(This post has been entirely revised and updated – you should go here)
I’m looking to hire someone to play a unique role in my next book: The Designer.
The plan is to self-publish a collection of my best writings to date, from essays, to blog posts, to magazine articles. But the goal is to avoid the traps of most “blog posts in a bundle” books – which usually stink. They have a reputation for not being well designed, edited, or curated, to work as a book. We intend to blow those perception to smithereens.
I’ve hired an awesome editor as the first key member of the team. Now it’s time for the next key member: the designer.
The role: A book is a kind of user experience, starting with the cover, but extending to every font, every layout, every chunk of whitespace. Typically designers come in late, are forced to work quickly and without much input – it’s no wonder most books are so ugly, so sad, so unloved. This role will different. You’ll be involved early. You’ll have power and influence over what’s in the book, not just how it looks. There will be no bureaucracy: it’s just me, you, Krista (editor) and a few other hand-picked people we choose.
Here are the responsibilities:
- Drive the visual design and user experience of the book
- Have primary authority over the cover design, typography, layout and interior choices
- Manage the challenges of print and e-book (kindle/pdf) design
- Contribute to the vision for the book itself
- Suggest and provoke me to write new material
- Collaborate with me, Krista and other team members
- Use the readers of scottberkun.com to contribute ideas and feedback
Here are the rewards:
- More influence over a book’s design than you will ever have
- The potential to do great work with great people
- Redefine the contribution of design to modern book publishing
- If you’re a fan, you’ll get a unique opportunity to define one of my books
- This is currently not a paid role. If this offends you, I understand – don’t apply. I am convinced the opportunities on this project outweigh what you’d expect to be paid for a similiar role on a lame project. (See On working for free for a longer explanation)
- You will be paid a flat fee – it won’t be much but it will be something.
- I’m considering a bonus structure for team members based on how well the book does (perhaps something when it breaks even, and something else if it makes a 10% or more profit). But I can’t promise anything at this point.
Requirements (read them all – it’s a test):
- You are a visual design god/goddess (in the opinion of people other than your Mom and your cat)
- You enjoy collaboration with smart, fun people – good feedback inspires you
- You love books
- You are really fucking smart
- You are really fucking funny/sarcastic
- You are not offended by the word fuck
- You are organized, self-directed, and can lead a project with many parts
- You’ve always wanted to contribute to a beautiful, well-crafted, book that defies convention in favor of smart, clever ideas for book design
- You are psyched about this for reasons other than money
- Bonus points for being a fan, or being familiar with my writings
1. Why aren’t you (Scott) working with O’Reilly Media again?
The main reason is to do an experiment – what happens if I/we have control over the entire process? I’m sure I’ll learn things about writing books I couldn’t learn any other way. What would happen if I/we didn’t need anyone’s approval for anything? I want to find out.
2. How will you self-publish it?
There are great options these days that make self-publishing transparent to readers – fans can buy the book via amazon or kindle and never know. Details TBD by the editor/curator (Krista).
3. When does this start?
It’s already moving. Krista and I are working on outlines. The train is moving and picking up speed.
- Email me: info at scottberkun dot com
- With the subject: I kick ass at design
- Must include: a link to your design portfolio, your favorite cartoon character, and who in the world you’d most like to see naked
- Deadline Fri: November 5th