Principia Media Company Profile
Michigan-based Media Publisher
In 2011, West Michigan native, entrepreneur and businessman, Vern Jones, opened a publishing company, after personally realizing the struggles so many authors have with getting their books into readers’ hands in today’s quickly-changing publishing industry. Instead of offering the traditional route, where authors and producers retain no rights to their intellectual property, Jones and co-founders, Dirk Wierenga, Irene Jones and Julie Hurley, started a company that provides the support, creativity and resources needed to bring a book or a film to its fullest potential.
After writing his own manuscript in 2009, Jones began exploring the publishing world. He recruited his wife, Irene Jones, and step-daughter, Julie Hurley, in proofreading and editing the book, and they began searching for a publisher. It was a daunting task, and they couldn’t find any publisher that fit their requirements. Some rejection letters were even a relief, as the contracts sent to Jones did not favor the author’s best interest.
Shortly after this, Jones was introduced to Dirk Wierenga, who had decades of experience in the publishing world. The two formed a fast friendship and began working on Jones’ manuscript. They quickly realized there was a unique opportunity to fill a niche in publishing — support authors by providing quality graphic design, proofing and editing, and allowing them to retain all the rights to their manuscripts. After careful consideration, Principia Media emerged as a book publisher.
“As a new author, I read the offers I received from the traditional publishers and personally found that they didn’t offer what was necessary to bring my book to the fullest potential,” says Jones. “As a successful entrepreneur, I knew there was a better way to help new and emerging authors like myself. My research and business knowledge led us to create Principia Media.”
The Principia Media Team has received dozens of manuscripts for consideration, but is selective in not only what they will publish, but who they will publish. They strive to develop a deep knowledge of many of their authors on a personal level, and maintain friendships with several of them today.
Principia selects manuscripts from a wide range of subject matter, and strives to contribute titles that are thought-provoking and compelling to the reader. Their titles range in subject from investigative to non-fiction, and from memoir to fiction.
Notable titles include: the award-winning Getting The Truth by Joe Koenig, He Plays a Harp, by Roberta King, Sustainability Demystified, by Norman Christopher, and Kili Summit Club, by Principia founder Vern Jones with Jill and Ryan Bigby, and Julie and Justin Hurley.
As the name suggests, books weren’t the only products they envisioned, when the founders thoughtfully created their company name.
In the early part of 2016, one of Principia’s editors called Wierenga and explained that her uncle had a manuscript which he would like them to publish. He did not trust big publishers, from personal experience, and wanted to work with a small publisher he could have confidence in. Wierenga called Jones and explained the potential bombshell of a project to him. The manuscript not only purported to solve a decades’ old crime, but revealed a fascinating character that lead a life of danger, deceit and intrigue. This was definitely the type of book that would put Principia in the national spotlight. After hundreds of hours fact-checking every possible detail, the book was published, along with a four-part documentary, which catapulted Principia Media into documentary making, which is a vision the founders had from the beginning. (see The Making of D.B. Cooper and Me to read the full account of how this story was brought to life through print and digital means).
Today, Principia Media is positioned to produce compelling books and documentaries on a national and international scale that create a lasting impact on the consumer.
Looking to the future, Jones says “Our early commitment to find a great story combined with a amazing author has made publishing a passion for the entire Principia team. We are privileged to call our authors friends and look forward to our next adventure.”
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Grand Rapids, Michigan