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Work With us

Local Authors

Your Books, Our Shelves

We are proud of our history of supporting authors from our area and carry a wide variety of self-published, small press and print on demand titles.  Locally published books often feature amongst our best selling titles each year.

Books that sell particularly well are non-fiction titles with a strong local interest, but we stock every kind of book from local authors including fiction and poetry. Self-published books for children generally don’t sell.  If you are a local author and would like to see your work on our shelves, here are some initial guidelines.

If you are not a regular at Red Lion Books, then we strongly encourage you to pay us a visit to get a feel for the character of the shop and the community we are in as well as the types of books we do and do not stock.   However if you need to contact us with regard to stocking your book, your book sales or to let us know about any promotional activity you are planning, please do so by email at as you will appreciate we are on the shop floor and can’t always give you our full attention at the desk or by telephone during opening hours. Our priority on the shop floor is to customers


Your book should be professionally bound, finished, edited and have an ISBN. Exceptions may be made, but remember that your book will be compared to all the other titles in our store.  Having a spine helps its visibility. Your book also needs to be comparably priced to other titles of its size and genre.

We do not generally carry books published by Amazon or their subsidiaries such as CreateSpace. Amazon has done irreparable damage to independent bookshops across the country and does not make a fair contribution to society through their international tax avoidance strategies. There are many choices out there to help you publish your book. Please take that into consideration before you sign on with any self publishing business.

We cannot guarantee to stock every book that is offered to us.  Self published children’s books are particularly difficult to sell. There are an enormous number of authors in and around Colchester and our space is limited. Please don’t be offended if we cannot find space for your book – it may be that it is simply not appropriate for our stock range and customer profile – but might be just right for somewhere else.

We do not generally run events in the shop to launch self-published books but if our diary and staffing allows there may be the possibility for you to hire our space.  We can only support a few books in this way each year and we have to select those which are most likely to appeal to our customers.

From time to time we also run local author showcase evenings where a number of authors have the chance present their books. We will consider whether your book may fit one of these multiple author events.

We have a standard approach to stocking self-published books by local authors which include a ‘sale or return’ arrangement and a normal stocking period of six months. To find our more please email

We take books in twice a year (January and June) and we keep them for six months

It is the responsibility of the author/publisher to collect unsold stock at the end of the six month period. Collection is JULY or JANUARY (6 months after we take your book).  This is when outstanding payments are settled. Red Lion Books will not be responsible for reminding the author of this date. If books remain uncollected and no contact is made, the books will be held for one more month and then donated to charity.

What you can do to give your book the best chance of finding readers.


Encourage your friends, family and others to purchase your books at Red Lion Books.

Contact local media, send out press releases and use social media to get the word out.

Get involved with book clubs, libraries and any other organisations that would be a fit for your book.

In the first instance, we ask authors to contact us by email rather than bringing their book into the shop – we are often very busy with customers.

We look forward to working with you!

The Bookseller’s Association has  produced a very useful guide for authors which covers all aspects of getting your book onto the shelves of a Hiigh Street Bookshop


Colchester has a number of writers group including the well established Colchester WriteNight. Link up with them here.


Spotlight on...................

Featured Local Authors

LIZ (3)

We have been pleased to work with Liz on the Colchester launch of each of her 9 brilliant novels.

A former journalist, Liz spent fifteen years working for regional and national newspapers, and BBC radio and television news, before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in Colchester with her artist husband and they have two grown-up daughters and three beautiful grandchildren.

Email to order 

Ken Rickwood

Ken Rickwood

Each new book by Ken Rickwood is eagerly awaited by our customers and featured strongly in our displays.

He has written a series of fantastic books exploring the rivers that run in and around Colchester. They are a mixture of travelogue and local history but essentially full of all the fascinating facts, history and stories he’s picked up over years of exploring the area.”

“I’ve always been a keen cyclist and walker, and had a keen interest in photography as well, so when a colleague at the university told me I should be writing all these facts down, I started thinking about the first book.”

Over the last ten years books on the Stour, The Colne and Roman River have appeared all imbued with Ken’s love of our area and insatiable appetite for digging up fascinating facts, stories and history of the land these rivers flow through.

Browse his books here


Sarah Armstrong

Red Lion Books was pleased to launch Colchester writer, Sarah Armstrong’s first book ‘The Insect Rosary’ back in 2015. She is now the author of four novels, most recently ‘The Wolves of Leninsky Prospekt’ and ‘The Starlings of Bucharest.’

She has also written ‘A Summer of Spying’, a short non-fiction work about her experience of jury service during the Covid-19 pandemic, which explores authority, truth, and the surveillance we are all exposed to.

She teaches undergraduate and postgraduate creative writing with the Open University. Sarah lives in Colchester with her husband and four children.

Browse her books here


Mark Russell

Mark Russell has lived in Colchester most of his life. As a keen walker and explorer of Essex he has written a number of guides to the area.  His most recent book is called ‘Our Southern Shore’ and picks up where his previous book, “The Longest Path” left off. It takes the reader on a series of six walks from Shoeburyness on the edge of the North Sea to Leamouth in London – the historic western boundary of the old county.

Mark has published his books himself illustrated with his own photographs.

Browse his books here


local authors well represented

Great place, good independent book shop with local authors well represented

P J Boyles

they often have book launch deals and author meet events......

Red Lion Books is an indie shop with a great selection of books for the public. They're curated section is equally fantastic, and they often have book launch deals and author meet events that are worth looking out for too. If you're looking for book recommendations, this is the place. You get the impression here that they actually read the books.

Jessica Brown

proactive in the book community, supporting established and newly published authors alike.....

This is a lovely bookshop which stocks a large variety of books. The staff are really friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. It is very proactive in the book community, supporting established and newly published authors alike. Plenty of events to interest anyone who loves reading.

Ian Hornett

Get in touch

Let's Work Together!

If you are preparing a book for publication why not get in touch and let us know about your plans. we can talk about what might be possible to feature your book in the shop and here on the website.