Guest Post by Matthew Smith
To start off the Urbane Publications blog event here is a guest post from Matthew Smith himself.
Without you, we are nothing
Despite my cherubic looks and air of sweet innocence, I’ve actually been in the publishing game for quite a number of years. In that time, I’ve heard, discussed, laughed at, shaken my head in weary disbelief, and yes, been guilty of devising and implementing, some pretty ridiculous publishing strategies. All of which, on paper at least, looked very corporate, businessy and go getting, devised to improve the ‘bottom line’ and ‘drive growth’ – and all, without exception, failing to take into account that people were involved in every stage of the publishing process.
As you know I have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about collaboration, particularly where authors are concerned, because I firmly believe, rightly or wrongly, that Urbane will survive and thrive because we understand that authors and their work matter and that they must be an integral part of the publishing experience. This isn’t just about finding the right ‘product’, but the right person to work with – and who wants to work with Urbane – because it gives each and every book the best possible chance of success. The advantages are obvious – shared goals, shared effort, shared energy, shared knowledge, and a partnership that can tackle challenges positively, rather than fostering ‘them and us’ attitudes.
So far, touch wood, stroke my rabbit’s foot and thank a few lucky stars, this is a strategy/philosophy/approach that seems to be working. We’ll obviously have to ask a few authors what they think, but it’s allowed Urbane to publish some bloody good books. But of course publishing success, and more importantly author success, relies on another collaboration, one that’s utterly vital. The collaboration with the reader.
Yep, I’m talking about you, the lovely person reading this. We, and I’m using the royal we that incorporates both publisher and author, would be completely lost without you. Now there’s a genuine initial obstacle to any hope of publisher-author-reader collaboration, and that’s the challenge of the reader finding us in the first place. With over 12.5 million books on Amazon, fewer bookstores, and those bookstores being very risk-averse to boot, it is harder and harder for readers to find new authors and authors to find new readers. But you know what, it’s an obstacle readers themselves have the power to break down very, very easily. How? By sharing. It doesn’t matter if you read 3 books a year (all on holiday on your kindle) or you’re voraciously consuming three literary masterpieces a week, your opinion counts. Your thoughts on a book, and its worth, are far more vital than you realise. You have power people. I could spend thousands running a poster campaign but good word of mouth from those who have actually read a book is the only truly effective marketing. A review has impact, it affects visibility, profile, discoverability – not to put too fine a point on it, YOU can make or break a book.
So let me finish this small piece with an appeal. If you love books, even if you just love one book, please, please, please make your opinion count. Let fellow readers know about the books that matter, that entertain, that bring joy, and happiness and provoke thought and feeling. You are the most important collaborator of all and WE need YOU.
Visit Urbane Publications at http://urbanepublications.com/