A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “Matthew Smith”

Final Post – My Urbane Blog Event

Well, my Urbane Blog Event is over.  I have really enjoyed doing it and I really don’t know where these past two weeks have gone.  I’ll let you all into a little secret now.  Whilst organising this event I had a few doubts.  I thought I had lost the ability to organise another blog event.  As it goes, it all went very well.

I’d like to thank all my fellow book bloggers, authors and of course the Urbane authors for taking the time and trouble to share my posts.  I really was and still am totally overwhelmed at all the support I got.  You Urbane authors really are like one big happy family.  I’d also like to thank Matthew Smith for providing me with the book extracts.  Long may your publishing business continue.

I have decided that I would really like to feature Urbane authors on my blog on a monthly basis, about two or three posts a month.  If your book is due to be published do feel free to get in touch with me anytime.  I am always open to hosting guest posts and doing interviews.  I will also be reviewing lots more books.

Thanks again everyone!

 

Love from Sonya xx

 

Guest Post by Matthew Smith

matthew-smith

First up, a guest post by Mr Urbane himself in which he talks about books and gives this event a nice mention.

 

A LOVER OF BOOKS URBANE BOOK EVENT

There are a number of challenges and issues that tax the mind of the average publisher. Putting aside the editorial, design and production demands for a moment (and the industrial levels of coffee consumption), the key driver for all of us – publisher and author alike – is, of course, book sales. Namely, how the hell do you secure more of them?

The key of course is discoverability. I firmly believe there is a readership for every book (much to my accountant’s horror) and Urbane prides itself on taking a risk or two with its books rather than simply churning out genre fodder. The author has poured heart and soul into creating a voice – so give that uniqueness wings, don’t twist and turn it to mimic all the other voices already yelling in the same room, a room that’s getting smaller and smaller by the day.

But how does that impact on discoverability, if your books don’t fit the nice, neat little genre boxes that have been established in the risk-averse bookselling channels? And more importantly, if you haven’t got a pot of gold to spend on adwords, Amazon advertising, Facebook or ‘securing’ a thousand reviews the week of publication – and you haven’t made your book look like Girl on a Train (homage number 38) – how do you give that book the profile it deserves?

For Urbane the answer lies in a long term ‘strategy’ (sorry, hate that word, we’re creating books, not pumping out products) to connect directly with an ever-growing readership, and recognise that it’s the individual reader that counts, not whether we have ‘targets’ of 5,000, 10,000 or 20,000 sales. Find a new reader, ensure they receive a book that is deserving of their attention and commitment, and chances are they will not only discover another Urbane author but also find us another reader or two.

Don’t get me wrong, if I had a squillion pounds and could buy success for all Urbane’s authors I would – goodness knows they deserve it. But that’s not the world we publish in – every sale is earned, every reader is appreciated, ever piece of feedback is gold.

And how do we find those new readers? Yes, by ensuring books are visible in the relevant channels. But primarily through our growing network of advocates and supporters. The most important of whom are the bloggers and reviewers who have given, and continue to give, so much time and effort on behalf of Urbane and its authors.

Which brings me to this latest Urbane event being put together by Sonya. Urbane hasn’t requested or managed this event. It has been entirely conceived, created and managed by A Lover of Books. It is not an advertorial, it is not a contrived ‘marketing piece’, but rather a genuinely collaborative attempt by an established book reviewer and blogger to give Urbane authors a chance to reach a new audience.

And frankly I am in awe of such efforts on behalf of our small independent company. Every single post, every single comment, every single piece of feedback – and every single new reader – that results from this wonderful event is the lifeblood that keeps Urbane alive and thriving and growing so we can continue to bring you new books and new voices. Urbane – and I suspect lots of indies like us – could not survive without the support of advocates like Sonya. And I, and Urbane’s authors, will be eternally thankful for her generosity of spirit and unstinting efforts on our behalf.

So, please enjoy each and every post over the coming days and do let Sonya have your feedback (and a thank you or two). And remember, with every click, every read, every piece of feedback, every mention, YOU are driving discoverability for our books and authors. We can’t do it without you. And frankly, we don’t want to.

Thanks everyone x

 

Welcome to My Urbane Blog Event

urbane-book-collection

I’d like to welcome you all to my Urbane Blog Event. Last year’s event was so successful that I decided to do another one. Matthew Smith, the founder and owner of Urbane Publications really does have an eye for great books and through social media I have been following his publishing journey. I am still in awe at just how many books are being published. I only have to blink and another one is out. Since my last event I have had the pleasure of meeting many of Urbane’s authors and I hope to meet many more.

As you will see from the picture above my books have increased considerably in number. This is a collection I will always treasure and I will of course still keep adding to it. I do wish bookcases were elasticated and could expand in size though.

I would like to thank all the authors who are taking part in this event for taking the time to write guest posts and for answering my questions. It’s been nice getting to know all of you that little bit more. I also think it’s very important at this stage to thank my lovely husband, Richard. Without his support I would not have been able to do this event or much blogging for that matter, and it would be impossible to read as much as I do. He really is unique and actually enjoys helping out around the house thus freeing up lots of time for me. He also doesn’t mind if the light is on in the bedroom at night whilst I read. Thank you darling husband. You are my soulmate, best friend, everything rolled into one.

I hope you all enjoy this event. I have lots coming up over the next two weeks. This is your chance to find out all about Urbane’s authors and their wonderful books.

 

My Urbane Publications Blog Event

Urbane Books

Sadly, that’s the end of my Urbane blog event.  I really hope you have enjoyed reading the guest posts, interviews and reviews.

I thoroughly enjoyed organising it and I would like to thank all the authors who wrote guest posts and took the time to answer my questions.  I would also like to thank Matthew for helping to spread the word to his authors when I first decided I wanted to do this event, for allowing me to run several competitions and for the wonderful idea of a countdown to the cover reveal for Rob Enright’s book.  Lastly, thank you so much to all the authors, fellow book bloggers and other people who shared the blog posts on social media.

I hope the various posts are still being read in months and years to come.  I hope that more people will start reading Urbane books; you really are in for a treat if you do.  But more than anything, I hope that any writers who are looking to have a book published or even established authors look to seek publication by Matthew.  He will always give you his time and consider your manuscripts and even if he cannot accept them he will give you valuable feedback.

Don’t forget to check out the competitions.  They are all open until 11:59 p.m. on the 3rd April 2016 and can be entered worldwide.

Look out for more reviews over the coming weeks/months.

 

Sonya

 

Guest Post by Matthew Smith

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/

 

Introduction from Matthew Smith

Urbane Logo

When you spend every waking (and many sleeping) hour devoted to developing and publishing books, you realise very quickly how much the support and enthusiasm of others is essential to your potential success. Key amongst these are those who take their love of books beyond the page and give their time and energy to help publishers and authors grow and thrive. I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am that people such as Sonya, and all her fellow bloggers and reviewers, exist. Our publishing world would be a much poorer place without them. I feel very humbled by the coverage Urbane will receive this week and I hope you will not only enjoy the wonderful reviews, interviews and articles but continue to follow Sonya as she brings you lots of fabulous books, authors and publishers in the future.

Matthew Smith, Managing Director, Urbane Publications

 

‘Eden Burning’ – Competition

Eden BurningBack in June I hosted a guest post written by Deirdre Quiery on my blog.  You can read it here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/guest-post-by-deirdre-quiery/

‘Eden Burning’ is Deirdre Quiery’s debut novel and it was published on the 10th August 2015.  As well as writing, Deirdre is also an established artist.

Matthew Smith of Urbane Publications Limited recently contacted me with regards to running a special competition on my blog.

 

Eve Print

This is the original print of Deirdre Quiery’s painting which is also called Eden Burning.  One very lucky person has the chance to win this print plus a copy of Deirdre’s novel.  4 x runners-up will each win a copy of Deirdre’s book.

To enter just leave a comment telling me what you wanted to be when you grew up.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open worldwide.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 1st September 2015.

The winners will be randomly picked and notified of their win within 7 days of the closing date.  Details will be passed on to Matthew Smith who will send out the prizes.

 

Good luck! 🙂

 

Urbane Publications Limited

msmith1

Matthew Smith is the Director of Urbane Publications Limited.  He kindly took the time to write an article for me about his publishing business and how it all started.

 

THE THIRD WAY

I’m a very lucky chap, as I’ve been fortunate enough to work in and around books for 25 years (hard to believe I know, given my youthful good looks). I started as a bookseller, when readers bought books, and digital was a watch. And I’ve worked for publishers big and small over the years, building experience and trying to find the ‘right’ way to create and publish great content. There has been such enormous change over the last few years, but the essentials remain the same – talented authors producing astonishing content that we all want to engage with. And despite an emphasis on ‘issues’ in the industry, there is a huge opportunity for innovative, entrepreneurial publishers to grow and thrive – I just didn’t feel I could pursue those opportunities working for another company. I decided to be bold (read stark raving crazy) and create Urbane. So I could publish the way I think content should be published.

The aim for Urbane Publications is always to drive, and be driven by, collaboration. Collaboration with authors to produce books and content worthy of their vision and blood, sweat and tears; and collaborating with readers to build an ever-growing community of word lovers who engage with books, authors and each other. So far so good – six months in and the publishing programme is building quickly, and the feedback from readers on published titles has been reassuringly positive (and in some cases wonderfully flattering). Even the odd 1 star negative review has made sense (although I obviously cried for days over each one).

Collaboration. That’s not a word said lightly. It isn’t just marketing fluff. And this isn’t about providing a production service either. I could use my experience to take advantage of the self-publishing boom, set up a system and charge eager authors a healthy fee to throw their unedited words together between some covers. But I think there’s a better way, a third way, that combines all the benefits of traditional publishing (an engaged editor, script development, knowledge, design, route to market, promotion etc) but gives the author creative and commercial engagement during every part of the process. Every aspect of the project is a shared experience with shared goals, a genuine partnership. And that includes the sharing of the revenue, because every author deserves a fair return on their words.

Many publishers have forgotten that authors should consistently be at the centre of the publishing experience, from initial discussion and on throughout the life of the book. Every single project is unique and every author plays a key role in not just delivering a manuscript but bringing it to life. For too long many in the publishing industry have been treating authors as a commodity, a deliverer of content, part of a process not the key driver of the publishing experience. This seems particularly daft when so many talented and smart authors can just self-publish. I want authors to be engaged from day one – because they know they can be. The aim is shared goals from the outset – what do we want, how can we make it happen, how do we realise success. It makes for a lively, engaged and ultimately fulfilling publishing experience where both parties want exactly the same thing – a great book that sells like hot cakes.

And how and why will the third way work? It has to be through persistency and belief. There is still a rather entrenched perception of authoring and publishing a book that simply getting it produced means it will be read, that readers will immediately rush to grab a copy. There are absolutely no guarantees anymore, not even for those publishing with the big corporates. That’s why the opportunities for an agile and responsive publishing approach are so exciting! Discoverability is vital to a book’s success and achieving it is really hard work! That’s why I already owe a huge debt of gratitude to the bloggers and reviewers who are spreading the word – the strongest and most powerful marketing is still word of mouth, personal recommendation, an individual endorsement – and authors are key in making that happen as the word always begins within their network.

So all you budding authors out there, we want you to consider publishing with Urbane and partnering with us for an enriching publishing experience. When it comes to a great book and a valuable piece of content your words will always be the vital ingredient – let Urbane help you take those words to the right audience in the most effective forms possible, with YOU as the key driver in the process. The Third way – you know it makes sense 🙂

 

For more information about Urbane visit http://urbanepublications.com

 

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