PlotForge’s debut novel Multiplayer was released today and is available for immediate download from Barnes&Noble for the Nook and from Amazon for the Kindle. The print version is due to be available from Amazon.com within the next week or so and will be available from Barnes&Noble a few weeks after that.
Multiplayer is the brainchild of rocket scientist, soccer player, motorcyclist, and all around Renaissance man, John C. Brewer. While John may not be the most interesting man in the world, he may be the most interesting man in Alabama.
Several years ago, Mr. Brewer, the father of three sons separated by a total of 30 months, began looking for books for them to read as they progressed beyond picture books. Numerous trips to the bookstore and searching online resulted in few titles that would interest a young man. “Beyond Hatchet [Gary Paulsen] there just isn’t much out there,” he recalls saying at one point. Of course Harry Potter helped fill that void, but he had the same reaction as the Big Six (major publishers) after the final book came out: “What next?”
John had already been writing for a few years and, seeing an untapped market, decided to try his hand at youth titles. But not the ‘pink’ titles you’ll find on the shelves if you go to your local store. But not specifically “boy books” either. John knew that while the market was large, it was also a potentially difficult nut to crack. So what John eventually landed on was books that just tell a great story.
“I was at the Screen Writer’s Expo in L.A. a few years ago,” John says, “and Andrew Stanton was talking about Finding Nemo and Pixar and the way Pixar develops their stories. They don’t aim for the usual markets. They don’t try to make a specific group happy. They just want to tell a great story. A story they would like to see.” John said that’s what he wanted to do. Interestingly, he points out, while Pixar was started by LucasFilm, the principles were not movie executives but experts in computer graphics. John is a rocket scientist.
Sadly, the publishing industry is at a point where they find themselves financially unable to take risks on anything really new. All the large publishers are publicly traded, and while they have magnificent distribution systems, they are beholden to the stockholders to show a healthy bottom line. What this means is that they can only sign books which have an established product base. While everyone is looking for “The next Harry Potter” most acquiring editors are afraid to put their job on the line to find it. Publishing is very much a business in which it is safer to have guaranteed sales of 10,000 titles, than a potential sale of 100,000.
After they were unable to find a traditional publisher, John and some other writers formed PlotForge, Ltd. Their stated intent is to become the Pixar of books. Multiplayer is their first title and they are due to release another in the next three months or so. Foreseen, by Terri-Lynne Smiles is about a mind-reading college kid who not only gets her dream, but the nightmare that goes along with it. Before the end of 2012 they hope to have a half-dozen titles available for eReaders and in print.
So if you’re looking for a great story; if you’d like to recommend something to your kids who’ve given up on reading for entertainment; if you are a kid yourself, old or young, who is interested in popular culture and where it is leading us, give Multiplayer a try. And, John asks, if you wouldn’t mind, he’d appreciate it if you’ll write a nice review on Amazon or B&N. It’s all about the numbers these days and John Brewer and PlotForge, Ltd. hope to rise above the noise.