Our Story

At The Book Shelf Ltd, we bring nonfiction to life. We help aspiring authors to create life-changing books on their subject matter expertise. Our small team of book-loving professionals are here to take authors from idea to bookshelf—from coaching to critique, editing to design, and marketing. We were established in 2018, though we’ve been in the publishing industry for 11+ years and have worked on over 500 books with authors around the globe from first-timers to award-winners, non-native speakers to New York Times bestsellers. 

Our mission is to empower authors because we believe that great books make the world a better place. As such, we specialise in personal development, philosophy, wellbeing, self-help, and leadership books. We help authors to navigate the self-publishing process or seek a traditional publisher depending on which path is right for them. We’re proud to have helped our self-publishing authors become Amazon bestsellers and make thousands for charity. Our aim is to upskill and empower authors, because we consider success to be when you no longer need us. Yes, we’re trying to do ourselves out of a job!

We’re passionate about making the publishing industry more accessible to people from all backgrounds, whether that’s our authors, aspiring writers, or our team. To that end, in 2021 we took on seven interns through the UoB programs and two young people through the government’s Kickstart program. We welcome authors with diverse voices or who come from underrepresented backgrounds, and we do not tolerate any form of hatred from our authors or our team. We believe in collaboration and knowledge-sharing to foster collective and continuous improvement, so we offer free insights on our blog and Quora

Last but by no means least, our mission to make the world a better place means we are committed to sustainability and taking care of our planet, our fellow humans, and the wonderful creatures and plants we share it with. Thus, we encourage our authors and our team to be eco-conscious and reduce our negative impact on the environment. We donate 10% of our profits to charity, including Book Aid International, and are currently establishing a “buy one, plant one” scheme to offset the negative impact of the publishing industry. We hope you’ll join us on our journey.

Ameesha Our Story

The Founder and Lead Editor: Ameesha Smith-Green

As a child, I named my teddies after philosophers and spent a lot of time with my head stuck in a book. 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 co-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 and work on literally hundreds of books.

It might come as a surprise 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, cafes, 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 developed a small team with as deep a love of books as I have, and together we continue to grow.


The Social Media Assistant: Alicja Sowinska

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.

Cover Designer

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.

Kyle

The Layout Coordinator: Kyle Albuquerque

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.

The Publishing Assistant: Olga Bialasik

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.

Shaun

The Writer: Shaun Hand

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.

Marketing Consultant: Simran Bhogal

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.

Susan

The VA: Susan Williams

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.


The Editorial Team

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.