Simon’s made another foray in to the world of podcasting, this time joining Mark Stay over at The Bestseller Experiment.
The Bestseller Experiment is a weekly podcast presented by Mark Stay and Mark Desvaux, in which they talk with leading lights from the publishing industry, million-selling, chart-topping authors such as Michael Connelly, Joanne Harris, Bryan Cranston, Ian Rankin, John Connolly, Scott Lynch, Michelle Paver, Maria Semple, million-selling indie sensation Shannon Mayer, agents, editors, and social media experts. And Simon!
Simon’s podcast was one of the podcasts’s trademark ‘Deep Dives’, and was all about the challenges facing authors when it comes to their websites (a topic on which we do have some experience). We answered questions from Bestseller Experiment subscribers, and hopefully helped them focus on the issues that really matter.
Last year we were asked by renowned UK-based editorial consultancy service The Literary Consultancy (TLC) to come and work with them to help them streamline their website offering and assist their users to navigate more easily to the services and content relevant to them.
The work consisted of:
Initial desk research, and planning a workshop where we could explore all of the different approaches that service providers can take to Information Architecture
Delivery of the workshop (armed with copious quantities of sticky notes, a whiteboard, flash-cards and LOTS of biscuits)
Writing up the chosen approach, including creating sample wireframes that could be used to brief TLC’s incumbent web developers
The new website is now live, incorporating a much simpler home page which signposts users to the key service areas, and the Writers’ Wizard, which helps writers work out where they are in their writing journey and how TLC can help them.
TLC Director Aki Schilz explains how the process worked for them:
“Following a strategic review of the business in 2018, we realised that whilst the design elements of our website still felt fresh, the overall site ‘journey’ didn’t quite chime with the writer journey we’d been tracking for some time. We wanted it to be upmarket, but approachable (like us!) and to genuinely help writers, pointing them to various resources, links, and a whole load of useful content which we hadn’t quite organised properly. We were also extremely excited about various new elements we were keen to introduce, but didn’t want to overload the site. Simon was absolutely fantastic. He read through our branding and marketing briefs, totally understood what we wanted, and gave brilliant, creative suggestions for a range of solutions, which either his team could implement, or we could go back to our web team with. 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. The whole thing came together organically, but was also time-efficient, and targeted. The net result is a gorgeous website that’s zippier, and that writers can really feel supported through navigating. And, we’ve a funky little Writers’ Wizard which we’re particularly proud of, and which was Simon’s original idea. Thank you, Bookswarm!”
A WordPress Theme is a collection of files that work together to produce a graphical interface with an underlying unifying design for a website or blog. These files are called template files. A Theme modifies the way the site is displayed, without modifying the underlying WordPress software.
“Bookswarm were quick to understand the kind of look and the level of functionality I wanted for my website, and delivered it quickly and professionally. I’d highly recommend them.”
Michelle Harrison, author of the Thirteen Secrets trilogy (Simon & Schuster)
“Bookswarm made everything straightforward. My author site is great to look at, well-designed and easy to find your way around. Excellent WordPress training and support guaranteed to give even the most reluctant operator like me the confidence to add content and manage the site by themselves.”
Jennifer Gray, author of the Atticus Claw series for children (Faber)
“Simon and his colleagues at Bookswarm were fantastic when building a website for my freelance editorial business. They were knowledgeable, expert and professional in a real, human, warm and patient kind of way. Bookswarm know exactly what they are doing, they do it brilliantly and so I was able to get on with doing my ‘thing’. Use them… you’ll live happily ever after!”
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.