In the final chapter of our in-depth look into collaborative publishing, Urbane author Chris Parker tells of his experience.
Over the years I have been fortunate enough to have had a number of novels and business books published by several of the large mainstream publishers. I have enjoyed my relationship with all of them. So why did I decide to commit all of my work to one man and his new independent publishing house? Why did I walk away from the well-established big players in the industry? After all, it wasn’t as if it was easy to create those connections in the first place.
The answer is simple. I was really attracted to, and impressed by, the innovative, forward-thinking approach and the professional editorial and publishing skills of Matthew Smith, the creator of Urbane Publications. In my experience, everyone, including the most established publishers, is following a business model that is rapidly becoming out of date. Their way seems to be a by-the-numbers method in which books are produced through a repetitive, singular approach in which innovation based on a real understanding of each individual work and the opportunities it could create is too often non-existent.
Matthew Smith’s way is far more collaborative and far-reaching. He negotiates individual deals with individual authors, but this alone is hardly ground-breaking. It is what happens next that is different and exciting. It is in the nature of the relationship and the benefits this creates that something special happens.
For as long as I have known Matthew – and I knew him before he founded Urbane – he has believed that publishers can do far more with, and for, authors than has traditionally been the case. And this is not just in the collaboration needed to create a great book. Whilst he is excellent at encouraging and enabling writers to produce their best work he is, in my experience, unique in his desire to work with them in other, associated ways. He is always keen to explore and develop every opportunity to promote the book but also – and more excitingly – ways for the author to develop their profile and/or earn additional income based on their work.
‘Are you willing to do talks, workshops, corporate training, things like that?’ He asked me early in our relationship when discussing my business-related writing. ‘Are you interested in a partnership in which I not only publish you, I also seek to get you this other type of work based on the books you write?’
Was I interested? Of course I was. I was more than interested. I was surprised and excited.
‘My vision,’ he said, ‘is to create a publishing house that provides a personal, bespoke service to help authors achieve their goals as writers and in other associated ways. It’s a publishing house that provides individual, professional support throughout every step of the writing process, giving each book the respect it deserves as a unique piece or work. It is a publishing house that also works with our writers to help them promote themselves and, whenever appropriate, gain additional work based on their expertise. Essentially, it is all about a more complete and productive relationship between publisher and writer than has previously been the case. How does that sound?’
It sounded exactly what I had been looking for without ever realising it. As a writer, I considered, I had also unquestioningly accepted the standardised publishing norm. It was time now for me, too, to do something different. So I did.
It’s going great so far, thank you for asking. Matthew is walking the walk. I am doing everything that a more elderly man can do to keep up. Not only do I feel – know – that I am improving as writer because of his carefully considered input, we are also working together on all those additional professional opportunities. For me, so far, things are looking good.
Matthew Smith is taking a chance. He could have stayed in his very significant role in mainstream publishing. Only he didn’t because he believed there was a better way. Now he is walking a new path. He is backing his talent and skill and especially his vision for a new way of publishing and a new way for publishers and writers to work together, to create a bright new future for himself and those he works with. And I am delighted for the opportunity to join him on that journey.
Based in Nottingham, Chris Parker is a specialist in communications and influence with a number of published titles under his belt. His latest novel, a thriller entitled Influence, was published by Urbane in March.
See Chris Parker’s Amazon author page here.
Contact Urbane: urbanepublications.com