Hi, I’m Simon Appleby

If you need help creating or evolving a website… you’re in the right place!

I run the only digital agency in the UK dedicated to delivering website and e-commerce projects for publishers, authors, literary agents and other book-related businesses. I’ve been doing this for ages, and have worked with loads of great publishers and amazing authors during that time.

I really understand publishing (I spent several years working in-house for a publisher you’ve probably heard of), so you don’t have to educate me about ONIX feeds, AI sheets, ARCs, TCM figures or ISBNs. This means we can spend more time talking about what you actually want to achieve with your project.

Although we’re based in the UK, we have worked with clients all around the world – from the USA and Canada to Egypt and New Zealand.

"Simon has an almost psychic ability to understand exactly what you need. If you’re an author or a publishing company and need a new website, Simon is your man!”

Justine Solomons, founder, Byte The Book

How Bookswarm can help you

Branding and design

We develop brand identities for publishing startups and self-published authors, and we can design all of the supporting marketing materials required for any campaign, including print and social media. 

Website design and build

We design and build beautiful, bespoke websites for publishers, authors and other organisations and individuals in the worlds of books and publishing.

We mostly use WordPress to make our sites easy for clients to manage, capable of evolving over time and good value.

We also work with Shopify for customers who want to customise its simple e-commerce framework.

Consultancy and advice

We use our publishing knowledge and creative and technical skills to offer consultancy services – whether it’s developing digital strategies or working out how to take advantage of the latest technologies.


Training and support

All of our clients receive a hands-on training session and as much remote support as they require to feel comfortable with their new website.

Our ‘Ninja Support’ plugin gives all clients the ability to ask for help from directly within their website.

Read our full, detailed proposals

Author websites

We’ve put everything you need to know about creating an author website with Bookswarm into this online proposal – including details of scope, process, timing and cost. Explore our portfolio, hear from past clients and decide if we’re the web agency for you.

Campaign microsites

We’ve put everything you need to know about creating easy campaign microsites with Bookswarm into this online proposal – including details of scope, process, timing and cost. Explore our portfolio, hear from past clients and decide if we’re the web agency for you.

“Simon is wonderful to work with. We enjoyed every bit of the process and are more than elated with the final result. We love our website! Thank you, Simon.”

Elizabeth and Sukey Novogratz, authors

Recent projects

We’re proud of our body of work. Here are some of our recent projects.

Don’t take our word for it…

At Bookswarm we value our reputation for delivering great work that keeps clients happy. Here’s what some of them have to say about the experience of working with us.

“Designing a new site and keeping continuity with my old one was a seamless process with Bookswarm from start to finish. Simon and his team were incredibly clear, responsive and inventive as they kept pace with my many questions and challenges. They immediately understood my brief and fulfilled it to the letter, and the result is I now have a website completely fit for purpose, with a lovely welcoming design, that is also very simple for me to manage and update. The support has been great too. I would recommend without reservation.”

Piers Torday


“I find Simon and Bookswarm to be responsive, creative, easy to work with, eager to interpret my vision in an appropriate way, and above all prompt.  I am in safe hands. Bottom line – the page they created helped secure the signing of Lap Of Honour.”

Tim Hain

Author, Lap of Honour

“Hugely knowledgeable, practically minded and super-responsive – what more could you want? Simon and all the team at Bookswarm are a genuine pleasure to work with.”

Pete Duncan

Managing Director, Duckworth Books Group

“Simon was absolutely fantastic. His approach was open-hearted, and I felt he really understood what TLC is about, rather than simply rushing in with ‘design solutions’ that had little resonance with our ethos.”

Aki Schilz

Director, The Literary Consultancy

“We opted to completely overhaul our previous website and Bookswarm made the process very straightforward – particularly impressive considering we transferred a lot of content from the old site. They were happy to invest lots of time working with us on the design until we had things exactly right. We’re delighted with our new website and have had glowing feedback from our authors. The ongoing support has been great, too.”

Megan Palmer

Digital Manager and Administrator, Felicity Bryan Associates

“Bookswarm … know how an author’s site needs to work. They know about books. They know about design. They know about websites. (And a whole load of other stuff). I am a very happy customer!”

Virginia Bergin


Fun Bookswarm Facts

Some things you might like to know about us

Mates' rates

We offer discounts on our standard packages to members of Byte The Book and The Empowered Author.

Authors represented by our literary agent clients are also entitled to a discount.

Make sure to tell us when you contact us.

At your service

All of our WordPress sites feature our Bookswarm Ninja Support plugin – so help is only a click away, and you don’t even have to leave the Dashboard.

Member of IPAC

Bookswarm is a member of the Independent Publishing Agency Collective.

IPAC is an association of like-minded independent companies that work for and within the book industry. It offers a diverse and comprehensive list of services for publishers, authors, booksellers, agents and many others involved in the book world.

We can work co-operatively with other IPAC members on multi-faceted projects.

Ten Years, Ten Things

It’s been over ten years since I started Bookswarm. In that time, we have designed and built a lot of websites. We have made a lot of mistakes. And we have learned a lot of lessons.

When we turned 10, I sat down to reflect on all of our experiences, and to try and and identify some of the key lessons. So, behold, the result, which I have modestly chosen to call… Appleby’s Laws!

News from Bookswarm Towers

Reflections on lockdown

Reflections on lockdown

We hope you're staying safe and well during this strange and uniquely challenging time. It seems like a different life when I was stressing about whether I should attend meetings in London, practicing social distancing in pitches and getting concerned about the...

Web Design in the Time of Covid-19*

Web Design in the Time of Covid-19*

We're certainly living in strange and uncertain times - and we hope all of our lovely clients are staying safe (and sane) during this challenging time for the world. As Bookswarm has always been a virtual team, where we're all based in our own home offices, we haven't...

Bookswarm will not be attending London Book Fair 2020

Bookswarm will not be attending London Book Fair 2020

We have made the difificult decision not to attend this year's London International Book Fair in light of the rapidly emerging coronoavirus outbreak. As veterans of many book fairs, we have seen how they can be fertile ground for transmission of ordinary coughs and...

Meet with Bookswarm at London Book Fair 2020

Meet with Bookswarm at London Book Fair 2020

London BooK Fair is almost upon us once again, and Simon will be there, as he has been every year since 2008! If you'd like to take the opportunity to meet and discuss a project, or just find out more about how Bookswarm might be able to help you, please do get in...

Bookswarm sponsors Confluence

Bookswarm sponsors Confluence

Bookswarm is a proud sponsor of Byte The Book's Confluence, which is running for the second time in February 2020.Tickets are still available, so come along and get inspired (and say hello to us, of course!). 7 February 2020 @ Google Academy, LondonA one...

New partnership with Clean Prose

New partnership with Clean Prose

Clean Prose is London’s first co-working space designed specifically for writers, offering a quiet and inspiring workspace for authors and creatives - and Bookswarm is really excited to announce a partnership with them which will deliver benefits both for...

“Simon and his group have a great system for authors to express their creativity and passion through their website. If you are an author in need of a site to highlight your writing and other work, Simon is the right guy for you!”

Matthew S. Bennett, speaker, trainer, author

Meet the Bookswarm Team

Simon Appleby

Simon Appleby


Simon Appleby is the founder and Managing Director of Bookswarm, the only digital agency in the UK dedicated to delivering projects for publishers, authors and others in the world of books.

Simon has spoken at the Publishing Scotland conference and the Faber Factory conference, contributed to the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, and created and delivered a course on digital project development for the Publishing Training Centre.

Simon’s career in digital media started in 1998, and he gained experience of digital project delivery for a range of clients while working for a number of digital agencies. In 2009 he went ‘client-side’, where as Digital Projects Manager for Octopus Publishing Group, he gained invaluable inside experience of the publishing world.

Simon is a keen reader of many types of writing, both fiction and non-fiction.

Alex Knight

Alex Knight

Technical Lead

Alex is a web developer. She has worked at digital media agencies in London and Birmingham and more recently has chosen to freelance. She is passionate about creating pixel perfect websites, being skilled in both back and frontend coding.

She enjoys reading a variety of genres, with sci-fi and fantasy being favourites, and tends to have a couple of books on the go at once. Despite being a bit of a geek when it comes to owning gadgets she still prefers a real book to a Kindle.

Alex loves the sea, and lives in south Devon where she grew up. When not in front of a computer she can be found kayaking, sailing or exploring Dartmoor.

Hazel Miles

Hazel Miles

Creative Lead

Hazel is a tea-fueled Graphic Designer of many years experience.

Hazel has experience in a range of design disciplines. Starting out in design for print, she moved into web design, and retail and packaging design before deciding that it was time to branch out on her own. Working for herself Hazel has found greater creative freedom and enjoys working with a purring cat inches from her keyboard.

Although Hazel feels the Kindle is “a marvellous invention” she is adamant that she will always read the printed word… unless it’s one of the many blogs she follows. Hazel has more books than time but when she does find time to read Hazel enjoys a wide range of genres with a particular fondness for the classics.

“Authors should look no further: Bookswarm completely understand our needs.”

Annabel Kantaria, author

Contact Bookswarm

Want to get in touch? Use the option that suits you best. You can…

  • Use the live chat facility
  • E-mail us on [email protected]
  • Call us on +44 (0) 7847 912989
  • Fill in the contact form

We’d love to hear from you!

“Simon and the Bookswarm team are always a delight to work with. Receiving an email from them is usually the highlight of my work day!"

Laura Jones, Bloody Scotland

Free downloads

Free White Papers and downloadable resources which help demystify the process of developing WordPress sites.


Selling Books Online

Download our FREE cheat sheet, showing you all the linking formats you need for different book retailers’ websites, along with information about affililate schemes and other handy tricks.

What does GDPR mean for your website?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) represents the biggest shake up of data protection legislation for many years, designed to strengthen and unify data protection for all individuals within the European Union (EU). Ahead of GDPR coming in to force, we have been working with a number of our clients to ensure their websites are GDPR-ready. Here are some of the things we think you need to know.

Commissioning Author Websites with WordPress: Ten Things We Learned (So You Don’t Have To)

The world of WordPress is booming. In fact, it’s estimated WordPress now runs HALF of all websites that have a Content Management System (CMS). For your WordPress project, you can choose to work with any of a wide range of designers, developers, agencies and hosting companies; not to mention a thriving ecosystem of good-value themes, free and premium plugins and other goodies. This cornucopia of choices can be overwhelming. So, we’ve tried to make it easier for you. Next time you commission a WordPress project, or recommend to your authors that they explore the possibilities of WordPress, here are ten tips for you to consider.

Selling With WordPress: Easy E-Commerce Options for Authors and Publishers

Bookswarm has built its business around WordPress, and one of the things we’re often asked by clients to work on is e-commerce. With the range of options widening we thought we’d provide a tour of some of the solutions out there, and look at some of the issues and challenges specific to the world of publishing, and to selling books online.

"Simon and his team have been superb to work with and we’re delighted with the final website – it really does look better than we could have hoped for.”

Sara Hunt, Publisher, Saraband