Bonnier Zaffre have today launched a brand-new, cutting edge website for bestselling author Wilbur Smith in a joint venture with his creative team at Wilbur Smith Enterprises. Smith was acquired by Bonnier Zaffre in 2016, and has since published two new titles with the publisher. Courtney’s War, the latest in the Courtney Series, is a historical fiction epic set against the backdrop of the Second World War. It went straight to number one in the UK, and marked the series as the longest running in publishing history. Bonnier Zaffre also published Smith’s memoir, On Leopard Rock, which recounts the numerous life experiences which inspired his bestselling fiction, debuting at number 2 and spending more than a month in the Top Ten on the Sunday Times bestseller list.
Wilbursmithbooks.com is a celebration of an adventurous life and a rich publishing heritage. The website will serve as an international hub, with geo-responsive retail links and content, and aims to galvanise the Wilbur Smith brand worldwide. The new website is part of a continued rebrand for the author since signing with Bonnier Zaffre. Earlier this year, the publisher relaunched the thirty-four title backlist with a modern series design, which is reflected in the website aesthetic.
Content on the website aims to reflect this, with areas of the site developing the real-world backstories of the novels, including tales of piracy on the high seas in the 1600’s, and Africa’s struggle for independence. In addition, a new section of ‘real-life adventures’ shares stories of peril and bravery from personal experience, which will include content from other adventure writers. This initiative, as with the work of the Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation, will preserve and invigorate adventure writing as a genre, and encourage and support future authors.
Wilbur Smith, who is the author of the longest-running series in publishing history, said of the new site: ‘I’m tickled that my fans will be able to explore my fictional universe by taking a digitial adventure through my new look website. It’s almost as exciting as being at the Siege of Khartoum itself! My thanks to the dynamic teams at ThreeKey and my splendid publisher Bonnier Zaffre.’
Stephen Dumughn, Marketing Director at Bonnier Zaffre, said: ‘Wilbur Smith is one of the world’s greatest storytellers and the benchmark for adventure writing that others are measured against, and we’re thrilled that he now has an online home that does justice to the power and excitement of his books. Our aim for Wilbursmithsbooks.com is for it to become the gold standard in author websites – an engaging, immersive and content rich destination that will enable millions of readers around the world to discover more about their favourite author and convert a new generation of fans along the way.’
Jamie Galloway, Director at Threekey who developed the website, stated “The aim was to immerse existing fans in Wilbur's stories whilst also attracting new fans. The concept at the heart of the site was to lead the visitor on their own adventure, beginning with a series of bespoke gateway pages focused on different aspects of Wilbur’s novels - from swashbuckling seafaring to valour in wartime - and leading them to new, in-depth fiction and non-fiction content that provides background to the novels and demonstrates the breadth of the world of Wilbur.
We believe there’s a tremendous opportunity for authors and publishers to more deeply engage both new and existing readers via digital, and that the reader’s journey should start with a compelling website experience built around content which offers genuine standalone value.”