The email from Red Door confirmed they wanted to publish Child Taken.
I’d had a lovely chat with Clare, the founder who launched Red Door in 2014 and with lots of support from Anna and with Heather continually championing the book, we discussed some small (and one not so small) changes and a week or so later, with two character names changed (one clashed with a character in Red Door’s big seller of 2016), Child Taken was going to find a way into the world.
And it was only then that I began to realise just how important a role Red Door would play in this.
First there was advice on the story itself, all of which was good and made perfect sense. In fact, until the cut off for printing, they were still suggesting and implementing little improvements here and there after each proof read.
Eventually, the copy editor the used for Child Taken came on board and suggested other small, but massively significant changes, to the book and after that, the proof reading (I’m not great on detail) removed all (and I mean all) of the errors.
Think that’s easy? I’ve since seen a few published books by UK publishers recently that contain spelling mistakes; even the wrong character name in one instance.
The type setting they did was also amazing. I was worried, with Child Taken being quite a long book, that too many words would be squeezed onto the pages but not at all. It looked incredible from the off.
But the biggest impact, and for me the part of Child Taken’s journey that encapsulates how vital a great publisher is came with the cover design.
I’d always had a view and it’s fair to say it didn’t match that of Red Doors. They wanted it to be a light darker, literally and also in the message it sent, than I thought it should be. ‘It’s not as dark a story as that’ I’d argued and to their credit, they tried to placate me but the first few attempts just didn’t work out and Heather said, very diplomatically, that they needed to go darker. She was 100% right of course, and I needed to remove myself from the process because I was part of the problem, not the solution. They are the experts, they know what they are doing and have done it countless times before.
With a new designer on board, and me happily out of the equation, they came up with something that was beyond all expectations. A cover that has gathered a lot of incredibly positive feedback in the last few months and one that, by being darker, said as much about what was inside the characters heads as what was happening on the pages. It was a cover that, to be fair, I would never have suggested or thought I’d want. Now I can’t imagine Child Taken without it.
Added to this, Red Door have been there every step of the way, making up for my naivety at each turn and continuing to exceed expectations including getting an endorsement from none other than Peter James on the front of the book, preparing lots of great PR and organising a blog tour that has seen reviewers call Child Taken the ‘best thriller they’ve read’ and ‘the best debut they’ve read’.
Which can’t be bad can it?
So although I’ll tell them several times in the next few weeks no doubt, I just wanted to put my thanks to Red Door in writing, and to steal one of Clare’s lines (again; just because I like it so much) in saying that Heather, Clare and Anna, I couldn’t have done this without you.
And I wouldn’t have wanted to.
Next Time… Week Twelve: Buy Child Taken Today…That’s Right. Today!!! (Or What To Do When It’s Published) – Part 1