Friday, April 1, 2011

In Which I Rant About Press Releases...

Ah, the press release.

For reviewers, I'm sure you're all familiar with those fun little letters from the publisher that come with the review books, right? It's usually from the publicity department and they can include any or all of the following: a longer synopsis, praise for the book, author interviews, etc etc. Sometimes, they give me tiny little spoilers about the book that I didn't know before receiving them - and that just makes me want to read the book even more. Most of the time, I always learn something new about the book or the author... sometimes both. To be honest, I enjoy these letters.

Until yesterday.

What changed my mind? A particular little press release to a book that I was really looking forward to reading. I read it, and it compared this book to one of my favorite book series. I thought, "Great! That means I'm probably going to really like this book!" I was thrilled ... until I actually started reading the book.

I had to stop reading this book several times because the similarities to the book it was compared to was too much. The main girl acted like the one in the other book. The main guy could have been the clone to the main boy in this other book... even to the point that he was saying things almost identical to what the other guy said. I quoted these lines out to my husband and even he said it sounded like the other book. To put the icing on the cake, this book's characters made a reference to the characters in the other book.

I was flabbergasted, to say the least. The funny thing is that I liked this new book that I read. It was really good. However, it took me about double my usual time to read it because I had to stop several times to get over the comparisons and references. I wanted to enjoy it. And I did. But I don't think I enjoyed it as much as I would have if I wouldn't have had the thought of the other book so profoundly in my head.

So, that got me thinking... why would someone compare their client's book to a book that it is so eerily similar to, even referencing to? Would that not call for extra scrutiny and lower ratings?

Because I'm telling you guys right now... I'm having to actually hold off on my review of this book because I want to review it fairly - and I don't want to compare it to this other book at all. I think if I wouldn't have read the press release with this comparison, I wouldn't have noticed the similarities to the other book so much. Its influence wouldn't be so strong to me. But it was mentioned and now it's there, stuck front and center in my head.

Has anyone else ever experienced this? If so, how did you handle it?


Savannah said...

I say just go with the gut and tell the review as honest as you can. For me I do find books are really similar to other books. But I do my best to see the book for what it is without comparing.

Sniffly Kitty said...

I don't ever read the press releases. I keep them for the contact information so that I remember who to send my review to.

Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

It sounds to me like a case of plagiarism. I wouldn't want someone copying any of my characters so closely that they could be related. They're mine.

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Website Hit Counter
[Visitors since 4/9/2011]

Blog Design by Missy using images from the Bedtime Stories kit by Kotozebra Designs