Startup of the week: Bookollective

Startup of the week: Bookollective

Whether you need editing, design or PR support, this new one-stop agency for authors and publishers aims to buck the trend for 'impersonal' service providers.

The pitch

Bookollective is a new one-stop agency for authors, publishers and book industry professionals supplying editing, cover design and publicity services. 

"Once upon a time an editor, a designer and a publicist linked up to help the new wave of independent authors and imprints growing in the publishing industry..." says co-founder Esther Harris, the editor in the equation. "We asked ourselves… would this new wave like to work with a team of professionals in a more streamlined and cohesive way? We could provide them with all the quality and imaginative promotional and production services they want – but without the stress and overhead."

The team

Bookollective's three-woman team has a mix  of experience from within and without the book world.

Harris has twenty years' experience as a journalist and publicist and regularly achieves editorial coverage for books and authors in places such as The Guardian,The Daily Mail, Huffington Post, BBC Radio 2, The Jeremy Vine Show and more.

Head of digital and design Aimee Coveney has run her own consultancy for years specialising in cover design, website creation and digital media. She is a regular cotributor to publishing sites including the ALLI Self-Publishing blog and in her spare time reviews ARCs for publishers including Harlequin.

On the media and PR side, Helen McCusker started her career in broadcast journalism for the likes of the BBC before launching her own specialist book publicity agency in 2008. She also runs the @TheAuthorHour Twitter community.

What's the gap in the market? 

The Bookollective founders believe that their breadth of expertise that makes them unique. "All authors and publishers need design, PR and editing services and they need a quality, friendly team they can rely on and dip into using on an ‘as and when’ basis," Harris explains. "Not many firms offer our breadth and depth of experience within one team so we started Bookollective as a ‘one stop shop’." 

Success so far?

Only launched in November, Bookollective is already drawing on its founders' client list to develop a range of proejcts. "Since launch response to our services from both authors and publishers has been extremely positive and it’s been our busiest Christmas in five years," Harris says. "Normally it can be a quiet time of year but not this time!  2017 is looking bright."

Biggest challenges?

Maintaining the culture which is a big part of Bookollective's appeal. "As we grow and take on new members of the team to meet clients’ needs, I think it will be a challenge to find new staff that share our passion," Harris admits. "Having said that, there is so much talent out there in the industry it is just a case of unearthing the gems who are the right fit for Bookollective and can work alongside us. So it’s a challenge to be relished."

Ultimate ambition? 

Harris is evangelical about not just what work the team does, but how they do it - especially in an anonymous digital age. "We feel strongly that there are too many ‘impersonal’ service providers out there, and we hope our close knit, caring team offers a feeling of confidence and satisfaction for everyone we work with," she explains. "We’d also like to bring on board more freelancers, connect with the wider writing industry and build Bookollective into an even stronger, friendly book community.  Writing is isolating and the industry can be tough to break into – so lets support each other."

Advice to other publishing entrepreneurs?

"'Stick to the knitting' as the saying goes. As long as you are pursuing something you care passionately about, where you can really make a difference, you won’t go too far wrong – but never forget what makes you special.  When you are starting up, it’s easy to get swept up in growing a business, meeting new people, new service lines, and so on. So sttick to the knitting!"