Well, here we are. I cycled and Tubed all over London this evening trying to get an early copy of Stylist, only to find that my housemate had one. Here is the (extremely nice) review from their Book Wars section at the back of the magazine. I’ll start with their verdict – but read on for the full review.
(You can also read the review of Perpetual Astonishment on Stylist’s website.)
Exuberant is the word that comes to mind when describing this book. It’s one of those reads you can take an age to get through – simply because you find yourself re-reading joyous passages of comedy and revelling in the carefully constructed characters. One scene involving a murderer, a gym manager and a copy of The Cat In The Hat left one of our reviewers giggling helplessly. It’s a rare book that does this. Utterly recommended.
(And here’s the rest of the review…)
Thanks to Fifty Shades of Grey, independent publishing is in the spotlight, so we’re putting two new self-published titles to the test
Stylist.co.uk’s online writer Anna Brech backs The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax by Christopher Shevlin
Not many books make me laugh out loud, but The Perpetual Astonishment of Jonathon Fairfax is one of them. Like Comfortably Awkward, it stars a hapless and bumbling lead – Jonathon – who is struggling to come to terms with life in the urban fast lane. But while I found Albert Ferenzo’s never-ending neuroses over corporate life in New York grating, Jonathon’s foot-in-mouth persona is wonderfully endearing and acts as a perfect launch pad for the rest of the story. Continue reading
Twenty-four people have now bought the Kindle version and 15 have bought the paperback. Then there have been 212 downloads of the Kindle version on the two days when I’ve offered it free. Altogether, 258 copies are at large. At least two good bloggers have picked it up and say they plan to review it. It was mentioned on Quirky Girls Read’s first paragraph Tuesday. And there are some exciting things happening behind the scenes, which I don’t want to mention in case they fall through. Oh, and the other good review on Amazon has unaccountably reappeared.
The good news is that the staff in Pret a Manger have finally learned to understand what I mean when I say ‘Bakewell’. They’ve been selling Bakewell tarts for over a year now, but – until today – whenever I asked for one the person serving me (in my Pret, they’re almost exclusively girls from South America) would always just smile or giggle in a confused and polite way, as though I were making a joke that she didn’t understand, and then not give me a Bakewell tart. I got used to just pointing at what I wanted and maybe doing a small mime. But then today I was too far away to point, so I had to ask for it by name. I got it on only the second asking. Perhaps it was because it was a man serving me. I don’t know. Whatever the reason, this is good news.
The bad news is that yesterday’s good review of my book has unaccountably disappeared from Amazon. At least I have been able to console myself with a legitimately ordered Bakewell tart.
On the 19th of May, I launched the Kindle edition of Perpetual Astonishment with an apologetic message on Facebook. On the 1st of June, I celebrated the paperback launch with an embarrassed line on Facebook. Since then, I have sold seven paperback copies and sixteen Kindle copies. I’ve also had two of my five Kindle giveaway days, which have led to 212 downloads. Oh, and I’ve given away about seven paperback copies, for diverse reasons.
This is far from being a runaway success, but – more importantly – it’s also quite far from no one reading it. And of the people who are reading it or have read it, I would say that about ten have unequivocally convinced me that they like it. This is ten more than I feared.
All in all: a mixed bag, but one containing some plums and no rotten apples.
And I have the approval of a stranger, which is strangely important and moving.
I’ve been made ridiculously happy this afternoon by someone I don’t know giving Perpetual Astonishment a five-star review on Amazon. It has increased my determination to rate every book I like from now on: I had never realised the huge pleasure it gives. It is at least as nice as getting that Lego spaceship when I was six, or taking ecstasy that time when I was twenty.
Next time you see me, I’ll have given English Weather by Neil Ferguson a five-star review, because that’s what I’m reading at the moment.
This is it here:
I’ve been thinking about doing some more illustrations for the day dividers inside the book. This is the first…
I’ve just signed up with PayPal so that I can sell the book from my website. This means that I can send signed copies and what-not. (You also get a free bookmark with every copy – imagine.) Just click ‘Buy the book‘ at the top of the page.
My book has been reviewed by Sarah Castell (an improviser with Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, among much else) on Amazon and on her lovely blog, here: http://sarahcastell.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/review-of-a-funny-book-which-reminds-us-all-why-we-should-all-be-more-astonished/
It’s pretty much exactly how I hoped people would respond to the book:
This book is, in a way, a manifesto for us all to recapture our childlike state of astonishment with the world. Which is good. It comes from a happy place and made me laugh. I liked it.
This is a relief, since I haven’t shown the book to anyone in ages, and the good feeling I got when people liked it then (and particularly when it got me an agent) has largely worn off, especially since it was rejected by publishers. Their categorising it as “black comedy” always seemed a bit odd to me. I know that someone’s murdered in the first chapter, but I’ve always seen it as being quite a sunny, innocent book.
I’m very glad that’s how it seemed to Sarah too.