The Book Shelf was born in 2018 but its origin stems much further back. Its founder Ameesha Smith-Green has over 11 years of experience in the book publishing industry, from working in-house at a publishing house to working with indie authors while freelancing around the world. She has worked on over 500 books, so she knows what makes good nonfiction. The Book Shelf team are experienced industry professionals including designers and editors, and they all share a love of books and a passion for making the world better.
Why work with The Book Shelf?
Publishing a book isn’t just about fixing incorrect grammar, looking for typos, making a cover, and uploading to Amazon—it’s about knowing what readers want and how to deliver that. Our industry experience means we know what makes a good nonfiction book, and we’d love to share our insider knowledge with you. Because the world of publishing doesn’t have to be an overwhelming headache.
We’ll help you deliver clear, quality, compelling content that sounds great and looks awesome. By the end of the process, you’ll have a book that’s worth publishing. One that will make a difference. Along the way, you’ll learn about the process and be upskilled so you’re even better for the next book, and the next book. we’re here every step of the way.
Many book editors have a background in “English”, but after the obvious, you might wonder what makes us different? So here, I’ll let you in on what led me to create The Book Shelf…
As a child, I named my teddies after philosophers and spent more time with my head in a book than playing outside. At school, I proofread my friend’s essays, with an eagle eye for errors. I studied English Literature and Philosophy at the red-brick University of Birmingham, where my favourite place was the dusty, old library. More than just learning what makes a great book, I learned to always think and question what I saw.
I graduated during recession, when jobs were scarce, and ended up working in HR—a solid, reliable job—but my heart was with publishing. So, on weekends and evenings, I developed an editing side hustle. Through word of mouth, I gained my first book editing contract, a complex beast with 12 authors.
A few books later, I landed an editorial role at a small, niche publisher in the city, taking a hefty pay cut for my dream job. Half of the role was editing and proofreading books, the other half helping non-native editors to improve their English skills, which was hugely rewarding. Plus, I got to see the publishing industry from the inside.
It might come as a surprise then that after a few years, I quit! Not just the job, but normal life. I travelled the world for a year, with just a handful of clothes and a laptop. I worked on the road, on beaches, beside swimming pools, in bars, coffee shops, and laundrettes. Essentially anywhere with a plug socket and Wi-Fi.
Back home, I was offered a stable job, but I wanted to forge my own path without “the man”, so I carried on freelancing. The first six months were gruelling, but I was approached by a New York Times bestselling author to critique his next book and my brutally honest approach led to an abundance of projects with authors who truly wanted objective feedback to improve their books.
Over the next few years, I worked with over 80 authors—from critiques to hands-on editing. By June 2018, I was maxed out and booked up, but I wanted to help more authors than my schedule could accommodate, so I started The Book Shelf Ltd. Since then, I’ve formed a team of specialist freelancers with as deep a love of books as I have.
Together, we provide cover-to-cover services, which grew to include coaching, layout, design, and more. We offer free tips on writing, editing, and self-publishing from our insider industry knowledge, and we offer training courses and products to upskill and empower authors, because success means you no longer need us. Yes, we’re trying to do ourselves out of a job!
Our mission is to bring nonfiction books to life, because we truly believe that books make the world a better place.
Simran is experienced in all areas of digital marketing, such as planning and strategy, copywriting and SEO, email marketing and social media management, PPC and paid social ads. Whether you want to promote a new or existing book, Simran can help you reach the right audience and drive sales.
Kyle has been designing layouts for over a decade. Having worked for multiple book publishers and magazines, Kyle is our on-hand layout, typesetting, and formatting expert. Want your book to look slick and professional? Kyle is your guy. You can find a selection of his designs here.
Shaun from Scritty Copy Writing has been writing since he could first hold a typewriter. Returning to education in his early 20s, he graduated with a first in Creative & Professional Writing. With a keen eye for a sharp phrase, Shaun will make your words sing. You can find out more about his work here.
Susan from Clipboard PA is a virtual admin assistant and former production coordinator with a background in the creative industries and a borderline geek interest in all things tech. She is a whizz at organising, quickly getting up to speed with new software and applications, and helping to tick off ‘to-do’ lists. You can find out more about her services here.
Our cover designer is a creative artist known as Black Bear and Bandit. He specialises in book cover design but in his spare time, he has fun creating digital illustrations from the Marvel Universe and Star Wars. With expertise in nonfiction covers, he can create a bespoke design based on your ideas, genre standards, and current trends… or you can buy one of his one-off template covers here.
Olga is an Eng Lit with Creative Writing graduate and the founding editor of opia. In her spare time, she is a copy editor at The Publishing Post, collects notebooks she doesn’t need, and tries to transition from planning her novel to actually writing it. You can connect with her on social media here.
Alicja loves coming up with creative ideas and tactical strategies to help businesses grow via social media. Her passion for ethics and the environment means she finds eco-friendly ways to sell products and services. In her spare time, she rescues exotic animals and loves walks in the countryside.
We have a team of experienced freelance editors and proofreaders on hand. All of our team have industry experience and relevant degrees, and follow our in-house style guide. As they specialise in different areas, we’ll find the right editor for your needs—but rest assured that you’ll retain one point of contact while working with us.