Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'll be in Chicago during Pilcrow May 17-23

The Pilcrow Literary Festival
takes place in Chicago from Sunday May 17 through Saturday May 23. There are events throughout the week, and a full schedule on Saturday, starting with a 9:15 am check-in at Trader Todd's. Check out the full calendar of events here.

Wednesday, May 20
I will be a guest at the Show 'n Tell Show at 7:00 pm at The Whistler (2421 N. Milwaukee; 773-227-3530). It's free to attend, and the guests will be talking about book design. Guests include Jay Ryan, Paul Hornschemeier, Zach Huelsing & Matt Kessler, and Doug Fogelson.

Thursday, May 21, and Friday, May 22
Check out the Pilcrow Calendar for events these days. I'll be at these as an attendee.

Saturday, May 23
10:00-10:45 am at Matilda's (3101 N Sheffield Ave; 773-883-4400): Recession Blues: Writers and publishers discuss promoting their work with more creativity than capital. Panelists: David Barringer, Gina Frangello, Leah Jones, Nick Ostdick, Ben Tanzer.

1:00-1:45 pm at Matilda's: The Design Panel: Designers discuss book production and design elements. Moderator: Zach Dodson. Panelists: Sally Alatalo, David Barringer, Ezra Claytan Daniels, Doug Fogelson, Jon Resh.

3:00-3:45 pm at Trader Todd's (3216 N Sheffield Ave; 773-348-3250): The Collaboration Panel: Writers and publishers discuss strategies, mistakes, and successes in collaborative literary efforts. Moderator: David Barringer. Panelists: Amanda Delheimer, Tim Hall, Jason Pettus, Megan Stielstra, Ben Tanzer, Lindsay Tigue, Todd Zuniga.

5:00-5:45 pm at Matilda's: Niches, Tech Writing and Event Coverage:
Panelists offer industry insight as they discuss various approaches to event coverage, niche blogging, and technical writing.
Moderator: Andrew Huff. Panelists: David Barringer, Theresa Carter, Cinnamon Cooper, Tim Jahn.

7:00 pm at Viaduct Theatre (3111 N. Western Ave.; 773-296-6024): Opium's Literary Death Match. The lineup boasts judges T.J. Jagadowski, David Barringer (Opium’s designer) and readers Brian Costello (RUI), Bobby Biedrzycki (2nd Story), Max Glaessner (Windy City Story Slam) and more! Hosted by: Todd Zuniga & Amy Guth. Doors at 7 pm, show at 8 pm. $12 ticket.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Unbound: a new book on the future of the business of law

This book was a two-year collaboration between two Davids. David Galbenski conceived the project, defined the trends, and edited many drafts, while I organized, researched, interviewed, wrote, and designed the book. The project changed as the global marketplace changed, especially during 2008 and early 2009. I updated the book with the latest news reports almost daily until we went to press in March. It's about the future of the legal industry, the ongoing transition of the profession of law into the business of law, and the opportunities for entrepreneurs in this area.

The first interesting aspect of this project is that Galbenski, whom I've known since 1995 when I graduated law school, allowed me to write as a journalist. I supported all arguments with research, statistics, and evidence of all kinds, but I kept the language as jargon-free as possible in order to make the book accessible to a general-interest reader. And I was able to follow the evidence where it led, rather than cherrypick evidence to support some grand theme. It was a great, worthwhile experience, and I mention that because these collaborations can, for writers, be frustrating. If I'd felt my integrity being compromised, I would have walked away. Instead, I have my name on the cover. It's 256 pages, hardcover, about 5.5 x 8.5. More info at

The second interesting aspect is the marketing of this book. It's rocket-fueled. When the book went to press, I felt my work was finally done. I was exhausted and glad to stop. But that's when Galbenski was ready, finally, to start. There's a big difference between the creation of the book and the marketing of the book, and that's why a book like this really needs two different kinds of people with two totally different skills. The business folks see this book as a valuable product, and they know exactly what to do with a valuable product. This book has a public-relations guy, a website team, someone mailing books out to trade journals and select outlets, and I don't know who else. As a writer, I find it a relief to see other people fired up to do this kind of work. Other people value my work on this book and are working hard, right now, to get the word out. Now that's publishing.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Opium 8

Opium Magazine Issue 8: The Infinity Issue. Learn about the unique, thousand-year cover here. Learn about the contents and see a preview of the interior here. I design the magazine, work as senior editor, and contribute content. Each issue is designed differently. Also, Opium holds Literary Death Matches across the country. Visit the site for information on the next shows in Boston (May 21), Chicago (May 23), New York (May 27), San Francisco (June 12), and Paris (September 23). I will be a judge at the Chicago Death Match, which is Saturday, May 23. Doors open at 7 pm and show starts at 8 pm at Viaduct Theater (3111 N. Western Ave., ph: 773-296-6024). The Death Match caps the week of the Pilcrow Literary Festival.

Monday, May 11, 2009

American Soma

American Soma by Savannah Schroll Guz will be out shortly from So New. I designed the cover and interior. The word soma has many connotations relating to a kind of waking sleep state, with some meanings traceable to early Native Americans. The most famous literary use is in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, in which people are required to take soma to remain happy and complacent. Today, soma is a muscle relaxer that blocks sensations of pain sent from the nerves to the brain. In the design of the book, I settled on evoking a sterile, pharmacological, drug-induced bliss.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

World Takes is a new collection of stories from Timmy Waldron, published this year by Word Riot Press. I designed the cover and interior, which included photos and other fun graphic touches. He has a funny list at McSweeney's.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Opium 7

I designed the interior of Opium Magazine Issue 7, which came out end of 2008. See preview at here. Contributors: Etgar Keret, David Markson, Steve Almond, Neil Labute, Chuck Close, Lauren Schenkman, Amy Shearn, Melissa Broder, Michael Leong, Bradley Bazzle, Mike Sacks, Anne R. Allen, Kristina Moriconi, and more. An art section curated by Jesse Nathan includes work from Art Spiegelman, David Shrigley, CM Evans. The issue also features the first Network of Writers Experiment pages and the winners of the 7-line Story Contest.