Championing you and your work at every stage of the process
Based on a shared passion for words and books, Jo and Emma co-founded Conker House Publishing Consultancy in 2015. The business grew from authors seeking us out for friendly, professional advice about potential publishing projects. As traditional publishing houses are under ever-increasing pressure and not always able to spend time giving guidance on how to shape your project for publication, we offer a range of advice and support through these crucial, early stages. Having worked for years in editorial and senior management roles within children’s and general trade publishing, we pride ourselves on being able to give an honest and impartial assessment, as well as a fresh perspective.
If you send a text to us, it will be read, reviewed and evaluated by us both. Working as a team allows us to bounce ideas around and consolidate our joint experience, so that we can present you with the most creative and rounded response. Most importantly, we are passionate about creating and crafting powerful, beautiful books that inspire and educate their audiences, so we will champion you and your work at every stage of the process.
Why Conker House? That’s a well-kept secret. You’ll have to start working with us to discover that… In the meantime, we reveal a little more about ourselves below.
Jo de Vries
Jo wanted to work in publishing from the tender age of twelve and her godfather even bought her Bluff Your Way Into Publishing as a birthday present, which later came in handy when she landed her first role as an intern at Gaia Books over fifteen years ago. After bluffing her way in, she went on to work as an Editor at Tempus Publishing on their General History list. In 2004 she became Commissioning Editor at Osprey Publishing, working across their prestigious military series lists and developing new projects. Following her passion for history, she created a respected and still-used series of A-Level History books at Nelson Thornes (now part of Oxford University Press), from where she was approached to join The History Press in 2008. She worked for The History Press for seven years and became Head of Specialist Publishing, overseeing a busy department and heading up major projects, including their acclaimed First World War centenary publishing. She now consults for a number of publishers, creating commercially successful projects for international audiences on topics ranging from music and culture, through to biography and military history. She has helped edit and produce a number of privately published fiction and non-fiction projects. Her career thus far has allowed her to indulge her love of books and working with authors – nothing excites her more than nurturing that initial idea and seeing it come alive on the printed page.
In her ‘spare’ time she has recently completed and been awarded a First-Class Honours degree in Literature and a Diploma with Distinction in Creative Writing and Literature through the Open University. She is also a Trustee of the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum.
Emma’s publishing career spans fiction and non-fiction as well as children and adult sectors. She combines editorial acumen with a gift for layout and design to create beautiful books. Her publishing career began with two years at Tempus Publishing (now The History Press) which built the foundations in all aspects of the book-making process. She moved on to spend eight years with Barefoot Books. This culminated in a role as Group Publishing Manager across both the US and UK editorial teams. She project-managed the landmark Barefoot Books World Atlas in 2011 and the award-winning associated app for iPad in 2012, demonstrating that her print skills translate into digital.
Emma now works on a freelance and consultancy basis from her home near Stratford-upon-Avon. She embraces anything book-related and is currently deeply involved with ProjectKALA, an initiative aiming to translate, print and ship bilingual books to Ghana with the charity, The Pelican Post. When Emma isn’t immersed in books, she tends to escape to the mountains and ensures she spends plenty of time with the other three book critics in her life – husband, Dave and daughters, Amelia and Tessa.
“Jo de Vries is the most committed and professional publisher I have ever worked with. Her strengths lie in her enthusiasm, her commitment and her knowledge of the workings of her industry. Jo is genuinely passionate about the quality of her work, and this feeds through to her authors, particularly as she is in turns both inspirational and supportive. I have been impressed with her objectivity and her ability to work with feedback; always open to ideas, Jo’s breadth of knowledge and experience means that she is more than capable of drilling down into the essence of an idea, and through her guidance, making it happen. I have no hesitation in endorsing the quality of her work.”
Professor Peter Doyle, author of the bestselling First World War in 100 Objects
(The History Press/Penguin USA)
“Emma is a joy to work with. She has a natural ear for language and eye for design; she is an exceptional and experienced project manager who knows how to fulfil complex briefs to the highest standard. I recommend her wholeheartedly.”
Tessa Strickland, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Barefoot Books