Busybird’s Unsung Heroes

We’re tiny here at Busybird! Just five us, all working varying schedules.

Co-owners, husband and wife team Kev Howlett and Blaise van Hecke, might be called ‘over-timers’, instead of ‘full-timers’. They often work from Sunday to Saturday, and sometimes evenings. They’re constantly over-servicing to give our clients the best experience possible, be that self-publishing a book, running a workshop, hosting a function, or any of a number of things that Busybird do.

Les Zigomanis – who’s full-time, and is our chief editor and publications manager – had been our one employee, but now there’s also two part-timers: Megan Low, a very talented designer who brings a wealth of skill, imagination, and flair to every layout and cover she designs; and Shell Brave, our marketing coordinator, who’s warm, friendly, and always engaging.

There’s Oscar, too – Kev and Blaise’s Labrador. He’s a seeing-eye-dog puppy they fostered for fifteen months, who then went off for training, but unfortunately failed. Kev and Blaise happily welcomed him back into the fold, where he’s adopted the Busybird Studio – and everybody it contains – as his own. Oscar is renowned for charging the door, barking deeply while furiously wagging his tagging when couriers step in, and then running away from Eric, the six-month-old ginger tabby from next door who sometimes comes over.

They’re all the people (and animals) who you know at Busybird, and who are often thanked at events such as launches. They are the faces of Busybird, and the identities you interact with if you come to our studio, or come to any of our functions, such as Open Mic Night. They are the constants in the Busybird world.

But there’s also a host of people who you might not know exist at Busybird.

There’s a raft of editors we employ to perform any editing. Most of them are personally trained here at Busybird. Those who aren’t are still required to learn ‘the Busybird way’ through periodic workshops we run. That ‘way’ – outside of editing requirements – is to become a mentor for authors. That means being supportive, nurturing, and encouraging. We want our authors to have a positive experience. That doesn’t mean telling them whatever we think they need to hear, but being constructive, nurturing, and accessible, so that they enjoy the process and learn from it, and about publishing as a whole.

Then there’s our interns. We have a different intern for every day of the week. They come for one month’s probation just so they can see if this is something they want to pursue and whether it’s a good fit for them (although no intern has ever left within that month). And then it’s a further five months (so six months, overall).

In that time we issue them practical duties, overseeing their every move, and educating them where required. But it’s through practice that one improves. Duties include tasks such as editing, proofreading, writing, design, research, and administration. It can feel overwhelming at times, but we’re always there, looking over them. Recently, one former intern commented that she learned more in her six months at Busybird, than she did studying at a tertiary institution.

While this blog provides an insight into how Busybird operates, it’s also intended as a thank you to those unseen people who help Busybird to run as it does!

They are Busybird’s unsung heroes.

Thank you for everything you do!

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