Along with my publisher, Jill Marshall from Pear Jam books, I will be at Armageddon signing copies of Rapture. Very excited!
Armageddon: 28th - 31st October, 2011
click here for more information on Armageddon
Available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Congratulations to my fellow Pear Jam authors whose ebooks are now available for sale today.
Read Rapture while you still can!
TWILIGHT AGENT INTERESTED IN AUCKLAND AUTHOR
Auckland author Phillip W Simpson had done what many aspiring authors dream of – he had secured interest from the agent of Stephanie Myers, author of the Twilight series, for his new book. But instead of pursuing potential multi-million dollar contracts with American agents Simpson has chosen to take a non-traditional publisher for his first book for the trade market, marking what could herald a new era and the death of traditional book publishing.
Simpson’s book for young adults entitled ‘Rapture’ is the first book published by new Auckland based publishing company Pear Jam Books. The business aims to take on traditional publishers putting the power firmly back in the hands of the writers. Pear Jam Books will capitalise on the opportunities presented by new media and the online world to offer its stable of authors the opportunity to have more control over their work and the profits.
Although Stephanie Myers’ agent decided to pass on Simpson’s book in the end, he says that he had plenty of interest from other American agents but that he was attracted by the new approach of Pear Jam Books. Simpson, already a well-published author in New Zealand with MacMillan Publishing, Puffin Books, Pearson and Cengage, says publishing with Pear Jam Books has given him control over his work and the publishing process. As Pear Jam books is essentially acting as agent and publisher the process cuts out the middle man. He says eliminating many of the traditional marketing and distribution costs means he can deal with his readership direct.
“I’m a huge reader and book buyer. But I never go into a bookstore; I buy all my books online. I believe that now readers are the new editors. It is up to them whether a book is successful or not. With the online world it has never been easier to reach readers. Writing has now become more about the audience and their feedback can be immediate. It’s the future.”
‘Rapture’ is being officially released on October 1 before the end of the world on October 21 as predicted by American civil engineer turned self-taught biblical scholar Harold Camping. On that day, arrived at through a series of Bible-based calculations that assume the world will end exactly 7,000 years after Noah’s flood, believers are to be transported up to heaven as a worldwide earthquake strikes. Non-believers however will endure plagues, quakes, wars, famine and general torment.
In Simpson’s book ‘Rapture’ the biblical event has just occurred leaving the remnants of humanity to fight for survival as demons stalk the earth. Eighteen year old Sam finds himself alone in the town of Jacob's Ladder, Utah. Why? Because he is half-demon. The Rapture leads Sam on a quest across the United States to the City of Angels where he confronts his destiny and fights for the souls of the living.
‘Rapture’ will be published in four formats: e-book, audio book, as an application or game and a print book to cater to more traditional readership. Products will largely be sold online through retailers such as Amazon as well as selected physical book stores. ‘Rapture’ will be publicised through an online campaign including a virtual blog tour. Pear Jam Books has already signed Simpson up for two sequels, due for release in 2012 and 2013.
Author takes on traditional publishing with Pear Jam Books By Esther Goh, @ 11:50 am
Auckland-based author-turned-publisher Jill Marshall is taking on traditional publishing houses with a new model she says will put stories straight into the hands of consumers.
Marshall launched Pear Jam Books in March following the Christchurch earthquake, which cuts out agents and works directly with authors, and embraces new media by publishing books in four formats: e-book, audio book, as an application or game and a traditional print book.
Products will largely be sold online through retailers such as Amazon and she is also setting up a presence in selected bookstores.
The model operates on a per-title profit share basis, which Marshall says gives writers greater control and visibility over their work and earnings. Royalties range from 20 percent for print books to 30 percent for audio and e-books.
Game and app versions will be developed by US-basedeBooks2Go, but Marshall is eager to bring New Zealand gaming companies on board.
Pear Jam Books was born from Marshall’s own frustrations as an author in dealing with publishers – she was prompted to start the venture when she and Christchurch writer Emma Pullar wanted to publish a children’s book to raise funds for victims of the earthquake but couldn’t find a publisher willing to back them.
Their book, Curly from Shirley, the Christchurch dog, has sold 1500 copies and was delivered to market in less than a month, which Marshall says is indicative of the fast-paced nature of Pear Jam Books.
In May, she handpicked her first stable of 11 authors from students at her company Write Good Stuff, which offers online writing courses and manuscript assessments.
Pear Jam Books will publish 13 books this year.
She said in her experience, authors have less and less say in what happens with their own work over time.
"That seems to be counter intuitive when you've actually created the thing in the first place."
Publishing has traditionally been a long and laborious process, she said.
"In traditional publishing there have been too many gatekeepers along the way creating obstacles even for established authors. Pear Jam Books will essentially eliminate the need for gatekeepers, supplying stories directly into the hands of consumers."
She said Pear Jam Books was the only publishing house focusing on globalising New Zealand literature in various formats, while cutting out the middleman.
Originally from the UK, Marshall is best known for her Jane Blonde children’s book series and has sold more than half a million books.
I make no bones about it - I’m a geek and proud of it. Always have been although at times I’ve taken measures to avoid the nomenclature. These days, I embrace it, because let’s face it, the geek - if they haven’t already - will inherit the earth. Think of Apple’s Steve Jobs, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and of course, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Do you need any other proof? Geek is the new black.
I’m not in the same league (obviously) as these chaps, but I’m a geek nonetheless. Especially when it comes to fantasy. When it comes to this area, I consider myself fairly well informed due to a lifetime of geekery, reading and watching the genre. Imagine my surprise and dismay when I get - for lack of a better word - outgeeked. Jaime Reed, author of the Cambion chronicles, (I didn’t know this at the time) posed a question on Twitter: “What is a cambion?” Here’s me thinking there’s a poor person out there who knows less than I and I can fill them in with my repertoire of useless information. Quick as a flash, I post “Half human, half demon. Product of a demon prince and a human female.” Jaime, who clearly knows more than I, puts me in my place.
It turns out my understanding of the nature of a cambion is not comprehensive. In my book, Rapture, I consider Sam to be a cambion because he has a demon for a father and a human mother. I did a lot of research prior to writing the book but didn’t use the term cambion believing that no-one would know what I was harping on about. Turns out I should have. Jaime certainly had no qualms using it. Unbeknownst to me (I did some more research), a cambion can also be a product of a succubus and a human male. Jaime has obviously done her research as well. You learn something every day. I daresay that in a contest of demon knowledge, I think I might get a beating.
I’m currently in the planning stages of second book in the Rapture Trilogy, Tribulation, scheduled for release in late 2012. This avenue of research has opened up a whole series of possibilities for me. I always pictured cambions to be male, but what if… . What about if a man was seduced by a succubus? Their offspring would be a cambion as well. Interesting. Need to have a bit of a rethink. Maybe there is room for another character…
Ok, I confess, this is a contentious issue. Even I’m not 100% convinced because I can think of exceptions to my own rule. For example, the sentry guns in Aliens. In fact, most of the guns in Aliens (especially the Smartguns). Jesse Ventura’s character Blain in the movie Predator carried a M134 minigun; ‘old painless.’ Awesome weapon. The Predator’s shoulder mounted laser cannon is pretty cool too. Hey, who am I kidding? There’s lots of guns in movies that appear cool.
But, despite these fine examples, I still, deep down, think swords are cooler than guns. Why, I hear you ask? Simple, dear reader. It’s because swords are an elegant weapon that take skill and a great deal of dexterity to wield effectively. Anyone can turn a gun into a deadly weapon – simply pull the trigger. But a sword – no, not really. It requires a great deal of training to become an effective practitioner. True, the same can apply to the use of guns (think of snipers for instance) but do you need to be incredibly fit, strong and agile to be a sniper?
Take the samurai for instance. Most of them trained from a young age, living and dying by the sword and by their own code (bushido). The way of the warrior. To become truly great (like Miyamoto Musashi), in the use of daisho (long and short – katana and wakizashi) required years of intense dedication and training. Nothing less would suffice. I admire that, respect it.
That’s why I’ve always been drawn towards characters that used the sword. David Gemmel often had well-drawn characters that were highly trained swordsmen. Fritz Leiber used the Gray Mouser and Fafhred. In other media, particularly movies, I loved Blade. Think about the Kill Bill movies. Deadpool/Wade Wilson (last seen in the Wolverine movie) is an awesome character who I’m looking forward to seeing in his own franchise.
Anyway, the point of this blog is that I chose the main character in Rapture, Sam, to use swords for a reason. I just thought it was cooler and more elegant. Besides, if he used guns, what’s he going to do when he runs out of bullets (and he would – everyone knows that in post-apocalyptic societies, resource scarcity is a major problem)? I know what weapon I’d prefer to have in my belt when confronted by hordes of screaming demons.
In case anyone was wondering, a writer often gets his inspiration from works by other writers. I don’t necessarily mean fiction – of course I get my inspiration from other works of fiction. I mean non-fiction. Whilst being slightly obsessed and fascinated by anything martial, I don’t exactly have the experience to talk or write about it directly. I was in the army for a bit, I did kung-fu for about six years, I collected swords for a few years but what do I know about sword play? I read a lot of fantasy, I even owned a comic book shop with some good friends. An expert? I don’t think so. Let’s face it, Rapture has a lot of sword play in it and to write it properly, I needed to know what I’m talking about. Good fantasy, in my opinion, also needs to be authentic. Before you say anything, the irony of this doesn’t escape me.
What I mean is, if I’m writing about a sword fight, it needs to be believable, it needs authenticity. I wished I’d done kendo, but I didn’t so all my knowledge around sword fighting essentially comes from books. In terms of references, I read a lot of books on the techniques of sword fighting but I kept returning, time and again, to a book I’d discovered some years ago. Miyamoto Musashi. The Book of Five Rings. Look him up (and the book), you won’t be disappointed. More on this later…
Phillip W. Simpson
Phillip W. Simpson is an author of YA and children's books.