A sexually explicit book for teenagers that no commercial publisher would touch when it was written has been picked up by an American publisher - thanks to being banned in New Zealand.
Into The River, by Auckland author Ted Dawe, is subject to an interim ban until the Film and Literature Board of Review meets on Friday to decide on its classification - the first such ban on any book since the current censorship law was passed in 1993.
It will now be published in the United States by thriller writer Jason Pinter of Polis Books, a new firm founded in 2013 which lists 24 other authors on its website.
The news comes on the day Mr Dawe is due to speak on the controversy around the book at the Auckland Central Library at 6pm tonight.
Ironically, he and his wife originally self-published the book in 2013 because no commercial publisher was interested.
"It didn't fit the mould," he said. "Commercial publishers have a particular way of looking at a product. It has to be 200 to 250 pages. Mine was 750, but they didn't offer any real interest in it, they just said it was unacceptable.
"I cut it in half and sent it in again, by this time it was maybe 500 pages. It was still too long.
"They wouldn't give me any editorial assistance, so I paid for my own editor and we cut the book down to 270 pages. It only contains a third of the original plot line.
"I was so pissed off after that, I thought, I've done the work and paid for the editing, so I thought I'll publish it myself."
His wife took the cover photo of a river at Huia, and Super Print in Takapuna agreed to print about 200 copies at a time to minimise the financial risk. The publisher was "Mangakino University Press", named after Mr Dawe's home town.
None of the big bookshops would take it because it was self-published, but smaller shops such as Unity Books and Time Out in Mt Eden accepted it.
"This way we moved 200, perhaps 300 copies," Mr Dawe said.
Then it won the NZ Post Children's Book Awards in June 2013 and Random House picked it up.
The controversy since it was banned on September 3 has now made the book famous internationally. Mr Dawe has been asked to write articles for The Guardian.
Two Hollywood film producers have approached him about potential film versions of Into The River and Thunder Road, an earlier novel published in 2004 about the same central character.
Although the book is banned in New Zealand, sales have taken off overseas. Mr Dawe said 1500 copies were sold last week on Kindle alone.
"I'm sure this American announcement will change the ball game yet again," he said. "I think the scale will be vast."
Family First director Bob McCoskrie, who started the controversy by sending the book to the Film and Literature Board of Review, said he did not regret it because the book should be restricted.
"Whatever Ted Dawe has gained out of it, well he can count his blessings, but as far as we are concerned there's a far bigger issue here of protecting young people," he said.
He has asked the review board to reimpose an R14 restriction which it imposed in December 2013. That ruling was overturned in August this year by the Deputy Chief Censor, who made the book totally unrestricted.
A spokesman for the board said it was likely to take several weeks to write up and publish its decision after it meets on Friday. The book is likely to remain banned until the decision is released.