WILLIAMSBURG — Educator and author D.W. Saur is starting a new journey in the publishing industry, launching a new publishing company called Polar Press Books.
Saur has been an educator for more than a decade, starting as a middle school social studies before moving into an ITRT (Instructional Technology Resource Teacher) position.
Saur credits two of his titles for establishing his writing career — “Metal Like Me” and “Dark Days.”
“Metal Like Me” began as a result of his teaching experience. An incident occurred in his classroom when he first started teaching which he defined as bullying. After going through the process of reporting the incident and talking to the administrator he found out it wasn’t classified as such.
“I was in shock,” Saur recalled. “When I was growing up and in the school systems, they always told you zero tolerance for bullying. So then I had to learn the state definition of it. Looking at how the state defined bullying, it was unbelievable that things could happen to children until you have a set period of time pass because the state defines it as a position of power that happens over a particular period of time.”
Saur then started documenting everything that he could, but students picked up on it and made sure to not commit harm where he could see. It didn’t sit right with Saur.
The book stemmed from that experience, coupled with his love for music.
“I love metal music, so each character has their own music genera that they represent and so I figured a diverse group of people listen to music and it just fit perfectly with the theme,” Saur said about his process.
“Dark Days” followed shortly after, originating while Saur was working on his Masters’s degree in Library Science. He was reading books in a literature class when he began to feel as though he was essentially reading the same story repeatedly due to the similar plots.
“It bothered me with these stories that claimed to have these strong female roles and they end up being not very strong females — constantly saved by a group of friends or they always had to fall in love and I just got bored with it,” he recounted. “I decided one day, ‘you know, let me try and write something different.'”
“Dark Days” won the 2020 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards in Young Adult Fiction and Science Fiction/Fantasy. Most recently, the book was a finalist in the 2022 Book of Excellence Award. “Metal Like Me” won the 2020 Story Monsters Approved Award for School Life and was an honorable mention for the 2020 Purple Dragonfly.
“[My favorite part of writing] is the creative aspect, the different stories I get to tell and having them based on my imagination or research so there are no limits that I can or can’t do,” Saur added.
Saur launched Polar Press because his contract renewal on “Dark Days” is coming up in October. Faced with a difficult decision to either buy back the rights or watch it disappear from shelves, Saur decided to purchase the rights back and started his own publishing company.
“I’m trying to get my feet wet with this whole publishing thing,” Saur explained. “Even though the publishing process, as far as applying to publishers and agents and all of that, isn’t something I’m new to, this side of it is new for me, so it’s a learning curve.”
Saur will begin by publishing his own books. “Dark Days” is planned for publication with Polar Press in October alongside “Scream With Me: Chilling and Thrilling Tales.” Then “The Return To Christmas Town” will follow in November.
His goal is to eventually open Polar Press for submissions by 2026 with a small number of submissions for a variety of genres and hopes to offer author-friendly contracts. In order to achieve that goal, Saur plans to invest all of his royalties from his already published work, as well as Polar Press’ upcoming works, into the business.
“I really want to help authors out because of the experiences I’ve had through the years. Some great experiences, some bad experiences,” Saur explained. “Because of what I went through I want to try and help other authors not go through that.”