New site launch: Ali Knight

We’re pleased to announce the launch of Ali Knight’s official author website – based on a custom WordPress theme designed and implemented by Bookswarm. Ali’s debut novel, Wink Murder, was published by Hodder & Stoughton earlier this year and shortly comes out in paperback. The site, made welcoming though it is by Rankin’s splendid photo of Ali on the home page, deliberately has ‘something of the night’ about it.

Visit the site

Independent Alliance sets up bookshop loyalty card scheme

As reported on The Bookseller’s website today, The Independent Alliance has launched a nationwide loyalty card scheme for independent bookshops, with 114 indies signed up so far – and Bookswarm has been central to the delivery of the project.

Love Your Indie, which will be run in association with the Guardian and Observer as part of their Books Season, has been put together by Faber marketing director Joanna Ellis and Icon Books sales and marketing director Andrew Furlow, working with Bookswarm’s Operations Director Simon Appleby.

Customers receive a stamp for every £10 they spend in the participating shops. Once they have collected 10 stamps, they can then pick a free book from a selection provided by Independent Alliance publishers.

More than half a million blank Love Your Indie loyalty cards will be distributed with the Guardian on Saturday 1st October, giving customers a 20% discount on their first purchase of any books in participating shops until mid-November. Retailers will register and verify customers’ cards on www.loveyourindie.co.uk, and posters, bookmarks, window stickers and extra loyalty cards have been posted to participating retailers ahead of launch.

Faber sales and marketing director Will Atkinson said: “The Independent Alliance has a close and extremely fruitful relationship with independent booksellers, one that we value enormously. We were keen to find a way to help them encourage more and more book lovers to come through their doors, and to spend money when they do so. Thanks to the association with the Guardian, this is exactly what the Love Your Indie scheme does and we’re delighted to be launching it at the start of October.”

Vivian Archer of Newham Bookshop, which is signed up to the scheme, said: “The card is exactly what the independent sector needs to drive people into our shops and remind them why nothing beats the brilliant service, lovingly selected range, and ambience that only independent booksellers can provide. I look forward to our customers using the card for years.”

New site launch: This World of Dew

Something rather more sedate and peaceful to report on now: the launch of Marcel Theroux’s new site. He wanted something calming that reflected his interests without being an ego trip – so we created line drawings based on details his study at home.

Visit the site

New site launch: Faber Finds

Bookswarm’s latest project has taken to the skies today – a new blog for Faber’s fabulous Faber Finds imprint.

Faber Finds | The Place for Lost Books

When Faber decided to move across from a blog hosted on WordPress.com, they asked Bookswarm to create a bespoke new theme to reflect the new jacket designs for these lovely print-on-demand books – all designed, tweaked, built and launched in under two weeks!

New site launch: Saul David

Bookswarm has launched a new website for Saul David, who writes history books published by Penguin and historical fiction published by Hodder & Stoughton. Reflecting this split, as well as his other roles as broadcaster and lecturer, were a central part of the brief.

Visit the site: Saul David, Historian, Novelist & Broadcaster

New website launched for William Hussey

Bookswarm has designed and built a new website for William Hussey, purveyor of the finest spooky books for young adults. Bill wanted something spooky, so he got a ram’s skull with glowing blue eyes – job done!

Take a look: William Hussey

Hector’s second journey

Bookswarm has designed a new version of  www.hectorsjourneys.com for Gallic Books. The new version of the site celebrates Hector and the Secrets of Love. In his follow-up to the multi-million-selling Hector and the Search for Happiness, acclaimed writer and psychiatrist, François Lelord, offers us a new fable filled with thoughtful insights into the very human desire to find and keep love.

Just what is the secret formula for love? Hector, our intrepid psychiatrist, sets off on a new globe-trotting mission – and this time he’s looking for LOVE.

One of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies has employed him to track down their brilliant scientist, Professor Cormorant, who has disappeared abroad with the secret of a modern-day love potion. Leaving behind his troubled relationship with girlfriend Clara, Hector’s adventure takes him to the Far East and into the arms of beautiful Vayla, forcing our hero to think deeply about what love really is/means.

Chris Cleave tells it like it is

When we asked Chris Cleave, New York Times bestselling author, to say a few words about the work we do for him in hosting and supporting his WordPress website, we didn’t expect him to say over 300 very nice words indeed – but he did, and it would a cruel shame not to share them.

I first met Simon from Bookswarm when he was doing some work on my UK publisher’s website, and when I had problems optimising chriscleave.com for search engines I turned to him for help. He was fantastic, and solved all my problems on the double.

A few months later my website was hacked on the eve of an important promotional tour for my book, and I phoned Simon at 9 pm on a Friday evening to see if he could help. He could. He dropped everything and had my site back online that night. Professionalism like that is extremely rare, I think, and when you experience it you don’t tend to forget.

I have now transferred the hosting of chriscleave.com to Bookswarm, and I’m delighted with the way they host it. The site is faster, even under heavy traffic, and there has been none of the trouble with hackers and downtime that I was experiencing with my previous host (one of the biggest hosts in the US).

I design and run my own website using WordPress templates, but I’m not an expert, and Bookswarm help me out whenever I run into trouble or get in over my head. They also run a quarterly health-check to make sure I’m running the latest versions of plug-ins, and to see that everything is in order. I’m very impressed with how they operate. I think Bookswarm are unique in that they combine technical and creative expertise with a can-do spirit and an understanding of what writers, readers and publishers need from the web.

The most meaningful endorsement I can give of Bookswarm is that since I started using them, I haven’t lost a single day to technical heartaches. That leaves me free to write. Running the website has once more become what it should be – an enjoyable way for me to stay in touch with my readers and listen to what they have to say, without fretting that the darned thing is going to break all the time. I can’t recommend Bookswarm highly enough.

Shucks. That is all…

Bookswarm helps out World Book Night

We have been helping out the team organising World Book Night, providing them with advice and support on how to get the best out of WordPress, which powers their recruitment site at www.worldbooknight.org. In case you haven’t heard, here’s about the event:

World Book Night represents the most ambitious and far-reaching celebration of adult books and reading ever attempted in the UK and Ireland.

On Saturday, 5 March 2011, two days after World Book Day, with the full support of the Publishers Association, the Booksellers Association, the Independent Publishers Guild, the Reading Agency with libraries, World Book Day, the BBC and RTE, one million books will be given away by an army of passionate readers to members of the public across the UK and Ireland.

Bookswarm is pleased to have been able to provide support for this venture.

Bookswarm builds Christina Hopkinson’s new site

We are very pleased to have designed and built a new website for Hodder author Christina Hopkinson – stage one, which is now live, is a one-page microsite but this will soon be expanding to a full blog. Christina’s new book, The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs, will be published by Hodder & Stoughton in March 2011.

Visit the site

New H&S imprint Two Roads launches

Lisa HightonHodder & Stoughton’s Lisa Highton today announced the launch of their new Two Roads imprint – and we are proud to say that Bookswarm was responsible for designing and building their WordPress-based website.

We look forward to seeing the fruits of their labours when the first books hit the shops in 2011!

Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2011 hits the shops…

…and we’re in it! For the second year running, the bestselling writing guide and directory features an article written by Mathew and Simon all about how authors can effectively promote themselves online.

Online bookshop | Writers and Artists