So THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY has been out for a month (two if you’re an Amazon Prime Member) and reader feedback has been coming in. Quite a lot of it actually. On Amazon.com, the book has racked up almost 2,000 reviews so far. This is understandable as TOTGA (as the cool kids aka my editor calls it) is by far my fastest and bestselling book so far. Phew! I may be in publishing for a little while longer.
But a lot more readers mean a lot more opinions. Luckily for me, people more often than not like TOTGA. Thank God for that. I was a little worried about reader feedback because there’d be a lot more people reading out of genre. More exposure is nice…as long as everyone is of the same opinion and a positive opinion at that. Well, it looks as if it is so.
Actually I’m quite pleased about TOTGA’s reception. People, by and large, got it. They embraced Zoë Sutton warts and all. I wasn’t sure readers would, considering she is someone suffering from PTSD, which makes her a little difficult to like or understand at times.
But with every book, I get feedback that I wasn’t quite expecting. So here are a few findings:
- Quite a few people want or think TOTGA is the first in a new series. I didn’t have any plans to make Zoë Sutton a series character but now you’ve got me thinking. At this point I don’t know how I would take Zoë forward and maintain the same level of danger.
- I’m surprised and amused by how many women have said they’re going to take fight classes after seeing what happened to Zoë. So be warned predatory men, the ladies are no pushover.
- I’m touched by the therapists and victims of violence/stalkers thought I got Zoë right. This was a tough book to write because I tried to interview a number of victim support groups and all of them declined to speak to me so I’m glad people feel I got it right.
- Some people have thought the violence is quite graphic and to be honest, most of the violence is off the page. It’s like Psycho, you see the knife but you don’t see anyone get stabbed. It’s your mind embellishes the rest.
- And speaking of embellishments, I’ve had a few emails describe scenes/events that never took place. It happens with every book. People always bring something to the story.
- People think the book is short but it’s longer than my last three and quite a bit longer than the average James Patterson. It’s a product of my writing style that it’s focused and pacey so it tends to feel brief.
When a book meets the public, it’s exciting and daunting because it’s an interpretive voyage of discovery…and the discovery will continue as the book continues to travel.
I have already left reviews on Goodreads and Amazon so I am not going to repeat that on here but would like to ‘have my say’ on the comments above.
I read TOTGO as a Kindle First Reads subscription choice and I loved it. I didnt think it was part of a series because I didnt really see where there was for Zoe to ‘go’ the stores are full of books about abused victims turning PI/Detective and one of the things I love about Simons books is that they are pretty much unique stand alone stories. Length: well no author is ever going to get that right but I didnt get the impression that the book had been ‘infilled’ to meet a publishers word count criteria it was gripping start to finish but no shorter than many books on the market. I am told by an author that there is a phenomenom that affects readers that are enjoying reading a book that they dont want to end that they convince themselves it wasnt long enough (maybe the same phenomenom that adds in events that didnt happen) Keep up the good work Simon you are getting it right trust me.
I have just read on social networking that you had a dream for a follow on – cant wait to read it 🙂
Thanks Jill. I really appreciate your thoughts…