My book is out today! And although I wrote a bit about it when it was first announced, I’m going to indulge in just a little more.
Fruits of labors, via Mr. Santa Maria
I wrote The Elements of Content Strategy because as the internet worms its way further and further into our lives, digital content becomes centrally important to the ways in which we live and work. And it follows that content strategy—the practice of planning for, designing, and managing content—is also getting closer to the center of both web projects and entire organizations.
So I wrote this book in the hope of providing a compact, useful reference—both for those of us already doing content strategy work, and for those who want to know more about working with (or becoming) content strategists. Like the two superb books that precede it at A Book Apart, Elements is meant to be a handbook, in the literal sense, which the OED has, charmingly, as “A small book or treatise, such as may conveniently be held in the hand.”
But it’s also meant to be a book kept close at hand for use during spells of intensive effort. In that way, it’s a book I wrote because I needed it myself, if only to remind myself of things I’d already learned: not just deliverables and processes, but principles, rationales, and traditions that might be called into service when weird new problems arise.
Old-School Publishing for the New World
What can I say about A Book Apart, except that they have been ideal publishers in every way? Jeffrey, Jason, and Mandy do extraordinary work with an attention to editorial rigor and design integrity that is unsurpassed in our field, or most others. It’s also a genuine honor to join Jeremy, Dan, and (soon!) Ethan on the ABA shelf.
Beyond this, though, I hope that the viability of A Book Apart’s approach is a sign of good things to come. On one hand, it’s a very new-school publisher, built on a web-based brand and the ability to sell books directly to readers with little friction. But on the other hand, it’s a very old-school house, built on editorial and design values too often abandoned by the traditional presses.
Many of my favorite books of the last few years have been published by small presses like Unbridled, Akashic, Subterranean, and the astoundingly great Small Beer, or by micro-presses like Temporary Culture and Graphics Press. In a moment of economic disaster for so many publishing and media companies, these presses demonstrate that old-fashioned editorial care is still viable if you make it the center of what you do. The existence of publishers like these, within our industry and outside it, fills me with optimism.
I am so grateful to Jeffrey, Mandy, and Jason for giving me the opportunity to write precisely the sort of book I wanted to write, and for making my manuscript into such a beautiful little object. I hope the result proves useful enough to reward their confidence.