Is it really true? Baffling book blurbs

Holly and I were talking about blurbs today, and how some publishers try to sell books on the back of the success of others. We found an example on one of her summer reading challenge books, Molly Moon and the Morphing Mystery.

This was Holly’s reaction:

‘I was reading the blurb of a book when I came across a comment. It said : “Need a break from Harry Potter? Try Molly Moon … fast, funny and original.”  Telegraph

‘I  personally think it was a bit silly because this book Molly Moon is nothing like Harry Potter. I have read all the Harry Potter books and I am now halfway through Molly Moon and it is nothing like them. This proves that you shouldn’t always believe what you read. Publishers and reviewers say this sometimes just to make you read the book. It does not mean you will like it.’

I know what Holly means. Although the reviewer from the Telegraph wasn’t saying that Molly Moon was the new Harry Potter, by mentioning the books in the same breath, it leads you to believe that they are somehow similar.

It must be lovely as an author to have one’s work side by side with a firm favourite but on the other hand it seems a bit of a shame to me (as a potential author too!). You’d think an author would like to be known in their own right rather than as some sort of literary shadow to a predecessor. The number of times I’ve read ‘The next Steig Larsson!’ on a new Scandinavian thriller defies belief. The thing is, while I enjoyed Steig Larsson’s work, when I read a different author I want to read their stories, not an extension of someone else’s. It sort of devalues their own literary achievement if they have to be sold on someone’s reputation.

This article, written last year, says that the race is on to find the next Harry Potter series as there’s a huge gap left by JK Rowling’s absence. The thing is, it’s the publishers and the film companies who are feeling the panic, not the readers they are seeking to attract. Of course, Harry Potter fans were in mourning over the end of the series but they have recovered and moved on. But for those looking for a new franchising opportunity, the quest for the literary equivalent of Harry Potter’s horcruxes is, as ever, neverending.

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