Help wanted: Editor/Curator for my next book

I’m looking to hire someone to play a unique role in my next book.

(UPDATE: Position FILLED – Please do not apply)

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’re not edited or curated well enough to work as a book. We will do much better than this.

My plan: I’m hiring an editor who will act as a both a project leader and collaborator. Which essays to use? How should it be organized? How can 1200 articles and essays be hand-picked and sculpted down to make for a fantastic read? This is a rare opportunity for a kick-ass editor to do more than be an editing slave. You will both help craft the themes of the book, suggest some new content, and then passionately drive it through the publishing process, from copyedits, to reviews, all the way to fruition, with no bureaucracy: it’s just me, you and a few other hand-picked people we choose.

Here are the responsibilities:

  • Drive the curation and organization of the book
  • Be the main leader for the self-publishing process: you are the PM
  • Suggest and provoke me to write new material if needed
  • Partner with a graphic/book designer on the cover, and interior design
  • Use the readers of to help drive some choices
  • lead a team of volunteer copy-editors / indexers / etc.

Here are the rewards:

  • I’d pay you a flat fee. Won’t be much, but it will be something.
  • You’ll get your name on the cover of the book – a super-duper credit for your resume
  • If you’re a fan, you’ll get a unique opportunity to define one of my books
  • More influence over a book then you will ever have


  • You have experience editing books, from copy-editing to production
  • 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 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 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.

3. When does this start?

The project starts as soon as I find you. The plan would be to publish the book either late this fall, or early next spring.

To Apply:

  1. Email me: info at scottberkun dot com
  2. With the subject: I kick ass
  3. Please include: Your editing resume, your favorite cocktail, and who in the world you’d most like to anonymously poke in the eye

25 Responses to “Help wanted: Editor/Curator for my next book”

  1. Karel Goodwin

    Interesting coincidence. Last night I found myself dreaming that I suddenly had 100,000 dataforms that needed to be input in a CRM. But I didn’t know what the product was or why all that data needed to be recorded. Later, I remembered that most of people of my LinkedIn group don’t log into LinkedIn; they simply read the updates in their email. Well, what about people who don’t read email? I thought maybe it would be an interesting magazine to sell in airports if the magazine contained a week’s worth of online articles and blogs on a wide variety of topics. Well, I guess Scott is on track. Archive those old blogs into a book and/or a magazine.

    1. Scott Berkun

      Nate: I have a pet unicorn. I have two pet unicorns in fact (and one of them has their own pet unicorn too) – and I can lend one to the right person, which, from your comment, I suspect is not you. Oh well :)

  2. Harris

    Suggestions free of cost:)

    You have so much material, I would not go and think of doing one book. Rather I will suggest you come up with a set of books but first publish one and see the response. And later you can sell it as sets as well ;)

    Say an average article is of 5 pages, if you publish 25 articles, it will be a nice handy book of 125 pages. (With your love of words 5 is bare minimum, normally your essays go a good 8-10 pages). All related to one broad topic.

    Since most of the material is available, an exclusive essay/article per book will be a good attraction.

    I can even think of a name for your first book
    Scott Berkun on A$$Hole$


    –Harris M Qureshi

  3. Sean Crawford

    I see on my sticky notes to remember to go back to read your stuff of May 2005; so hey, you remember too.

  4. Kathy sierra

    I love this whole idea–the book and your search for the ideal editor/curator. What I do not get is the flat fee… Why not a royalty as well? Yes this introduces bookkeeping headaches, but this is manageable with simple outsourcing, and in my opinion worth it. With the flat fee and billing the opportunity as, well, an opportunity for a fan and a “super duper resume credit”‘ you are doing the very thing I believe is responsible for so many low-selling books.
    Not that your book won’t be a great read no matter what; it’s the do-it-for-the-resume part that makes me cringe. And even a huge flat fee would still have the same issue.

  5. Amye

    I’m with Kathy on this one. It’s an awesome idea.. but someone who can do this can likely write their own books as well. Which tends to make “More influence over a book then you will ever have” something of a moot point.

    I think the ‘exchange’ part will probably work itself out with the right person. But it still looks a little silly to ask for someone who’s clearly going to be a self-starter and then unintentionally belittle the candidates.

  6. Scott Berkun

    Kathy/Amye: Hmmm. Interesting. I just really thought it’d be unlikely someone would want royalties for a self-published book, that by design is going to be mostly republished stuff.

    I have about 15 submissions so far and none have complained about the fee thing yet. If there’s a great candidate and this is a huge issue I’d certainly consider it, assuming I could figure out how to make it work.

  7. Kathy sierra

    Scott, I am not at all surprised that nobody would complain about the fee… I am suggesting that there is often a conflict of interest between what’s good for the resume vs. What’s good for the readers. It is the premise behind virtually everything I have to say about books/authoring. In other words, the person I would want for this would say, screw the resume… Let’s sell some books! Not “for the money” but in the same way a start-up hopes to craft that product that the highest number of people actually want to use.
    One beauty of the non-fiction book world is that (with some outliers and exceptions, of course), the longest-running bestsellers in a category are nearly always the ones that readers find most useful. What makes the author/editor look awesome is sometimes contrary to what makes the reader be awesome. Again, not that you would have this issue, but we have all got shelves full of books that make the author look very smart and important indeed, while leaving the reader lost. Or bored. Or worse… Feeling like an idiot.

    I guess I would slightly rephrase what I think is important as something like, don’t do it for YOUR resume… The bestsellers are those most likely to pump up the READER’S resume. Not that those two cannot co-exist, but it’s a tricky venn diagram. You already know my personal story on this: my books if anything hurt my resume at the beginning, but five years in we have sold more than a million copies in print of a book even most employees at o’reilly hated and borders and b and n refused to stock, until they say Amazon sales. It is always up to the readers, and they choose what makes THEM look good. As it should be.

  8. Kathy sierra

    Haha… Correction to prior comment… We’ve sold a million copies in print of our book “series”‘ not a single book. Though that would be cool… A million copies of just one single book ; ). I think the top-selling books bert and I did are all around 150,000 print sales each so far. Kind of wimpy numbers if this were the year 2000, but post dot com crash that is very nearly as good as it gets in the computer/tech space. Someday I will learn to write a book about something with a bigger market than tech… I’m thinking’ pets. Yes, puppies. With pet unicorns.

  9. Alan Engle

    I don’t understand Mr. Smith’s Pessimism. It doesn’t look to me like you are asking for anything that extraordinary at all. I’m sure many writers would want everything you asked for and more. Although I am not even close to being worthy enough to apply for the above mentioned job if I even had some of the criteria, I would jump at the chance. But I’m not an editor either. I have heard you talk though, and I have no doubt that you not only have two pet Unicorns, but a Unicorn factory as well. As a matter of fact, I liken you to the Mama Alien in the movie “Aliens” where the Mother is laying thousands upon thousands of eggs, but in your case they’re unicorns. But that’s what innovators do, the create dreams and show people how to make them come true. So whatever you do Scott, keep Makin those FUCKING Unicorns for us because if it weren’t for people like you, we’d still be riding donkey’s, in the dark.
    I would say best of luck, but people like you make their way. So all I can do is cheer you on and volunteer to give you a hand with anything I might be useful for.
    Alan K Engle Engle Computer Service

  10. Jim Delp

    A wonderful idea. Presumably, both you and your curator are going to document the experience and share with your faithful followers.

  11. Franke

    Nate: Wouldn’t a pet dragon be way more fun? Might cause a big of a housing problem, and would make getting a fire insurance possible.

  12. Ellen Daehnick

    Scott – this is an audacious and incredibly interesting idea. I am so psyched to read your blog posts about it as it unfolds.

  13. I kick ass anyway

    I love the gobs of energy galloping through your job posting. Why galloping? I have pet unicorns on the brain. Lame. I know.

    Seriously though, great posting. It further proves your communication exceptionalism. You sell yourself, your humor, passion and commmitment while setting the expectation that you are seeking the same in a partner. This demonstrates that you know who you are and what you value in your work relationships, but it also makes it clear that you understand the people who are following you and your work. Even for those who have no interest in applying, this post successfully reinforces the Berkun brand.

    Bonus points on the extra detail in explaining why no O’Reilly. That was my first question.

    I’d be a strong candidate for this, but I’m a teetotaler. Fuck!!!

  14. Mike Nitabach

    Dude, that sounds fucking fun! You better write in detail about the process itself once it’s done!

  15. Les

    At my age, I don’t need to do it for the resume. My experience has shown that flat fees are not econominally feasible for the professional doing the work since the amount of work normally outweighs whatever fee is offered.
    The question you must ask is: how much is the job worth and should a top-natoch professional spend his or her valuable time on the project? Make the project worthwhile to me and I will kick ass to produce a kick-ass book.

  16. Kris Bauske

    Hi Scott,

    I am a bibliophile of the highest degree. I hold a B.A. in English from University of Michigan, and I’m a published author. ( On my off hours, I edit manuscripts for other writers interested in self-publishing. They seek me out because they know I’m obsessive about ensuring every page is clean! Sounds like we could be a match made in heaven! Feel free to contact me at your convenience!
    Many Thanks,
    Kris Bauske

    1. Melissa Molomo


      I am actually looking for an Editor/Curator myself. Saw your reply and was wondering If you could shoot me an e-mail. I am working on my first book, but it most certainly has the potential to be a best seller! I have a pretty decent following. Need the best team of all time willing to work on me with this project.

      It is a self-help/motivational book.

      Will explain more once you contact me.

      Kindest Regards,
      Melissa Molmo



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