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

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Hi - I'm Simon.

If you're an author or publishing profession, and you need help creating or evolving a website… you’re talking to the right person!

I run the only digital agency in the UK dedicated to delivering website and e-commerce projects for publishers, authors, literary agents and other book-related businesses. I’ve been doing this for ages, and have worked with loads of great publishers and amazing authors during that time.

I really understand publishing (I spent several years working in-house for a well-known publisher), so you don’t have to educate me about ONIX feeds, AI sheets, ARCs, TCM figures or ISBNs. This means we can spend more time talking about what you actually want to achieve with your project.

Although we’re based in the UK, we have worked with clients all around the world – from the USA and Canada to Egypt and New Zealand.

We mostly use WordPress to make our sites easy for clients to manage, capable of evolving over time and good value. We also work with Shopify for customers who want to customise its simple e-commerce framework.

Check out some of the lovely feedback we've had from clients:

“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
Business & Management
Historical Fiction
Literary Fiction
Mystery & Crime
Women's Fiction
Young Adult
Works with

Work experience

WordPress Ninja

April, 2009 – Present (over 12 years)


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 16 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Sue Arroyo
Simon was extremely knowledgeable and efficient, had a resolution to our problem quickly. Communications top-notch! Heartily recommend Simon to others.

Sue Arroyo, June 2021

Janet Savin
Simon Appleby designed my literary fiction website, and it’s gorgeous. It has the look I wanted, raised to several powers above my expectations. His work combines a high degree of technical expertise and creative intuition. His approach to working is clear and systematic, and he is equally professional in client relations. He patiently explains terminology and processes, and I never felt lost. ...
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Janet Savin, April 2021

Nathan Rose
What a great experience working with Simon. The entire process - from brief, to wireframes, to design images, to implementation - was beyond expectation. Best of all was he would work to what I asked for, but would also gently push back whenever he had a better idea. I am delighted with the design and functionality of my new website, and I would definitely recommend his services. He is a consu...
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Nathan Rose, October 2020

Simon Appleby
Nathan was a pleasure to work with - a clear sense of his requirements, prompt delivery of feedback and assets, and happy to enter into a dialogue over detail where appropriate!

Reply from Simon Appleby

adam nicks
Simon is easily the best professional to design my website. From our first meeting, I could tell Simon had a vision that matched what I was looking for and surpassed my expectations. I am so glad I picked Simon as I walked in with no website experience and felt at ease with his expertise and professionalism.

adam nicks, September 2020

Joelle Izack
It took me quite a while to step into a contract with another web designer. But, I am glad I did. With years of experience in the industry, Simon and his crew honed their communication and technical skills to a level that guaranteed they successfully translated my “I want” into a couple professional, market oriented, pleasing set of sister websites. Thank you for all the hard work and the pe...
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Joelle Izack, July 2020

Simon Appleby
It's been a pleasure working with Joelle to translate her vision in to reality. She had a clear conception of what was needed, and was always happy to take advice on the best way to achieve it. We'...
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Reply from Simon Appleby

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