The same thing happened last year. Another book was in the news for all the wrong reasons- the huge advance the writer was awarded. I read quite a few of the reviews; for many the book was not worth the huge advance.
These big advance hypes create a huge buzz around the books. There is an overwhelming curiousity factor. More often than not, people buy the books, but do not like the stories. By themselves the books may be wonderful, but, when compared to the vast amount of money, the stories definitely pale in comparision. The big advance I feel increases people's expectations. However wonderful the book, it eventually falls short of people's expectations.
I read both the books. They were good. But, most people kept the advance in mind while reading the book. It was like they were weighing each word against a currency note. The words then looked small next to the money they had earned before even a single copy was sold. One book has become a benchmark for other Indian books. The second book has just died a hasty death.
One thing I realized was that all the hype about 6-7 figure deals create a major buzz around the book. The book gets a golden aura.Whether it lives upto to that aura or not, plenty of copies are sold. Sometimes I wonder whether people in the publishing business deliberately create the hype, otherwise how else will they publicize the book.
Is a big advance a measure of a writer’s craft? Shouldn’t a book be judged by its literary merit, by the story, words, character, plot and world building? By the connection the story has made with the readers. I have loved several books that did not make much money. Do you equate a huge advance with a great book? Have you ever felt that a book was not worth the advance it got? Do you feel over hyping a book can kill it? I would love to hear everyone’s views.