Thursday, 12 July 2012

Do You Define Your Book By What It Isn't?

How many times have you picked up a book that features a tagline such as... "For the child who keeps asking for the next Hunger Games!" or "Perfect for readers who enjoyed Harry Potter!" Or even something more vague, such as, "Science Fiction as it hasn't been written since Ender's Game!"

When you see these on covers, what do you think?
The first book that inspired me to write, a lovely MG story called Song Quest by Katherine Roberts, had a line on the front cover comparing it to Harry Potter.

Needless to say, it's nothing like Harry Potter - this takes place on an entirely different world, where magic is known by everyone and swords and shields are more commonly used than wands or guns. Not that the book CLAIMS to be Harry Potter - I did want to read the next HP, and I did indeed love this book - but the comparison ended up being more confusing than helpful.

(By the way, if you have a 9-13 year old who loves fantasy, buy this book!!!)

So what do you think? Undoubtedly it's a useful marketing tool, but have you ever been annoyed by comparisons on the cover (or the website, or the bookstore)?

As for me, I can understand why Song Quest would appeal to children who love Harry Potter. I also think it's a strong enough book to stand on its own. Maybe a comparison on the back cover would have been a good compromise!



Christina Lee said...

I get it, but yes, annoying. There was one I saw on a classic cover (was it Wuthering Heights or..., darn can't remember) that said "What Bella reads in Twilight!" Made me kind of bummed, but maybe it made teens pick it up and read it.

L E Waters said...

I'm adding Song Quest to my wish list. It sounds like a fantastic book to read to my son. I personally hate it when I book uses another book or movie to draw an audience. It can be so disappointing.

Oh, and I've bestowed a couple of awards on you over at my blog :)

Missed Periods said...

It's all about marketing, but I do understand your frustration. I like it even less when they compare people to other people, like an upcoming actress being the next Angelina Jolie.

Charmaine Clancy said...

I've never seen the point in comparing yourself to other writing, if someone wanted the next Stephen King, then they could just get the next Stephen King novel. But publishers seem to like it and so do search engines.
I've never defined my book by what it is or isn't, but some of my readers do. I especially liked when someone said the book was zombies, but not 'zombie' zombies, nice zombies. ???

And this can backfire, because to be honest I didn't like the HP books. I might check out Song Quest (despite the horrid floating head on the cover).