Aurora Metro Books is an award-winning independent publisher that produces a diverse range of fiction, nonfiction, YA fiction, drama and cookery.
In order to remain competitive, it fosters a sense of camaraderie between its employees, and it maintains the quality of its titles with a strict selection process. Furthermore, it capitalizes on industry trends, and optimizes its resources by collaborating with other publishing firms in the industry.
Cheryl Robson, founder and managing editor of Aurora Metro Books, shares more about these strategies.
Images © Aurora Metro Books
Overcoming Challenges of the Publishing Process
Robson, who has been shortlisted for the ITV National Diversity Awards – Lifetime Achievement category, has received accolades for her achievements. Due to her efforts, Aurora Metro Books has been shortlisted for the Independent Publisher Guild’s Diversity Award, and it has received public recognition for its diverse range of titles.
“Each book has its own target audience – there is no one audience for the variety of titles we publish. Notable [fiction] titles that we have published include Singaporean author Suchen Christine Lim’s The River’s Song, Asian-American Dipika Mukherjee’s Shambala Junction, Australian author Annee Lawrence’s The Colour of Things Unseen.” Robson states.
According to Robson, different challenges may arise throughout Aurora Metro Books’ publishing process. For example:
In order to overcome these challenges, the members of Aurora Metro Books collaborate with each other to devise creative solutions to their challenges. By fostering a collaborative culture within Aurora Metro Books, Robson develops a sense of camaraderie within her organisation, which motivates her employees to optimize their performance.
“We drink lots of tea, support each other when things don’t work out, work weekends (too often) and try and come up with a way of solving the problems creatively.” Robson states.
Although Aurora Metro Books embraces new talent, Robson acknowledges that there are risks of working with new authors and has established strategies to address these challenges.
“The risk is that the author is unknown and it’s hard to find a readership or get decent reviews for a new book by a debut author. If the author has thousands of followers on social media that can help or if the subject matter is highly topical there is more chance of reviews and press attention.” Robson states.
Due to the sheer volume of books on the market, Aurora Metro Books is operating in an increasingly competitive industry. In order to stand out, Aurora Metro Books establishes a strict selection process, which allows it to discover and publish quality titles.
“We have a submissions editor who reads most of the manuscripts and passes on anything interesting to the book editors with our tastes and interests in mind.” Robson explains.
In addition to its traditional submission channels, Aurora Metro Books broadens its search by organizing literary competitions.
“We also run a writers’ competition biennially called The Virginia Prize for Fiction open to any woman over 18 writing in English.” Robson states.
In order to publish distinctive titles, Aurora Metro Books works with novelists with unique perspectives, as well as an international database of authors.
“Our imprint Supernova Books publishes books about the arts from new perspectives. We welcome submissions from international authors and have published works from over 20 different countries.” Robson explains.
When asked to provide aspiring authors with advice, Robson emphasizes the importance of understanding a publisher’s requirements.
Although Aurora Metro Books accepts submissions from debut authors and unsolicited manuscripts, she recommends reviewing the publisher’s website “to see the kind of books we like, and if we publish anything similar before sending us your work.”
For instance, Aurora Metro Books does not accept poetry or short stories. During the initial stage of their selection process, they accept three chapters, synopsis and a bio.
Favorable Industry Trends
Despite the fact that the publishing industry is growing more competitive, Robson states that technological advances and changing perspectives may increase her base of readers.
“There is more willingness in the UK to read books by diverse authors and to program diverse authors in festivals. [Furthermore,] there are There are opportunities in audiobooks and eBooks to grow.” Robson states.
Finally, Aurora Metro Books also collaborates with other industry players. This strategy allows it to optimize its resources and remain competitive.
“We go to international book fairs and meet with foreign publishers, agents and scouts – we are at London Book Fair each year. We’re open to co-publishing deals, rights’ deals, film rights’ sales, basically any way to achieve additional revenues for our books and their authors.” Robson explains.