With a publishing deal under my belt and a book launched in Europe, and let’s face it the UK being the primary market, Know Your Onions: Graphic Design (as of March 2019) has been re-printed 14 times to the tune of 56,000 copies. It has been translated into Chinese, simplified Chinese for Thailand and Japanese. I am, of course, delighted by this, but find it odd that France, Germany, Italy and cultural countries that are more aligned with the UK have not been so successful.
The next subject I tackled was web design. A far more slippery and shape-shifting subject matter. With the ever changing world of UX, UI and the technology that underpins web design, it was a mildly risky subject matter to commit to a book format. No matter, Know Your Onions: Web Design was born and BIS Publishers snapped it up.
As with all of my books, the focus was on the underlying principles and steering away from showing any examples of Navig8’s work or that of other agencies. Again, my focus for the readership was designers with some knowledge who wanted to become experts in their field.
My readership were seeking me out and an increasing number were asking specific questions about how they could get their portfolio in shape and get a job. I recognised the need for a book that would tell them just how to do that. I received lots of emails from potential employees and saw the same issues and mistakes they made when approaching an agency for a job. So, I wrote a list of the things I kept seeing and the solutions I would suggest to them to help them gain a better chance of landing that dream job.
The subject matter, to my mind, did not warrant a huge tome, but a diminutive, straight to the point, honest set of solutions for a would-be graphic designer. And so, What to Put in Your Portfolio and Get a Job: Graphic Design came into being. I recognise the dichotomy between a tiny A6 book and a very long title, but, as the saying goes, it does what it says on the tin.
My publisher declined the title on the basis that it was too small, so it would get lost on the bookshelf in stores. I think they may be right about that. They later approached me reversing their decision, but by then I had set up Articul8 Publishing and the ship had sailed.
I knew I had a market. After all, people were contacting me daily. Because I don’t have a global distribution deal (although it can be ordered globally and through the distributors, Garners) the UK was my main market. Despite this, and Amazon’s frankly disgusting delivery cost policy for independent sellers that forces me to charge a huge delivery cost that they pocket, the book sells well.
It has sold all over the world, from Norway to the US, from Mauritius to New Zealand, and I apologise to my readership for the exorbitant delivery costs.
Tip: to get over this buy it direct from Articul8 Publishing. There you can also get your hands on Take Note, a notebook for designers and design buyers that has a tip on every page.
Then I had a son.
Like many parents, especially authors, the experience moves you to write about your experiences. In a week, I had ‘written’ it, and with the help of my team it was illustrated and ready for press. The Art of Parenting was never going to be a great literary hit. It’s a heads up, piss take, pictorial synopsis of early years parenting.
To my astonishment, BIS Publishing (now purchased by the leviathan Laurence King Publishers) wanted it, re-printed it in a week because the Australian market had pre-ordered so many and – you can’t make this up – translated it into German.
Talk about off piste.
I have more in the ‘Art of’ range ready to go. They are just a bit of fun. But the big subject to tackle in the Know Your Onions range is corporate identity. I’m getting there.