The Art of Gig Books

My 2-volume collection of essays about independent consulting and life in the gig economy, The Art of Gig, is finally out. It is available in paperback and Kindle ebook form on Amazon.

For those of you who have no idea what this is about, between 2019-21 I wrote a limited-run Substack newsletter on the indie consulting life and the gig economy. About 2/3 of the newsletter issues were non-fiction essays. These are compiled into the two volumes above. All the essays have been carefully edited, updated, grouped into hopefully useful sections, and sequenced. The material flows surprisingly smoothly, if I do say so myself. The images and diagrams have been up-res’d, updated, and in some cases, entirely redrawn for the books.

As the subtitles suggest, Volume 1 establishes some foundational ideas, and Volume 2 builds on those foundations. Both volumes are at a roughly intermediate level of sophistication, and should be accessible to anyone with at least a year or two of work experience. If you’re in the gig economy, are considering diving into it, or have been unceremoniously tossed into it by layoffs and such, I suspect these volumes might be useful to you. They should also be valuable to recent graduates thinking about alternatives to traditional career paths, though I suspect the material will be harder to grok without at least a little work experience under your belt.

Since we’re just heading into the holiday season, you might want to consider gifting these books to any friends and family members who need a bit of a kick in the pants to think more creatively about their careers.

This is my first foray into print since Tempo 11 years ago, and it took quite a bit of effort to get the paperbacks done (it’s like 3x more work than ebooks alone). So everybody who’s been bugging me to do print editions of my books had better buy them. If this works out well, I might consider going back and doing print editions of my older ebook-only volumes.

Thanks to my collaborator, publishing veteran Jenna Dixon, I think both the ebook and print volumes turned out beautifully. Grace Witherell, my long-time artist collaborator, made the covers. I think she nailed the Sun Tzu Art of War homage I was going for perfectly. And huge thanks to the ~4k readers of the original newsletter. I’m not great at just going off by myself to write book-length things. I need weekly doses of validation to write, and the newsletter subscribers provided that in spades. The concluding section of Volume 2 has 3 chapters worth of Q&A, and I’ll be sending out complimentary copies of the books to people whose questions are featured.

Here’s the link to the page with both formats of both volumes again: The Art of Gig. The Kindle editions are $9.99 and the paperbacks are $18.95 each.

I’ll get around to making these available via more distribution channels eventually (non-Amazon paperback distribution, other e-readers). The Kindle versions should be available worldwide, but the paperbacks will currently only be available in markets where Amazon has print-on-demand fulfillment going.

Boosting, reviews, sharing on email lists etc. would be much appreciated. If you host a podcast on themes related to the books (gig economy, free agency, consulting, creator economy etc. etc.) I am happy to come on to shamelessly shill them, and talk shop. At least until I run out of social energy. Depending on timing/location, I may also be able to take on speaking gigs based on the books.

Many people have asked, but I currently have no plans to convert the material into an online course. But I might make a video or something. Or at least a nice slide deck (the books have a lot of diagrams in them, which I kinda want to do more with). If you run a course for which this material is relevant, I’m open to dropping by to do a guest session or Q&A. I’m not entirely sure this stuff lends itself to live delivery formats, but I’ll try at least a few experiments.

But Wait, There’s More!

The newsletter also featured an absurdist sci-fi/fantasy consulting fiction series (I think I invented this genre) set in a universe I call the Yakverse. This material is not included in the two volumes above.

I have different, more experimental plans for getting that material out next year. I know many of you were looking forward to that material in particular, but I suspect you’ll enjoy whatever I come up with better than if I’d just turned them into a third volume.

As you may know if you’ve been reading me for a while, this whole newsletter project was inspired by my 2015 short story, The Art of Gig, which was later retconned into the fiction series as a prelude. So you can read that online now for a taste of the Yakverse stuff to come.

I also have other random collateral stuff sitting around from the newsletter project, like a card game, a set of 100 consulting tips (included in Volume 2 as an epilogue) that I made into a learning deck, and silly Yakverse artifacts like coins. I’m still mulling what to do with all that. Suggestions welcome.

I have a rudimentary Book/Project Website at Right now it just has the basic stuff about the books, but any future developments will unfold there.

One of the most rewarding things to come out of this whole project so far was the Yak Collective, our 3-year-old band of indies doing random creative projects together. If you’re looking for somewhere to go to chat about the themes and ideas of the books, there’s no better place. We have study groups going on interesting topics, a rover-building project, and more.

Anyway, thanks again to everybody who made these books possible. Now go buy them.

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About Venkatesh Rao

Venkat is the founder and editor-in-chief of ribbonfarm. Follow him on Twitter


  1. Congratulations! The cover is very nice.

    I don’t really read non-fiction but glad to see your writing career thriving.

  2. Bought both the copies. So excited to finally see that this is published.

  3. I’ve recently started following you on Twitter (last ~3 months), and reading your newsletter. Excited to see that you launched these books, and I’ll definitely dive deeper into the Venkatesh Rao universe.