There are times, lots of them I think, when a publisher decides to totally get behind a book in order to make it a bestseller. That happened with a novel, a thriller, published by NAL last February entitled THE WIDOW. Everyone at the publishing house was asked to read the book and start a real buzz about it (when I asked an editor colleague there for a suggestion on what to take with me on my February vacation, she readily recommended this book).
The publisher compared the novel to GONE GIRL and GIRL ON THE TRAIN and everything possible was done in promotion and advertising to put THE WIDOW on the bestsellers list. And it worked. The book made The New York Times list and remained on it for several weeks.
I read THE WIDOW—though several weeks after my vacation—and I was thoroughly disappointed. It simply did not live up to the hype it had been given. I did a survey of those in our company who had also read it and everyone agreed with me. The book simply didn’t deliver what had been promised—a page turning psychological thriller. (I even asked my colleague who had recommended the book in the first place what she thought and it turned out that she too was disappointed.)
In May of this year, Berkley, the sister company of NAL published another psychological thriller titled I LET YOU GO. But this one didn’t get the same kind of support in house. For some reason—though it too was compared to GONE GIRL and GIRL ON THE TRAIN—the powers that be decided not promote it in the same way as they had done for THE WIDOW.
I finished I LET YOU GO last week and it is one of the best books I have read in a very long time. It delivers on all fronts—solid writing, great story telling and characters the reader really roots for. Again I surveyed my company colleagues who had read the book to see what they thought. Everyone agreed that this book really delivered.
So my question is why was the decision made to support one of these books and not the other? Why, in the end, did one become a bestseller and the other not? For those of you who have read both—or who have an opinion on how these decisions are made—I would love to hear your thoughts.