A MAN from Dewsbury who dropped out of school before his teens has won a six-book publishing deal.
Paul Aitken 30, formerly of Nook Green, left the then Thornhill High School at the age of just 12 due to depression. Now of Northumberland and writing under the name David Jester, his life was blighted by regular bouts of the condition into his mid-20s.
But he took his GCSEs and studied for a degree in English Literature with the Open University.
David always wanted to become a novelist but feared his dream would never amount to anything. He continued writing as a form of catharsis and four years ago self-published debut novel An Idiot in Love topped Amazon’s charts in the UK and US.
Described as Bridget Jones meets American Pie, it was downloaded more than 6,000 times on its first day.
It went on to sell more than 10,000 copies in its first month of release and remained on Amazon’s best-seller list for a year.
David has now agreed a six-book deal with Skyhorse Publishing, the US firm which is home to Nobel Prize winners Samuel Beckett and Octavio Paz.
The first book is an updated version of An Idiot in Love, which hit the shelves recently.
David said of his book deal: “This has been a long time in the making and I can’t wait to see where this leads.
“Skyhorse Publishing have worked with some of the best writers of my generation and it is an honour to be listed alongside them.”
UK publishers rejected An Idiot in Love as “too niche” but found favour with San Francisco-based literary agent Peter Breen.
David admitted: “It’s a very unusual book and doesn’t really fit into any genre, so getting a publisher to pay attention has not been an easy task. Thankfully, Peter loved my book and has been incredibly supportive.”
Mr Breen said: “I was stunned by the lack of interest because his work is so wickedly funny and engaging. To have achieved what he has through self-publishing is a fantastic achievement and his passion for writing is unquestioned.”