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.