Welcome to “New Hotness,” an ENCLAVE series dedicated to featuring new and exceedingly metal developments in the publishing industry. Given how quickly social media and the media industries at large continue to develop, it’s really easy to lose track of all the great work being produced and promoted by literary citizens industry-wide. For every well-deserved profile by a prominent blog, there are dozens of lit citizens going relatively unnoticed. Well, here’s my attempt to help draw some attention to the people, the powerhouses, operating in publishing.
The inaugural edition features one of the most prolific artists working this side of surreal fiction, experimental music, and book design. His name is Matthew Revert, author of “Basal Ganglia,” the album, “Not You,” and single-handedly the man that gave over hundreds of books a face to stand behind. I state, with no hyperbole, that without a lit citizen like Revert, indie lit would not be the strong, DIY showcase it has surely become. Revert makes more than splash with his work; he leads us to new oceans of intrigue. He’s forging new rivers of Revertian design. We are, quite possibly, basking in what could be called, a “Revertian Renaissance.”
It wouldn’t be “New Hotness” without handing over this space to the lit citizen, allowing them the ability to speak about their work, showcases some of their favorite pieces, and provide a first-hand exclusive or two to what they’ve been working on lately. Without another sentence, I pass it over to Revert.
“I became a designer by accident. I still don’t consider myself a designer and when people attribute that label to me, I’m not sure how to take it. Whenever something I design is made public, I always imagine real ‘designers’ who can comfortably have that label attributed to them shaking their head in bemusement when they witness my flailing attempts. Despite any opinions I may hold regarding my own merit, in the last few years I have had the opportunity to work with more labels, presses and artists than I can count. This has led to great professional and personal relationships and in that regard, I am very grateful.
“I was asked to present a handful of new designs. A good number of what you will see below have not been seen before now. They are very much hot off the press and I thank the presses and labels that have given me permission to share these pieces.
How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers by Max Booth III (Bizarro Pulp Press, 2015)
Although this design has recently been made public, I wanted to include it in here as an example of one of my very few predominantly handmade pieces. The method by which I approach a design varies wildly from press to press. Often my contact remains with the press and during the design process I have little to no contact with the author themselves. Bizarro Pulp Press operate a differently in that the design process consists of direct conversation between the author and myself. I have designed several books for Max before and enjoy a very easy working relationship with him. He is one of those who will give me a couple of general ideas and then let me do whatever my whim dictates. For this design, one of those general ideas was that of a ransom note. I liked the possible directions such a concept might take. I knew from the start I had no interest in seeking out some generic ransom note-like font and figured if I were going to go down this path, I needed to make it myself by hand. This led to every aspect of the design being assembled by hand (a hand which was cut by my x-acto knife on more than one occasion). I was very happy with the end result but knew it was out there, even for me. I thought there was a very good chance this design would be rejected and was overjoyed when Max and the press responded with such enthusiasm.