How many of you have issues with one or more of the following marketing strategies:
A.) X meets X in this thrilling novel!
B.) Fans of X book/author will enjoy this novel!
C.) Fans of X genre will love this!
D.) -- tells this story with the grace of X author etc. etc.
E.) insert other comparison
And how many of how have been annoyed by these comparisons?
Pros of Comparisons:
1. Publisher gets fans of X series/author to be excited about the book
It's no secret that when you compare a book to the Hunger Games, the book is supposed to be an epic dystopian novel. A lot of people look for those kind of comparisons, look for a novel that will replicate the awesome feeling they got from their favorite book, and publishers of course would like to exploit that.
2. Conveys the theme about the book
I believe Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne was marketed as Girl, Interrupted meets Beautiful Creatures. I like how that tells you a few things to expect: gothic elements, paranormal, instant connection.
Cons of Comparisons (given how many I list, you might be able to tell where I stand on the issue ;)):
1. Inevitably setting yourself up for disappointment
I recently read Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood. If you didn't already know, that book was marketed as A Great and Terrible Beauty meets Cassandra Clare, and those are some pretty hefty comparisons to make. I like both Libba Bray and Cassandra Clare's writing styles, I even like Jessica Spotswood's writing, but they don't compare to one another. The only similarity I could find between Born Wicked and A Great and Terrible Beauty was the repressive society / time period feel. Reading Born Wicked, however, I couldn't help but feel disappointed. It wasn't the book's fault. It was that I had had such great expectations of it after that comparison that I felt like no matter what I ended up reading, it wasn't going to be as great as I had pictured. It was a good book, and good on its own, and I think that without that comparison, I would've enjoyed the novel more.
2. Why can't the book hold its own weight?
Why do you a need a comparison to other books anyways? Can't you convey theme and plot and who would like the book without looking to other books? You also have author blurbs--they're supposed to tell you the fans of whom the publishers think will like the book. Besides, the books that make it to the top always seem to hold their own weight; they're the ones that didn't have the comparisons like "Fans of The Hunger Games will love this" (in my opinion at least).
3. Reaching upwards for a fan base
This goes along with what I've already said, but in making comparisons, publishers are always reaching higher and higher, aspiring to reach the level of excitement that another hyped book got. And that takes away attention from the book itself and gives it to another "classic." It has gotten to the point where I don't trust comparisons to The Hunger Games anymore.
What do you guys think? Are you a fan of comparisons? Do they make you more or less likely to buy/read a book?