Jason Pinter is the best-selling author of the Henry Parker series, including The Fury and The Darkness, and the children’s book Zeke Bartholomew: Superspy! Before launching his thriller writing career, Pinter worked as a book editor for five years at three major publishing houses. Pinter reveals why he decided to take a leap and start his own digital publishing company, Polis Books (www.polisbooks.com).
What is your background?
I grew up loving crime fiction; my father and I had our own “assembly line” where he would finish a novel and then pass it along to me. When I started as a young editor, my goal was to acquire crime fiction, ushering in strong new voices to readers, like myself, who would devour them. Along the way I wrote and published my own thriller series [including The Fury and The Stolen], and my professional duties allowed me to meet many terrific crime writers, some of whom were already icons, some of whom were looking for their break, some of whom would sadly not get it due to circumstances beyond their control.
Why start a digital publishing company?
After a decade in publishing, I decided that if I was truly going to shepherd some of these new voices into the world, it needed to be on my own terms, that it was time to trust my instincts fully, and sink or swim based on that. To respond to the ever-changing publishing environment, I needed my company to be nimble, experimental, forward-thinking, utilizing the digital marketplace both to introduce new writers and gain a wider readership for others who deserve it. We needed to have the ability to make decisions at a moment’s notice—without running it up a ladder past any number of people in a corporate hierarchy. We move fast because our authors do. Many writers have adapted to these conditions, and I wanted Polis Books to adapt as fast as any one writer could as well.
How did you choose the name of your company?
In ancient Greece, the polis was a self-governing, independent city-state, run by its citizens, existing in part as centers of artistic activity. To me, Polis Books aspires to be a self-governing independent publisher, not beholden to a larger entity but whose direction, vision, and governance are led solely by its employees and authors, with a love and appreciation for popular literature.
Where does Polis Books stand today?
We’ve already progressed beyond my wildest hopes, with over 30 books already under contract, and we’re barely six months old. Currently, all of our ebooks are available through OverDrive, and we are looking to have a print component as well through our distribution deal with Publishers Group West. I fully believe that Polis Books is already on the cusp of being one of the preeminent digital publishers out there, and these fantastic upcoming crime novels prove that we’re the place to be. This is the last job I ever hope to have, and I want Polis Books to be the last publisher our authors ever need.