Publishing’s New Blood To Relaunch Vampirates

Award-winning “disruptive” publisher UCLan Publishing signs new deal with Justin Somper –  to relaunch internationally successful series VAMPIRATES

Fresh from its victory, last month, in the 2019 Independent Publishing Awards – where it scooped the Nick Robinson Newcomer Award – innovative independent children’s publisher UCLan Publishing is already signalling its next exciting phase of development…

In a six book deal concluded with Stephanie Thwaites of Curtis Brown, UCLan Publishing has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to Justin Somper’s internationally successful VAMPIRATES sequence.

UCLan Publishing, operating out of the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, is the ONLY publishing house in the world involving students at every stage of the publishing process. Whilst the publisher is run by Debbie Williams (Director) and Hazel Holmes (Publisher), UCLan Publishing empowers students to “learn on the job” with students in BA Publishing and MA Publishing based within the company and working on producing books as part of their course. Students enjoy first-hand experience of negotiating with buyers, conceiving and running innovative high-level events to leverage sales and running a content creation business enterprise.  In the words of the Independent Publishing Award judges, “there’s a distinct difference to UCLan’s approach—a disruptive spirit and an infectious enthusiasm.” 

With that disruptive spirit to the fore, UCLan Publishing will relaunch Somper’s VAMPIRATES in March 2020 by publishing the first three titles in the sequence – DEMONS OF THE OCEAN, TIDE OF TERROR and BLOOD CAPTAIN – with a fresh look, additional content, innovative marketing and a national author tour. The next three titles will follow a year later. Debbie Williams, Director of UCLan Publishing says, “We are extremely excited to be publishing this fantastic series. UCLan Publishing has really exploded this year. We are known for our innovative approach and are the only student-led publishing house in the world. As a buyer for Waterstone’s Head Office, I was a massive fan of VAMPIRATES from the very beginning – so getting to relaunch it is a dream come true for me.”

Justin Somper’s award-winning VAMPIRATES series, comprising six main novels plus a World Book Day title, has been published in 35 countries and 25 languages to date. The first title, DEMONS OF THE OCEAN sold over 100,000 copies in the UK and Ireland alone, whilst the sequence as a whole has sold over a million worldwide. The Ultimate Book Guide says, “VAMPIRATES are the perfect adventure stories, rollicking, romantic and utterly page-turningly breathtaking.”

Hazel Holmes, Publisher of UCLan Publishing says, “Justin’s mash-up of the pirate and vampire genres remains unique and fresh and is ripe for rediscovery. It fills a gap in the market for epic adventure for readers at the upper end of middle-grade. With a rich cast of diverse characters, VAMPIRATES is unusual in its ability to engage with equal power girl and boy readers, fluent and reluctant readers. We’re going to have great fun, introducing it to new readers in all kinds of innovative and exciting ways.”

Justin Somper says, “I’m thrilled to be joining forces with UCLan to take VAMPIRATES to the next generation of readers. Debbie and Hazel bring a unique combination of energy, expertise, professionalism and freshness of approach to the table. UCLan Publishing is such a smart, ground-breaking and timely concept. With the integral involvement of students on UCLan’s BA and MA programmes, UCLan Publishing genuinely constitutes the newest blood in children’s publishing, not only in the UK but globally. It’s going to be massively exciting to relaunch the sequence in the freshest possible way, working with young people making their very first steps into the industry.”