There are a good number of small, independent publishers out there publishing some great works. Do you consider yourself different and, if so, how?Urbane isn’t different in the traditional sense – it produces great books for a (hopefully) growing and eager readership. But I do think we offer a genuinely collaborative process. Getting the message out there has been a challenge, particularly when there are still so many misconceptions about the ‘right’ and the ‘wrong’ way to publish. Every project is different. For some authors an agent is the way to go, for others self-publishing. There’s no single right way of doing things. I’m trying to find an agile, responsive and consistently positive route through all the options so any author who works with Urbane, and any reader who engages with one of our books, enjoys the experience, benefits from the experience, and recommends it.Urbane is, on paper at least, a traditional independent publisher, but I suspect we build far more partnership throughout our publishing programme than many organisations. Because authors are consistently 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 and not a key driver of the publishing experience. This seems particularly daft when the routes to market have changed so much, are so varied and competitive – you can’t just go back to an author with a templated product and ask the author to then go and market and sell it (which happens far more than people suspect). No wonder so many authors self-publish. I need authors to be engaged from day one – they are my most valuable piece of content. The book is their vision, I’d be mad to dismiss their input. 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 (occasionally positively combative!) and ultimately fulfilling publishing experience where both parties want exactly the same thing – a great book that sells like hot cakes. That’s why the majority of our authors quickly earn 50% royalties. It’s not a gimmick, it’s because authors deserve a fair return on their investment and belief in their project. Not sure that all makes us very different, just hopefully a more exciting and enticing option.
Source: Q&A with Urbane Publications