said: 

"You can blame the Gollancz hype machine for the anticipation surrounding this book. They do seem to hype everything, and they went into overdrive for this one."

Since then, a dialogue has developed between Spanton and Pat regarding the nature of hype, on the hotlist. Spanton argues that the hype is no fault of Gollancz, and that sending out ARCs is not the same as hyping a novel. To believe otherwise, he says, encourages "the sort of misguided comment on your blog about genre publishers operating some sort of sinister ‘hype machine’".

Let's straighten things out here. 

With my own comment I was not suggesting that there is some sort of shady operation going on. I was simply referring to the fact that Gollancz releases seem to generate far more hype than those from other publishers. Lynch, Abercrombie, Redick, Morgan...the list goes on. While to some extent the hype is generated by the quality of the book, to think that the publisher has no part in it would be rather naive. For example, the Redick novel was accompanied by much fanfare and I just can't believe said hype was generated by the book alone, as it was a mediocre novel.

Spanton seems to be implying that Gollancz don't have a hand in the hype surrounding many of their releases, yet he sent Graeme from Fantasy Book Review a note with the ARC for The Steel Remains that said 'This will ruffle some feathers.'

To me, that sounds like hype. 

Anyway, the dialogue (and subsequent quotes, which are quite heated in parts) are well worth checking out. 

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