Looking back on 2016

2016 has been a busy year for Bookswarm. Simon Appleby looks back…

Don’t mention Brexit, don’t mention Trump, don’t mention Brexit, don’t mention Trump, don’t mention Brexit, don’t mention Trump. Putting events that shall not be named to one side, 2016 has been a busy and successful year for Bookswarm, and I thought it would be nice to look back and reflect on some of our work.

2016 has seen 40 new projects added to our portfolio, with clients encompassing everything from children’s poetry to high-end PR.

snap-2016-09-16-at-11-31-12It’s certainly been a productive year delivering new websites for some of the UK’s leading independent publishers:

  • April saw the launch of a new web presence for Saraband – the start of an exciting year for them which included the shortlisting of Graeme Macrae Burnet’s His Bloody Project for the 2016 Man Booker Prize.
  • In June, we launched the new Belgravia Books Collective site, which replaced separate sites for Gallic Books and its bookshop. Belgravia. Gallic Books are one of our oldest clients, so it was great to be able to revisit their sites in line with their changing needs and the new capabilites of WordPress, as well as providing a home on the web for new imprint Aardvark Bureau. Combining all the sites in one makes sense, as the publishers can offer all of their own titles for direct sale, under the umbrella of the bookshop’s larger inventory.
  • In October it was the turn of South-coast illustrated publishers Summersdale. Their new site is updated on a nightly basis with a feed from their Stison bibliographic data system, and we made a site which reflects the entertaining, informative and innovative values at the heart of their publishing.
  • In November we launched a new site for Atlantic Books. Driven by a feed from their Biblio system, the Atlantic site encompasses four different imprints. Each imprint has its own home page within the site, and the correct imprint branding is automatically used for each book.
  • Last but not least, we launched a new e-commerce website for Alma Books. As with Atlantic Books, the site is organised to reflect Alma’s five imprints.
  • Further afield, we also created a new website for Hoopoe, a new imprint of the American University in Cairo Press, and an e-commerce website for Wisconsin, USA-based specialist educational publisher Christopherus Homeschool Resources.

Snap 2016-08-26 at 10.28.00In our work for authors, we’ve covered a diverse range of writers. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Our website for K L Slater, is actually the second site we have made for the same author. Having already created a site for Kim Slater’s young adult books, her new site supports her psychological thrillers for adults.
  • Lloyd Clark is an historian, lecturer and broadcaster specialising in military history. We created a new site to showcase both his publishing and his broadcasting work, including doing Who Do You Think You Are? with Paul Hollywood.
  • Paul Bright is a children’s writer and poet, who has published many picture books for children as well as poetry for kids. Paul has also written for school reading programmes, CBeebies radio and BBC web sites, and had stories broadcast on CBeebies TV and CITV’s Bookaboo. We designed and built a website to showcase Paul’s work, including his contribution to the official Winnie-the-Pooh sequel The Best Bear in all the World.
  • Anne Holt is a journalist, lawyer, politician, news anchor and crime writer, published by Atlantic Books in the UK. This new website promoted Anne and her work ahead of the broadcast of a new television adaptation of her work, Modus, on BBC4.

Snap 2016-07-07 at 08.05.02The broader category of microsites and imprint sites encompasses any project designed to promote a particular list or book. Some favourites include:

  • Chambers – we took an existing site based on a different Content Management System and migrated it to take advantage of WordPress, whilst retaining key existing functionalities like the crossword solver. We also made it mobile friendly for the first time.
  • We were very pleased to help Walker Books on their book designed to encourage the next generation of coders, Get CodingThis site included easy management of the code samples that were referenced in various places in the book.
  • Also for Walker Books, we created promotional sites for Girl Out of Water and Moonlight Dreamersboth of which were very visual and tied in to the respective designs of the books

Looking up from the keyboard, we exhibited at London Book Fair 2016, where I did a panel about how authors could get the most out of social media, and Alex volunteered at WordCamp. WordPress has made it to version 4.7, we rolled out a new support system, and we’ve been working on loads of projects which will see the light of day in the first few weeks and months of 2017, including sites for Wasafiri Magazine, Pavilion Books and Michael O’Mara Books. It’s all fun and games!

We wish all of our clients a prosperous 2017, and look forward to working with clients new and existing. I will be writing another post soon to talk about some of the big things we will be focusing on in the coming year.

All the best,

Simon Appleby
Managing Director