I feel a change in the air…the publishing air that is…and it involves the ever-present marketing blurbs for books. Those hook-the-reader tantalizers that have, since the publication and sky rocketing popularity of Gone Girl in 2012, inundated us with buzzwords like “twisty,” “unreliable narrator,” and psychological (fill in the blank). It would seem that readers and publishers alike couldn’t get enough of the “girl” who…lost her memory, had her child kidnapped, killed her husband, drank too much, lied about her identity…and on and on. We get it, she’s unreliable and can’t be trusted. But is she on her way out?
This premise has been so popular that an entire publishing subgenre exists based on it. But…there seems to be a subtle shift happening among readers (well, at least me and maybe a couple others), one involving reverse psychology if you will. I, for one, have learned the hard way to run (metaphorically speaking) the other way when I see any of the above mentioned buzzwords in a book’s blurb. Let me give you an example. A book is compared to Gone Girl which yes I really enjoyed and/or said book is touted as having “twists I won’t see coming,” and that’s it, I was hooked. I must read this book and be dazzled off my feet by the very best plot surprises I never saw coming.
Then, I read it and find out that there are no twists or that I could see them coming from a mile away.
Disappointment ensues. I’ve went round and round this “twisty” curve one too many times that now I’m at the point that if I see those words in a book’s marketing I decide NOT to read it. I know, this may seem harsh, what about all the potentially amazing books I’m missing out on? I’ll take my chances. I don’t think I’m alone, however, because I’m hearing whispers among my reading friends and fellow book bloggers who’re taking the same stance.
But wait, there’s a publishing light at the end of this twisty tunnel I believe and it involves letting a book stand on its own…no Gone Girl comparisons, no use of the word “twisty” or “unreliable narrator”. Sound too simple? It’s not. It’s pure genius in my opinion and it’s working its magic. I recently read and loved Laura Lippman’s new book Sunburn and Sally Hepworth’s The Family Next Door that made no mention of those trendy buzzwords in either book’s marketing but absolutely turned out to be full of unexpected surprises and narrators who were rather untrustworthy. Yes, I think the tide’s a turnin.
What do you think? Am I the only one with these thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts about whether these publishing buzzwords still pull you in or drive you away?!