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Simon Appleby

Simon Appleby - Web Developer

Colchester, United Kingdom

I specialise in creating wonderful WordPress websites for authors and others in the world of books, across all genres and markets


Reviews (4)

I run the only digital agency in the UK dedicated to delivering projects for authors, publishers and others in the world of books.

We have delivered websites for a wide range of authors, from the self-published and just-starting-out to household names like Stephen King, Hanif Kureishi and Martina Cole. We know what makes an effective author website, and know which questions to ask to find out what you really need as an author.

My career in digital media started in 1998, and I gained experience of digital project delivery for a range of clients while working for a number of digital agencies. In 2009 I went ‘client-side’, where as Digital Projects Manager for Octopus Publishing Group, I gained invaluable inside experience of the publishing world.

I have spoken at the Publishing Scotland conference and the Faber Factory conference, contributed to the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, and created and delivered a course on digital project development for the Publishing Training Centre.

I am a keen reader of many types of writing, both fiction and non-fiction. The most unusual book on my shelves is an Estonian first edition of The Colour of Magic, signed by Sir Terry Pratchett.

Business & Management History
Children's Picture Books Crime & Mystery Fantasy Historical Fiction Literature Poetry Women's Fiction Young Adult & Teen
Works with

Work experience

WordPress Ninja

April, 2009 – Present (about 9 years)

I thought I'd leave it to our clients to describe what it's like to work with me and my lovely team:

“Designing a new site and keeping continuity with my old one was a seamless process with Bookswarm from start to finish. Simon and his team were incredibly clear, responsive and inventive as they kept pace with my many questions and challenges. They immediately understood my brief and fulfilled it to the letter, and the result is I now have a website completely fit for purpose, with a lovely welcoming design, that is also very simple for me to manage and update. The support has been great too. I would recommend without reservation.”

- Piers Torday, winner of Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize

“I think [they] are unique in that they combine technical and creative expertise with a can-do spirit and an understanding of what writers, readers and publishers need from the web.”

- Chris Cleave, New York Times #1 Bestselling Novelist, author of The Other Hand and Gold (Sceptre)

“I’m an electrical engineer and also a popular author with a good eye for design, so I’ve maintained my own website for many years. I finally took the plunge and had [them] remake my site. What an incredible difference! The site is SO beautifully designed and easy-to-use! [They] took my ideas and shape shifted them to bring out exactly what I wanted, but in ways far better than I’d originally envisioned. Really, website design and implementation doesn’t get any better or easier – I cannot recommend them more highly!”

- Dr Barbara Oakley

“The team [...] gave me a site that met my brief perfectly and went well beyond, with support and advice on areas I hadn’t considered – or hadn’t considered I would be able to manage so easily! They opened my eyes to all the options, and provided training and guidance that make the site really work for me and my books.”

- Helen Bell, author of The Ilamen Quartet

“I commissioned [them] after seeing the other fabulous author websites they had designed and I also had a personal recommendation from another Macmillan author. [They] made the whole process so easy, their prices are very competitive and the ongoing support is second to none. I recommend their services unreservedly.”

- Kim Slater, author of Smart (Macmillan Children’s Books)

“Authors should look no further: Bookswarm completely understand our needs.”

- Annabel Kantaria, author of domestic noir including The One That Got Away


Christina Enquist

Our second author website delivered via Reedsy, for debut YA author Christina Enquist. Christina said:

"Simon and his team did a phenomenal job on creating my author website. His team was flexible and accommodated the various edits and really understood the vision of the site."

Connecting Paradigms

Our first Reedsy project, this is a website designed and built for speaker, trainer, author of Connecting Paradigms, Matthew S. Bennett.

Tania Unsworth

Author website for children’s writer Tania Unsworth, author of The One Safe Place and The Secret Life of Daisy Fitzjohn. This website was updated at the start of 2017 to reflect Tania’s increased emphasis on school visits and her changing social media profile.

“I can’t recommend Simon and his team highly enough for writers looking to create a website. They were understanding, patient, incredibly creative and best of all knew exactly what I needed.”

- Tania Unsworth

Elly Griffiths

Website for Elly Griffiths, author of the Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries, and the Stephens & Mephisto novels.

“It has been pleasure to work with Simon and his team. They took the time to find out exactly what I wanted, even though I wasn’t sure myself at the outset! The result is a website that really reflects my books. Simon and his team were creative, helpful and efficient. Highly recommended.”

- Domenica de Rosa (real name of Elly Griffiths)

Shannon Selin

Responsive website design for Shannon Selin, Canadian author of historical novel Napoleon in America. We also created a logo for Shannon to use on her business cards and on the books themselves.

“Simon and the team immediately understood what I was looking for in an author website, and came up with a design and functionality that fully meets my needs.”

- Shannon Selin

Simon has 4 reviews


George Araman

Outstanding ! Simon understood my needs and requirements perfectly and crafted a wonderful website which I am excited to launch. From the creative brief to the design passing by the wireframes, Simon and his team have done a mesmerising job and I can't recommend them enough. They have exceeded my expectations! Friendly, comprehensive, accommodating, professional, knowledgeable are just few wor...

, January 2018

Matt Bennett

Quick, professional, and great to work with!

, November 2017

Christina Enquist

Simon and his team did a phenomenal job on creating my author website. His team was flexible and accommodated the various edits and really understood the vision of the site. I would highly recommend Simon and the Bookswarm team.

, October 2017

Simon Appleby
Reply from Simon Appleby

Delivering Christina's website was a real pleasure and we wish her all success in her writing career!

Matt Bennett

Simon and his group have a great system for authors to express their creativity and passion through their website. If you are an author in need of a site to highlight your writing and other work, Simon is the right guy for you!

, July 2017

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