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By The Bookollective Team, Feb 14 2018 10:17AM

Alice Crossland is pictured top left with the other writers who attended.
Alice Crossland is pictured top left with the other writers who attended.

Creative agency Bookollective - who manage #TheAuthorHour hashtag on Twitter - held their first offline Meet-Up in London on Monday this week. Following the success of their online platform, author Alice Crossland had the idea of hosting a regular Meet-Up for writers in London, to motivate each other with an hour of dedicated writing time. Commenting after the event at Waterstones Piccadilly, Alice said: "We had a brilliant inaugural Meet-Up in conjunction with #TheAuthorHour. Six of us enjoyed getting down to an hour of serious writing, after enjoying some coffee and book-related chit-chat!" Next month, #TheAuthorHour Meet-Up will be held on Monday 12th March at Waterstones Piccadilly's 5th View Restaurant between 6.30 - 8.30pm and the second Monday of every month thereafter. #TheAuthorHour was launched by Bookollective in 2016 to provide a free weekly forum for publishers, agents, booksellers and authors to promote their books and share writing advice. Anyone who is interested in attending the next London Meet-Up, or hosting a similar event elsewhere, can tweet @Bookollective or @TheAuthorHour

By The Bookollective Team, Mar 20 2017 10:54AM

Bookollective enjoyed a successful London Book Fair this year, and an equally enjoyable after-party held at Waterstones on Tottenham Court Road. We heard talks from authors, professionals and all our guests had the chance to network among the bookshelves.

Join us for our next event in June 2017. A date will be confirmed and invites sent out very soon.

By The Bookollective Team, Jan 23 2017 01:48PM

Whether you need editing, design or PR support, this new one-stop agency for authors and publishers aims to buck the trend for 'impersonal' service providers.

Bookollective is a new one-stop agency for authors, publishers and book industry professionals supplying editing, cover design and publicity services.

"Once upon a time an editor, a designer and a publicist linked up to help the new wave of independent authors and imprints growing in the publishing industry..." says co-founder Esther Harris, the editor in the equation. "We asked ourselves… would this new wave like to work with a team of professionals in a more streamlined and cohesive way? We could provide them with all the quality and imaginative promotional and production services they want – but without the stress and overhead."

The team

Bookollective's three-woman team has a mix of experience from within and without the book world.

Harris has twenty years' experience as a journalist and publicist and regularly achieves editorial coverage for books and authors in places such as The Guardian,The Daily Mail, Huffington Post, BBC Radio 2, The Jeremy Vine Show and more.

Head of digital and design Aimee Coveney has run her own consultancy for years specialising in cover design, website creation and digital media. She is a regular cotributor to publishing sites including the ALLI Self-Publishing blog and in her spare time reviews ARCs for publishers including Harlequin.

On the media and PR side, Helen McCusker started her career in broadcast journalism for the likes of the BBC before launching her own specialist book publicity agency in 2008. She also runs the @TheAuthorHour Twitter community.

What's the gap in the market?

The Bookollective founders believe that their breadth of expertise that makes them unique. "All authors and publishers need design, PR and editing services and they need a quality, friendly team they can rely on and dip into using on an ‘as and when’ basis," Harris explains. "Not many firms offer our breadth and depth of experience within one team so we started Bookollective as a ‘one stop shop’."

Success so far?

Only launched in November, Bookollective is already drawing on its founders' client list to develop a range of proejcts. "Since launch response to our services from both authors and publishers has been extremely positive and it’s been our busiest Christmas in five years," Harris says. "Normally it can be a quiet time of year but not this time! 2017 is looking bright."

Biggest challenges?

Maintaining the culture which is a big part of Bookollective's appeal. "As we grow and take on new members of the team to meet clients’ needs, I think it will be a challenge to find new staff that share our passion," Harris admits. "Having said that, there is so much talent out there in the industry it is just a case of unearthing the gems who are the right fit for Bookollective and can work alongside us. So it’s a challenge to be relished."

Ultimate ambition?

Harris is evangelical about not just what work the team does, but how they do it - especially in an anonymous digital age. "We feel strongly that there are too many ‘impersonal’ service providers out there, and we hope our close knit, caring team offers a feeling of confidence and satisfaction for everyone we work with," she explains. "We’d also like to bring on board more freelancers, connect with the wider writing industry and build Bookollective into an even stronger, friendly book community. Writing is isolating and the industry can be tough to break into – so lets support each other."

Advice to other publishing entrepreneurs?

"'Stick to the knitting' as the saying goes. As long as you are pursuing something you care passionately about, where you can really make a difference, you won’t go too far wrong – but never forget what makes you special. When you are starting up, it’s easy to get swept up in growing a business, meeting new people, new service lines, and so on. So sttick to the knitting!"

By The Bookollective Team, Jan 13 2017 11:05AM

Bookollective’s Esther Harris is thrilled to be signed up as a mentor with The WoMentoring Project. This project, run by author Kerry Hudson, offers free mentoring by professional literary women to talented up and coming female writers who would otherwise find it difficult to access similar opportunities.

Kerry said: "Our mission has always been simple: to introduce successful literary women to other women writers at the beginning of their careers who would benefit from some insight, knowledge and support.”

Esther said: “I’m thrilled to join the mentors at The WoMentoring Project. Writing a book and wrestling with creative demons is tough enough - then you realise that to give your story the best chance you now have to navigate the whole publishing process too! Its a daunting prospect - so I’m joining WoMentoring to offer rookie writers with potential some sage advice and support to help them realise - yes, you CAN do this."

Esther’s profile is at


For more information go to @womentoringproject womentoringproject.co.uk

By The Bookollective Team, Nov 2 2016 03:29PM

Written by Rob Keeley, writer of the Spirits series

I’ll start with the truth: I was nervous about doing events. Picture me in 2012, one book independently published (The Alien in the Garage), another in press (The (Fairly) Magic Show) and my author profile giving a whole new meaning to the word “unknown”. I’d never done a signing and my last storytelling had been as a volunteer classroom assistant over a decade earlier. I had well-meaning friends who didn’t want me getting hurt.

'Rob, there’ll be no one there. I’ve seen authors in bookshops. Sitting at tables all on their own, with a pile of books and everyone walking past. Unless you’re a name you’ve got no chance.”

So The Alien in the Garage had no launch (ironically, considering it drives a spaceship). By the time of The (Fairly) Magic Show I had about two reviews online and my website had entertained less than a thousand visitors. I felt it was time to raise the profile a bit, and I got in touch with our local independent bookstore about giving the book a proper premiere, complete with signing.

But would anyone come?

It’s 9am on Tuesday 27th September 2016 and I’m heading for our town’s central library. I have three classes of Year Sixes coming today. In my backpack are a hundred promotional leaflets about my new ghostly novel for children, The Sword of the Spirit. In my pocket is a memory stick containing a flying alien, some silly trumpets and all my cover designs. In other words, The Making of a Book, a PowerPoint presentation I created, which I’ve now used with several different classes. I then hold a question and answer session and turn the discussion around to my latest epic, at which point the leaflets come out. I’ve now done lots of workshops with kids, and you’re never quite sure how they’re going to react. The author nerves never quite go away. But it’s the enthusiasm, the gazing at the book covers with “That looks really cool”, the interesting and insightful questions which spur you on.

So. I enter their fantastic children’s library, watched over by a Dalek from their Doctor Who day. I help set up the laptop and projector. And five minutes later, the children arrive...

I still remember that first day at the bookstore. They had arranged my table beautifully, had notices in the window and I couldn’t quite believe the author’s name on the blackboard outside was mine. I sat for ten or fifteen minutes, no one came, and I began to think the naysayers had been right.

And then came a lady buying books for her grandchildren.

“He loves magic... is that what it’s all about?” I explained that only the first story in the book was about magic. “He likes stories at bedtime... the younger one’s not so keen...” I explained bite-size short tales like this were ideal for reluctant readers.

'OK, I’ll have one.”

Sale. I sign a copy (I’m so on edge my name looks like Boob Kiwi) and she takes it off to the till. I’m stunned, but don’t have time to be, because two other customers have already appeared, and one is translating the book’s title into Spanish for the other.

Maybe the day will be a success, after all.

2.30pm at the library and I’m onto my third workshop of the day. Things are going well. My audience is a group of highly intelligent ten- and eleven-year-olds who join with enthusiasm in a Creative Writing game allowing them to create a story of their own. The PowerPoint was successful, despite my accidentally creating two new blank slides halfway through, and now we’re onto Q&A. I always involve a young audience as much as possible, both during the presentation and in the questions after it.

I find out what they like to read. They mention everything from Enid Blyton to Lemony Snicket. I’m hoping no one uses that old chestnut about “Where do you get your ideas from?” because I haven’t a clue. They ask my favourite authors, how long it takes to write a book, and even my motto (I think it’s “Keep trying”).

They don’t know I’m an indie author. And neither would they care. All the literary barriers are put up by adults, making decisions on readers’ behalf. At this age, all I see are optimism, openness and a willingness to read.

I think we adults may lose something along the way.

Back in 2012 at the bookstore, it’s lunchtime and I’ve sold ten of our twenty-five copies. They kindly bring me tea and a toastie from the coffee shop, so I can carry on. Hunger, thirst and the rain bring more people in and more books are being sold. Everyone seems incredibly impressed to get an author-signed copy. I’m gaining in confidence and am now able to engage in lengthy conversation about the book. We head towards twenty copies and I pre-sign the remainder, so the store will have something to sell to any latecomers.

At the end of the day I’m invited back.

The final workshop is over. As the class leaves, I’m positively mobbed. There’s a queue to borrow my books from the library so I donate more copies. I give the leaflets out. One young reader wants his leaflet signed, then so does everyone.

The lovely librarian thanks me for coming. I tell her – as I told the kids – that I’m hosting my latest book launch at the bookstore this Saturday, 1 October, on the first day of the Wirral Arts Festival. I have now had this slot for four years and my sales have grown year on year, with the store’s most successful ever signings. I have another library booking coming up and we’re going to invite the kids for creative writing and a quiz. I leave the library, well satisfied.

Then I get home and find yet another literary agent has turned me down.

I read their standard rejection email, and find myself wondering whether I’m really the same author who’s just spent the day talking to ninety kids who loved my work. One hour ago I was signing autographs.

Is anyone in the literary world watching?

Is there anybody there?

Fast-forward to mid-October 2016. I’m back home, updating my website and my CV. My options for personal appearances now include author workshops, writing activities, storytelling, live interviews or just an informal chat about books and authoring. I’ve been long listed for two awards, highly commended for a third and nominated for the People’s Book Prize. I’ve learned a lot since 2012.

Mainly, about the author’s need to be seen. Promoting your work deserves at least as much of your time as writing it. The only way we indie authors can keep the flame alive is to do the school visits, the book clubs, the library talks, the lit fests – showing the agents and the publishers there is a market for our work. And when we’re not there in person we need to be on the forums, the social media, our websites and our blogs. It’s a multimedia age that attaches great importance to image. We not only have to do, but be seen to do.

See you there.

Rob Keeley

Rob’s books for children are published by Troubador Publishing. For more information, visit www.robkeeley.co.uk or follow Rob on Twitter @RobKeeleyAuthor.

By The Bookollective Team, Oct 31 2016 04:14PM

Written by Esther Harris

Once upon a time. When you hear these four words you think Story. Adventure. Sit down, put all other thoughts to one side and let your imagination play…

At Bookollective, these are our favourite four words. They also signify the start of our new adventure together. Experienced freelancers in our own right, Aimee, Helen and I started linking up frequently on projects and at author events and noticed how our services and styles could be complimentary. The publishing industry was changing. Publishers were streamlining and outsourcing roles they’d traditionally done in-house and they were also having to admit; we don’t know it all, there ARE other ways of finding vast amounts of readers around the world. The success of self-published authors such as E L James, Lisa Genova and Hugh Howey made it impossible to deny. Their breakthroughs excited a whole wave of independent authors and publishers, who saw their chance to show their credibility too. Timing is everything and we asked ourselves: why don’t we see if this ‘new wave’ would like to work with a book editor, book designer and book publicist in a more streamlined and cohesive way? We could provide them with all the quality and imaginative promotional services they want – but without the stress and overhead. It turns out they did. Bookollective is the joining of our three narratives and the start of a whole new chapter together.

It’s a really exciting time for us and the response so far has been over-whelmingly positive. We are full of anticipation to bring something new to the world of books at a really interesting time for the sector – as the industry finally REALLY wakes up. We are thrilled to add our talents into the mix. We have an instinctive understanding of how to build an author’s book and brand, and keep it alive long after publication. We look forward to meeting you on our journey.

If you have any questions about our team, our services or would like to discuss working with us, please get in touch or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Favourite book:

To Kill A Mockingbird 

by Harper Lee


Best tip for authors:

Tell me your life story. It's the personal ups and downs and how you've overcome them that sometimes help us pitch you and the book.


Publishing career highlight:

My first byline in The Mirror and ghost writing a newspaper feature for a client that saw her get a phone call from the Defence Secretary saying how impressed he was.


Our aim for the Bookollective blog is to provide honest and informative articles to help everyone within the industry and book world. Our team will regularly contribute articles, but we will also invite guest bloggers. If you would like to guest blog for us, get in touch via the contact page.


You can also find out a little more about our team below!




Favourite book:

Pride and Prejudice 

by Jane Austen


Best tip for authors:

Good design is good business; it builds your brand and conveys professionalism. As an author, your book is your business; don't let your hard work down with poor presentation.


Publishing career highlight:

Getting my first award for cover design! It's always an amazing feeling when you're acknowledged for doing something you love.




Favourite book:

The Tiger Who Came

to Tea by Judith Kerr


Best tip for authors:

You are unique and so is your book, so create a unique publicity campaign that suits you. Most importantly, don’t quit - I always tell my authors that writing their book is actually the ‘easy’ bit, promotion takes patience and determination.


Publishing career highlight:

I was proud to be selected as a finalist in the Publisher’s Publicity Circle Awards for one of my paperback non-fiction campaigns, but my career highlight has to be winning the title of Young Business Person of the Year at the Inspire Business Awards.

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