I thought I’d seen mainstream publishing attempt some strange things, but Simon & Schuster’s ambitious Taylor Swift book is probably the most interesting. Set to release in October 24, 2016, the book will be a massive collection of photos, fan art, and the best written works on the singer to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Tswift’s first record release. The singer herself hasn’t publicly backed this project or had anything to do with it, but fans are encouraged to contribute in multiple ways, starting with written works:
…the best writing published about Swift during the past decade, beginning with the first press release for 2006’s Taylor Swift, and including magazine work by writers like Sasha Frere-Jones, Ann Powers, Chuck Klosterman, Jody Rosen, Jada Yuan, and more. To suggest a favorite piece about Taylor, fans should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There’s a title contest:
Every great book—especially one about Taylor—needs a great title. This is your chance to tell us what you think the title of this book should be. Between December 13, 2015 and January 13, 2016, enter your title and a brief essay explaining why your title is perfect in 250 words or less. The winner, to be chosen by the Swifties at Simon & Schuster, will receive $2,500 and the opportunity to receive credit in the finished book.
Are you Taylor’s biggest fan? This book is a group effort, but we’re looking to award one super-Swiftie the opportunity to be the honorary author who will help us pick the best content for the book and act as the public face of the project in the media. If you think you have the passion, knowledge, creativity, and charisma that we need, tell us why you should be the honorary author in a video of three minutes or less. Upload your video between December 13, 2015 and January 13, 2016. The winner will receive $10,000 and the opportunity to have your name on the cover of the book and a trip to New York at the time of publication for a press tour, book signing, and more.
Are you an artist? Have a flair for graphic design? Once the book’s title and author have been determined and announced, fans will have the chance to create the cover that they think will best capture the spirit of Taylor and her music. The winning cover may be used on the published book, seen in stores and on bookshelves everywhere, and its creator will receive credit in the book and $5,000.
Please note that all elements of your cover design must be original.
Upload your cover here between February 1, 2016 and March 1, 2016.
It sounds like a great idea, especially given how much Taylor Swift gives and connects with her fans. The only issue with this idea is compensating the fans for their work appearing in the book in the form of photographs they’ve taken of the Swift and various fan art, which they can submit here: email@example.com. Luckily, the publisher has offered to credit and pay them along with a free copy of the book in exchange for their works. With that in mind, I’m glad that a project like this is happening and even though I didn’t see something like this coming, it makes sense with the popularity of online fandom. It is interesting to see a big publisher take on a project that is normally spearheaded by fans, like the recently published Hannibal artbook Tredici and the just-funded Hannibal fanwork anthology. However, even if Tswift isn’t officially behind this, I think she’d like to have a book showcasing her personal journey in the eyes of her fans.