2021 Reflections

Reflections on 2021: A year of book launches, teamwork, and charity

by Ameesha Smith-Green

2021 was a year to forget for many reasons, but we also like to look back on the positives and end the year with a little reflection on what went well and what could have gone better. While this year was tough with Covid, restrictions, and business uncertainty, it was actually a great year for The Book Shelf! So, here are our best bits of 2021…


Our author Jym Brown landed himself an Amazon bestseller spot with his philosophy book #Life. We also got a new logo for the company, created by Nick Sankey from Coventry University’s design team.


In February, we started interviewing authors for our publishing insights podcast, launching in January 2022. Our first guest was Glen John Jones, author of Think and Grow Vegan.


We launched the mystical nonfiction The Temple of Consciousness by Noah Agrotes, helping it reach the #1 spot in three categories on Amazon. Glenn Baloban’s philosophy book, Jumping Down the Rabbit Hole of Existence, was also released.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom’s People Skills for Analytical Thinkers was nominated for the Business Book Awards. Carly Peacock was featured in Woman’s Own magazine and The Daily Mail’s You magazine with her book A Pocketful of Porn, and landed an Amazon bestseller spot. Giuseppe Ferraro’s Cultivating Greatness: Building Virtues with Benjamin Franklin’s Virtue Journal was released.


Our editor Shaun Hand was accepted into the coveted Room 204 writing programme. Sam Sanders’ Your Next Big Idea won an Indie Reader Award. Bruno Lowagie’s tech memoir Entreprenerd was launched.


We took on five amazing interns through the University of Birmingham’s Experience Arts programme: Beth, Hannah, Phoebe, Shakira, and Shelby. We helped Mark Lanyon launch his memoir Who Stole Grandma?, land an Amazon bestseller in six categories, and make almost 4k for the Parkinson’s UK charity.


Our little team grew as we took on two brilliant Kickstart employees: social media assistant Alicja and publishing assistant Olga. We were joined by UoB student placement Becky. Adam Jones’ book You Are Going to F*cking Die was launched. 


We were joined by UoB student placement Summer, working alongside Alicja. We launched our new website. 


We ran our first ever giveaway on social media, gifting a box of books to one lucky winner. Glenn Baloban’s From Suffering to Love was released. We were proud to become the away shirt sponsor for local under 11 girls football team Bournville FC.


We helped launch Amo Raju and Mani Hayre’s Walk Like a Man straight into the #2 spot on Amazon, and attended their book launches as well as the Who Stole Grandma? book launch. Tenaz Sunavala’s The Path to Self-Empowerment, Patrick Pissang’s The Social Sales Engineer, and Jym Brown’s Clever Enough to Be Stupid were released.


We were shortlisted for the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce Award for Diversity and Inclusion and went to the awards evening at Malmaison, Birmingham. We launched our monthly publishing email newsletter. Katie Gray’s Journey of the Empowered Heart was released.


Ameesha was chosen as UoB’s Volunteer of the Month. We were joined by UoB student Hana, working alongside Alicja. We donated 10% of our annual profit to two charities: Book Aid International and BookTrust, the latter leading to 65 book parcels being gifted to children in care and vulnerable situations for Christmas.

We’d like to say a massive thank you to our authors, interns, student placements, Kickstarters, and freelancers for everything they’ve done this year and to our followers for supporting us on our journey. Here’s hoping 2022 is even bigger and even better! 

P.S. Don’t forget to share your reflections and successes with us on social media (Twitter and Instagram).