The two of us had a fairly simple goal in mind when we began to outline our book Jewtopia: The Chosen Book for the Chosen People. We wanted to write the craziest, most outrageous, most over-the-top, must-have Jewish humor book that had ever been created. No exaggeration. We went into this wanting to do something that had never been done before. Our real inspiration came from the Jon Stewart "America" book. We loved the way that book covered so much comedic ground and that it didn't matter where in the book you turned to, there was always something funny and visually stimulating on every page.
There was only one slight problem: neither of us had the technical skills to design and layout the book we wanted to create. But in our heads, we knew exactly what the book would look like. So we did what any industrious writers would do; we went on Craigslist and hired artists and graphic designers to design and lay out the book for us. Yes, that's right. Craigslist. We collected resumes, had people come to our house, interviewed them, and put together a team to help us lay out our book.
Over the course of six months, we had 10 people working in our house on our book full time. We spent every dime of our advance (and even more out of our own pockets), to pay all of these people for their great work. We literally created an entire design studio in our kitchen. The day was spent working with the artists and graphic designers, describing how we envisioned each page of the book and working with them to execute our vision. This would happen from about 10 am to 8 pm at night. We would both take a quick dinner and workout break, then from around 10 pm to 4 am, we would do what we were actually hired to do by Hachette, which was write the text of the book.
The craziest part of the whole experience, was that we were originally hired by Hachette to write a 6 by 9, black and white book, text only, no color or pictures. The book we were creating was going to be four times as expensive to produce and was not what we hired to do. If you want to get technical, we were in breach of contract. But because we're perfectionists, and just a little nuts, we didn't care and we kept moving forward creating the book we wanted to create.
Once we had completed the first four chapters, we showed them to Hachette, and luckily, they flipped for it. They supported our vision and gave our book a full marketing push and made it one of their big releases for the fall. We only hope that Jewtopia: The Chosen Book for the Chosen People will become the huge hit we believe it can be. If you're reading this, be sure to buy the book or come see Jewtopia: The Play on Broadway while you're in New York...and make to visit our website, www.jewtopiabook.com!!!