Esther Harris is an Editor and PR with Bookollective
Writing for a living can be a lonely business – you spend your days in your own head, scribbling furtively behind your arm or into a laptop.
Then, when you are finally finished and ready to present something to the world, you need to get out of your head and think product and business – and link up with editors, designers, marketers, publishers, bloggers and social media experts, who can create and keep a buzz around your product. It demands a complete gear change, and it’s one that most authors know they need to attempt, but it can be a daunting prospect.
Who do you go to and where do you start? This is one of the main reasons why we formed Bookollective; to provide a friendly meeting place for writers and providers, as well as a one stop shop of all the creation and promotion related services that authors need to dip into.
Publishers need us as much as individual writers. More and more of our publishing clients were stressing that they wanted their book production and marketing to be more streamlined. With costs ever an issue, and ebooks and the internet posing questions about traditional publishing routes, publishers started to admit: OK, there ARE other ways of working. We CAN outsource the design and promotion of books and get quality without the overhead.
It’s encouraging to be needed and the response to our services has been extremely positive. However, first and foremost this is about creating a creative community who can help one another – one, big ‘book collective’.
Our launch was held at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road on 2nd December and there was a fantastic atmosphere as traditional publishers from PanMac mixed with people from the indies like Canelo, bloggers, writers, printers, book coaches and more. And of course it wouldn’t be a writers’ event worth its salt if someone didn’t take a punt and hand over their completed, unsolicited first ever manuscript. These rookie crime writers got lucky – there happened to be a crime publisher among the group and they picked his brains for a good thirty minutes!
These opportunities are what it is all about. Many of us know that conversation and who you know and contacts are all vital in this industry – they each help you take a step towards the path of being a better known author or a better informed author. The event was such a success that we plan for it to be a quarterly occasion and the next one will be held in the week of the London Book Fair.
And of course, forming Bookollective is a step taken by freelancers to help each other too. Aimee, Helen and I have all freelanced separately for many years, in the same industry, offering complimentary services – but working alone. The time felt right to pool our collective resources, lean on each other and help each out to see if we could grow something that was bigger than the sum of its parts. We look forward to helping many of you on your journey as we help each other on ours.