12 September 2012

Helen Hart

Today's HNS Conference Guest 

Helen Hart has been a published author since 1999. 
Helen is one of the founding partners of publishing consultancy SilverWood Books which helps writers get their work into print – whether that’s by offering editorial appraisals and advice or by helping authors self-publish to a high standard. She is the co-founder of the successful ‘Get Published Masterclass’ in Bristol and was a judge for the Bristol Short Story Prize in 2010 and 2011. 

Meet Helen in two "workshop" sessions at the 
HNS Conference - she will be speaking on writing for children and the pride and pitfalls of 
self publishing

I’m so grateful to Helen Hollick for inviting me to write a guest blog… I’m extremely proud that Helen has chosen my company SilverWood Books to support and assist her with her titles.
In order to understand how SilverWood works, it’s probably useful for readers to know something about me and my background as a professional writer, because I believe this is key to the way I've set the company up, and to how it functions.

I’ve been a published author since the late 1990s. Writing under a variety of pseudonyms, I’ve been published by Scholastic, HarperCollins, Oxford University Press, and several non-UK publishing houses. My books have been translated into many different languages including Swedish, Danish, Greek and Japanese.
Readers can see more on my author site.
I’ve also worked as a commercial copywriter for SilverWood’s sister company Redwing.

My writing background means that I have a deep and intimate understanding of the writing process and how important each book is to an author. I know from my own experience how much heart and soul has gone into the creation of a book, and how important is the relationship between a writer and their publisher/editor.
When I founded SilverWood Books in 2007, it was with the aim of providing self-funding authors with an alternative to what I perceived as the unscrupulous business practices, expensive publishing packages, and poor quality books offered by so-called ‘vanity’ publishing companies. I place the writer and their needs (and their aims for their book) at the heart of what SilverWood Books offers. My aim is to offer a close, supportive working relationship and therefore a similar experience to that which the writer might have if they were signed to a mainstream publishing house.

I genuinely believe that if a self-funding author wishes to sell their book beyond family and friends, then they need a book that matches as closely as possible the output of mainstream publishers. It’s not enough that the content be outstanding - all elements of the book must be outstanding if that title is to compete in an already crowded marketplace.

HNS Indie Review Editor's Choice
August 2012
SilverWood Books offers high quality professional services. Our authors work in partnership with a small, friendly, supportive team who care about the book and the writer, and who have the skills and expertise to offer impartial guidance. Most of our authors come to us through word-of-mouth recommendation, or they are repeat customers who were pleased with the experience of producing their previous book with us. 

The key feature of our books is that they aim to match the production values of mainstream publishing houses - and this means our authors stand a better chance of persuading bookshops to stock their book (often self-published titles are refused due to their amateur nature).

winner of the Sir-Read-a-Lot
Golden Hammer & Anvil award 
SilverWood offers friendly one-to-one support throughout the publishing process. Services include professional editing, proofreading, page layout, book jacket design, Print on Demand and book publicity. Authors can choose from a comprehensive range of paperback and hardback book sizes, with or without dustjackets and foil stamping. We don't use templates, so each book is individually designed specifically for its target market, just as it would be in a mainstream publishing house. We offer a selection of publishing packages which cost-effectively bundle services together.

And if an author’s work isn't quite ready for publication, SilverWood can assist with manuscript appraisal and editorial support.

This is an exciting time for self-publishing, and SilverWood is excited to be involved with so many wonderful books and writers.

Helen Hollick:  It was with great excitement and confidence that I put my novels into Helen Hart’s good care - a decision I have not regretted one bit. Thank you Helen  and the SilverWood staff.

Helen' Harts Banquet Guests

Amelia Earhart - because she was such an aviation pioneer, a symbol of great courage, a brilliant role model for women... and she might be able to solve the mystery of where and how she went down over the Pacific.

Charles II - the perfect dinner guest: debonair, amusing, learned. I’d like to experience that famous charisma for myself.

Barbara Palmer (Lady Castlemaine) - she’d be the perfect partner to glide in on the arm of Charles II, and we could all find out if she really was as scheming and cunning (and as beautiful) as it was said she was!

Eddie Izzard - for the nail varnish, the eyeliner, the brilliant timing and the lengthy, beautifully-structured comedic tales. He could entertain us all through the main course!

Sarah Waters - for the plots, the twists and the wonderful denouements of novels like ‘Fingersmith’ and ‘Affinity’.

David Bowie - for the glory days of Diamond Dogs and Hunky Dory.

Hereward the Wake - because he’s almost been forgotten, yet he led a war of resistance against William the Conqueror for 5 years in the aftermath of 1066.

My old Maths teacher - for the patient explanation of how to use a slide rule… and perhaps this time I’ll understand it!

Beverley Cleary - for the ‘Henry and Ribsy’ books. A big part of my childhood!


  1. Hi Helen

    Excellent to see Hereward amongst your guests. He is a big hero of mine. Lovely to read you on Helen Hollick's blog. Like Helen, I too am very grateful for SilverWoods and hope to use your company in the future for further publications. I'm sorry I cant make it to the conference this year but hopefully next year I shall be there!

    Good Luck!

  2. Thank you for the comment, Paula, and thank you for this guest spot, other-Helen! I love the pics that go with the dinner guests. A realy nice touch. I'm really looking forward to the HNS Conference (although a bit nervous too). Not long to go now...

  3. Great blog, Helen(s)! And more power to SilverWood's elbow. It's a wonderful service and you're right to be proud of it. Looking forward to seeing how the business develops in, say, five years.

    Like Paula, I was particularly pleases to see your mention of Hereward. Read the book when I was a teenager and was later bowled over by the EXCELLENT BBC series adaptation. But when WAS that? 70s, I guess.

    See you both at Conference!

  4. Hi Helen (both Helens!)
    I love the choice of dinner party guests - Sarah Waters is my all-time Queen of Plotting. And yes, I too remember Hereward on TV, played by Alfred Lynch (whom I rather fancied at the time) - sadly died not long ago. My dinner guest from history might be , I think, the writer R.L. Stevenson but I don't know what he'd make of my other choice of John McEnroe (!) who has reinvented himself since his stroppy teenage days with such sucess.

  5. I'd quite like to be fly on the wall at this dinner party. Great post, Helen/s! :) xx

  6. Hi Helen and Helen! What a great blog and a great post - an informative one too. I love the idea of the dinner table and guests (dead or alive!)and your choices were very interesting indeed!

    Janice xx

  7. So lovely to hear the wonderful feedback about SilverWoodBooks Helen and Helen! It is a tough world out there and finding someone who understands that is key. Enjoyed this post, thankyou.

  8. Excellent post, Helen and very informative and what fascinating dinner guests. Thank you!

  9. Thank you everyone for posting a comment!


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