Child Taken is launched in a few day’s time. Less than a week, in fact.

I say it like that because, putting it down in words, I can actually begin to believe it’s real.

What’s more, the reviews in the Blog Tour have been amazing and the launch event at Waterstones with the party later at 200 Degrees seem to be coming along without a hitch. I’m on the radio more times than a Toolstation advert. In a journey that has more than it’s fair share of rejection and bad news, the light at the end of a very long tunnel is finally shining that bit brighter.

So it feels like the right time to dedicate this post to the people who made Child Taken happen. I’ve mentioned them once or twice before in this series but not properly. Yet, I’ve always said that in this whole process, I wrote a Word document and Red Door Publishing made it into a book.

That’s become a line I’ve trotted out a few times, not only because I like it, but because it’s absolutely true. But what can be lost in the line is just how much they actually did.

But to do that justice, I need to go back to the beginning. Seasoned authors will know this, and it will still be a little raw for those, like me, with a debut novel out or on the way. For those that aren’t at that stage yet, this bit can’t be underestimated.

When I set out, or at least when I had a first draft of Child Taken, the holy grail was to find a publisher for it. But I quickly learned that it wasn’t going to be easy. I did a huge amount of research and during it (and I still have the page in a note book to prove it!) I came across the name of Red Door. I wrote the name down, underlined it and later added a number one to indicate they were my first choice.

Why? Well, people were saying lovely things about them for a start. They also had some very successful books on bookshelves and most of all, they had a model that really challenged the traditional publishing one. But for me, the key thing was a trait they shared with other, more traditional, publishers in that they were very selective; only choosing a small number of titles from the thousands that were sent to them every year.

So I sent off the first three chapters of my manuscript, a covering email and synopsis, as I had to several agents with marginal success. By the time Heather at Red Door came back to me, I was almost immune to the whole process. But in her lovely reply there was something a bit different, a genuine sense of both appreciation for Child Taken and empathy for what it was like for me as the writer. But although Heather wanted to see the whole story, so had many other people, so I didn’t get excited.

What followed, and what I suppose is the hardest part for any first timer, is the wait. It was weeks that maybe ended up as a couple of months and although some people even tried to tell me to move on, I remember that I wasn’t ready to. I just hung on for Heather’s reply.

At times, my impatience got the better of me and I chased. ‘Just give me a couple more weeks’ Heather asked and I did, fingers crossed so much that by the time she did come back, they were almost bent out of shape.

But throughout, I always had a feeling that Heather was fighting my corner and truly believed in the book, and if I’m honest, if she’d asked me to wait another six months, I probably would have.

Then the email I’d been waiting for arrived.


Next Time: The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (or What A Publisher Does) – Part 2


Darren Young’s debut novel, Child Taken, is available to order at Amazon. It is released by Red Door Publishing on 18 May 2017

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