Coming soon: social media campaign for crime author M. R. Hall

January 28th will see the launch of a new social media campaign for PanMacmillan crime author M.R. Hall, whose fifth Jenny Cooper crime novel, The Chosen Dead, publishes at the same time.

The theme of the campaign is Seven Secrets of Successful Crime Writing – and aspiring Agatha Christies and wannabe Ruth Rendells will have much to learn from a writer who has been nominated twice for the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger for best novel of the year, and who is also a BAFTA-nominated screen-writer and producer, having written more than forty hours of prime time drama for BBC 1 and ITV.

Bookswarm has been busy shooting and editing exclusive video clips and designing and developing the social media campaign to deliver them, thus driving new readers to discover M.R. Hall and Jenny Cooper.

Watch this space for an update when the campaign launches…

Bookswarm sponsors BookMachine Unplugged

Bookswarm is proud to sponsor the next BookMachine Unplugged, which takes place at 6.30 PM on the 21st February 2013 at 229 The Venue , 229 Great Portland Street, London.

BookMachine Unplugged is an event series which celebrates the culture of collaboration within the publishing industry.

Speakers are invited along to talk openly about their publishing experiences and the big projects they’ve worked on: what they’ve done well, what they’ve learned, and what they’ll do differently next time. It’s a chance to meet others facing similar work challenges, in a strictly informal setting. Speakers this time are John Bond (Whitefox), Michael Bhaskar (Profile), Sheila Bounford (Off the Page) and Robin Wood (Anova).

Tickets are on sale now. We hope to meet you there!

Brand development and website for small press Patrician

Bookswarm has created a brand identity and WordPress-powered website for newly launched independent publisher Patrician Press.

The philosophy and aim of the Patrician Press is to encourage and promote high-quality fiction and poetry written by new authors whose original literary talent is being neglected by mainstream publishers and agents.  They are small, independent and courageous. Patrician Press aim to be philanthropic rather than profit-driven. Titles will be made available initially as e-books at competitive prices to appreciative readers and then, hopefully, as printed books.

As well as developing the logo and creating the website, Bookswarm also designed the covers for Patrician’s first four titles.

Visit the website

Bookswarm provided integrated branding design and build services for small publishers. If you think we can help you, do get in touch.

New site launch: Publishing Connections

Publishing Connections Ltd was founded in 2012 by Alistair Burtenshaw, previously Director of the London Book Fair for 10 years until September 2012, to support the global publishing sector at a time of great change in the way in which books and written content are produced, distributed and consumed.

Alistair is passionate about the global books and publishing sector and believes profoundly in the power of the written word in all its forms. He is a firm believer in the transformative value of publishers in a fast evolving world of content consumption.

Bookswarm developed a brand identity for Publishing Connections to reflect the global, interconnected nature of today’s publishing world and taking account of cultural sensitivities in key world markets. We then applied the new identity to company stationery and designed and built a website to reflect the company’s portfolio of services and international experience (including sections in Chinese and Spanish).

Visit the website

Once more unto the classroom…

Simon’s been back at the Publishing Training Centre for a second outing of Developing Digital Products the User-Centred Way with co-tutor Zelda Rhiando. If you would like to learn about the digital product lifecycle and how to apply user-centred design techniques to your digital products, the course runs twice in 2013. Find out more and book.

Nudge, a new place for booklovers

Bookswarm is proud to announce the beta release of Nudge.

Welcome to a place where booklovers can once again browse and discover the world of books. Where communities of discerning readers like you can reach beyond the bestseller lists to seek out hidden gems, uncover breakthrough authors and get the inside story on their favourite types of read.

Bringing together the very best titles, in-depth news, highest-quality reviews and engaging content from the worlds of publishing and film – it’s independent, insightful and created by people who love, live and breathe books just like you.

Nudge is the brainchild of our sister company AMS Digital Publishing Limited, and Bookswarm has been responsible for project management, design and build of this complex project, working a number of highly talented individuals.

Nudge is based on WordPress, making extensive use of advanced techniques like custom post types, custom content templates and much more.

Take a look

Bookswarm takes over for Lesley Lokko

Bookswarm has taken over the running of bestselling author Lesley Lokko’s website, and enhanced it with the addition of a blog as part of a new social marketing strategy for the author.

As the existing website was based on WordPress, it was quick and easy to create a copy and add the extra features that were required – now, Bookswarm will manage the website on Lesley’s behalf and run an ongoing campaign of blog updates to the site, Facebook and Goodreads – allowing Lesley to concentrate as much time as possible on her writing.

Lesley says:

Genuine 24/7 support, full of good ideas and advice, and an ability to make the most complicated web-speak accessible to a Luddite (and techo-phobe) like myself, I can’t recommend Simon Appleby and the Bookswarm crew more highly. A thoroughly enjoyable experience, from start to finish. Thank you, thank you.

Visit the website:

If you think your website needs a new lease of life, or if you would like help with social media, get in touch.

PTC course update

Bookswarm’s Simon Appleby has been at the Publishing Training Centre this week, delivering the course ‘Developing Digital Products the User-Centred Way’ with co-tutor Zelda Rhiando. It was the debut of the new course – and Simon reports it went well. Delegates learned about the entire digital product life cycle, and had lots of opportunities to apply User Centred Design techniques to the creation of their digital products.

The course runs again in December – get details and book.

Gallic Books embrace eBook cross-selling

Bookswarm has created an eBook cross-selling site for independent publishers Gallic Books, the second publisher for whom we have delivered this simple but effective technology after its initial development for Octopus Publishing Group.

Here’s how it works:

  • We set up a content-managed website which allows publishers to upload details of their eBooks, and to organise them in to collections
  • The information is displayed to the user using a deliberately simple, chunky template that’s designed to render quickly and cleanly on a variety of mobile devices and e-readers
  • Links to a collection are embedded in all the eBooks that belong to that collection

A collection could be a series, a set of books by the same author or books all sharing a topic, theme or genre. The idea is to get readers to explore similar books when they’re at their most receptive – and to get them to focus on your books! They are then offered links to buy on a range of leading eBook retailers, chosen by you.

If you’re a publisher and you would like your own eBook cross-selling site, contact us today.

A new sponsor and a new look for the National Book Awards

High street retailer Specsavers will replace Galaxy as the new headline sponsor of the National Book Awards – and Bookswarm has overhauled the awards website to reflect the new deal. The National Book Awards website is one of a number of book awards websites that we work on with awards organisers Agile Marketing.

Dubbed the ‘Oscars of the publishing industry,’ The Specsavers National Book Awards showcases the best of British writing & publishing, whilst celebrating books with wide popular appeal, critical acclaim and commercial success. For the second year, the Awards event will be a star-studded party hosted at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, London. This year’s ceremony will be held on the evening of 4th December 2012. It will be an invite-only event for shortlisted authors and publishers.

Visit the website:

If you need a website developing rapidly, get in touch.

A taste of South Asia

Bookswarm has built a new website for the 2012 South Asian Literature Festival. With loads of events, speakers and venues packed in to this glorious celebration of all things South Asian, we had to find a way to input all the data efficiently without duplication, and to define the relationships between things (for example a speaker and an event). We created a sophisticated custom data structure encompassing all these types of content and more, and integrated it in to a design provided by the Festival team.

The 2012 South Asian Literature Festival runs from 1st to 11th November 2012.

Visit the site

A first ever website for family saga author Pam Evans

Bestselling family saga author Pamela Evans engaged Bookswarm to build her first ever website, after a writing career that’s spanned over thirty years and seen her publish nearly thirty books. The brief was to create a design that reflected the setting for Pam’s novels – suburban London – without detracting from the most important thing – the books themselves.

We commissioned a design that reflects both the location of the action, and the fact that the books can be set anywhere between the 1900s and the 1960s. We built the site using WordPress, where custom data types allow easy management of Pam’s extensive catalogue of books, and we set up batch processing of cover files to render every single book in glorious 3D (glasses not included).

Pam said:

I can’t speak highly enough of Simon Appleby and the team at Bookswarm. They built a beautiful website for me and Simon was always available to help me learn how to use it. I don’t believe there is anything he doesn’t know about websites and he has a real flair for design. Not once did I have to wait for a reply to a query.Well done Headline for introducing me to Bookswarm.


You can see Pam’s new site at

If you’re an author and you need a website, we would love to hear from you. Each site we make designed bespoke – no off-the-shelf templates here – and you have full control over the end result (no need to keep coming back to us to update things – you’ll be in control). Contact us today.

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