Book Designer Jerry Kelly on what to do once you’ve written your Manuscript

I’ve long been interested in rhetoric, the techniques of persuasive argument, propaganda; the use of passionate language. It’s why I collect publishers’ sales and bookseller catalogues, I’m sure!    Ever since first laying hands on the bookseller catalogues that Jerry Kelly has, over the years, designed for the likes of Jonathan A. Hill and Glenn Horowitz, I’ve held the conviction that he is one of America’s truly great book designers. It’s hard to describe this conviction. His work just looks and feels right to me. “Read me.” it says. “I’m worth looking at.” It’s worth looking at of course because it’s a product of years of dedicated study, and passionate practice. These kind of deeply precious objects don’t just appear out of nowhere.   Take the type for example. Its selection, how it augments the arguments and value propositions put forward in these catalogues; how it adds to their credibility, their conviction, makes the words seem more important. Or the aptness of the paper choices, their relevant colours, the statements made by their weights and textures. The way the choice of ink pigments clarify and emphasize. It all burnishes the larger persuasive effect.    But enough waxing. I recently decided that when I finally do come up with a manuscript, I want Jerry to turn it into a book.   That “when” in fact, is now, while I’m here in Prague. I plan to write eight or nine profiles of a select set of people I’ve interviewed over the years. With this in mind I recently Zoomed Jerry, prior of course to having written a word.    Our conversation focuses solely on how beautiful the end product might look if Jerry deigns to design it. We start with what he needs in order to get going: words and pictures, and specs. Then we look at the three publishing options that exist.   

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