Bookollective - complementary services for authors, freelancers and publishers

Aimee Coveney
Opinion - Publishing Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Aimee Coveney reports on a young agency with ambitious plans


I and my Bookollective co-founders Helen McCusker and Esther Harris felt incredibly honoured earlier this year to be named among the Bookseller's Rising Stars. To be noticed by those with influence at such an early stage has given us great encouragement as we aim to provide outstanding creative services.

The three of us recognised the need for various sides of the publishing industry to be brought closer together, with many authors we worked with struggling to identify what the market needed, and many professionals looking for new ways to find fresh talent. And there were other members of the book community we felt needed more acknowledgement, including those unsung heroes, book bloggers and freelancers. With the creation of our online twitter communities for bloggers (#TheBTeam) and authors (@theauthorhour), we aim to continue supporting those looking for industry insights.

We organise quarterly networking events at Waterstones on Tottenham Court Road in London, with a rising number of attendees at each meeting. Our summer party this evening (28 June) is set to be our most popular yet, with representatives from Bloomsbury, HQDigital, Books Are My Bag and others donating items for the Bookollective goodie bags and set to come along to enjoy the evening with a mix of writers and other professionals.

Having all come from freelance backgrounds, our team have a passion to help people negotiate the rise in outsourcing. Many of the industry's most skilled experts are now consulting remotely, juggling the love of their work around busy lifestyles and often being located beyond the commuter belt. We ourselves all have families. Companies and independent authors that embrace outsourcing can not only benefit from in-house savings, but also from a more diverse workforce, utilising the talents of a multitude of professionals across the country.

It was the compatibility of our skillsets that brought the Bookollective team together, as we noticed how we often worked with the same clients on the production or promotion of their work. My background was in specialist author website design within a self-publishing company. When as a freelance I began offering book design and digital marketing services, I very quickly built my client list to include international bestselling authors and independent publishers.

Helen and Esther have backgrounds in journalism. After a varied career in broadcast journalism, including entertainment reporting for the BBC, Helen joined independent finance and business publisher Harriman House, responsible for the PR and marketing of new titles. In 2008 she decided the time was right to open her own specialist book publicity agency, which has won numerous awards. Esther started in corporate marketing and PR, and was a freelance features writer for the Mirror. She got drawn into author PR through Helen. The book editing process naturally followed, and Esther now enjoys polishing and developing manuscripts. Through her involvement with the WoMentoring project, she is determined that talent will find its way through the slush pile.

We joined forces last year, offering clients a "literary dream team" of complementary talents and contacts. Our plan is to develop further successful relationships with publishers, freelancers and authors. We want to make our mark as a supportive collective, not only through our services, but through our free events and friendly advice, and most definitely as an approachable team for all who play a part in the success of the written word.

Photo from left: Helen McCusker, Aimee Coveney, Esther Harris

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