Jason Rekulak is in the news for his novel The Impossible Fortress (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio), an Indie Next pick and one of Entertainment Weekly‘s “23 Most Anticipated Books of 2017,” inviting readers to “Revel in 1987 nostalgia in this debut about a teen boy, a coveted copy of Playboy and a computer-nerd girl.”
However, it is not exactly a debut, as the NYT points out in a profile. Rekulak, the publisher of Quirk Books has written several other books, but rarely puts his real name on their covers. Moreover, he gives away some of his best ideas to others, as he did with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, hiring a then unknown Seth Grahame-Smith for the actual writing, “for a $5,000 advance.” The book has sold over 1.8 million copies.
“I get credited with creating the mash-up, but it was Jason’s idea,” Grahame-Smith told the paper. “It was at once the best and dumbest idea I’ve ever heard in my life, and it came from Jason’s brain.”
Rekulak is also the force behind Grady Hendrix’s Horrorstör and “has nurtured fledgling writers who turned into breakout stars, including Ben H. Winters [Underground Airlines] and Ransom Riggs.”
The profile offers more details about the life of an independent publisher, including that he keeps a file of ideas that might be worth doing, labeled “unicorns.”