Allen Zuk

Allen Zuk - Web Developer

Prague, Czechia

I design beautiful author websites you can edit yourself. 20+ years in marketing for HMH, HarperCollins, S and S, Penguin Random House.

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Overview

I offer 20+ years' experience in website design for the book publishing industry, specializing in striking, unusual author websites. Recent clients include Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Transatlantic Agency, authors at HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, and many self-published authors.

I have 14 years' experience delivering workshops in book, ebook, and website design at the postgraduate level to students with a wide variety of backgrounds and technological skill levels, so I can speak with you about the design and maintenance of your website in jargon-free language.

I begin projects with a discussion about any existing websites or other media the author may have found attractive or inspiring (if any), as well as to take the author's personal ideas and preferences into consideration. After I've produced a prototype design, we then go through a series of revisions to get the look, feel, and functionality just right on computers, tablets, and smartphones. I offer consulting throughout this process to help you set up and incorporate social media and any other digital marketing initiatives with your new website.

I build sites using WordPress, so if you're already familiar with that platform, you'll find it easy to write and edit content on your new website. However, I can provide as much training and documentation you may require to allow you to make changes and post content yourself.

I'm not the least expensive option, and I put a lot of work and detail into my quotes, so if you're just looking for the lowest price, please don't bother with me. However, I don't charge as much as a typical agency -- my overhead is low, so my prices are reasonable.
Services
Non-Fiction
Biographies & Memoirs
Business & Management
Humanities & Social Sciences
Travel
Fiction
Children's
Fantasy
Literary Fiction
Mystery & Crime
Works with
WordPress

Certifications

  • Ontario Graduate Certificate, Creative Book Publishing, Humber College, Toronto, Canada
  • Teaching in a Digital World Certificate, Humber College, Toronto, Canada
  • BA in English Literature, with a Specialization in Non-Fiction Creative Writing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
  • Certificate in Graphic Design Fundamentals, Mount Royal University, Calgary, Canada

Work experience

Publishing Consultant, Website Designer, Book & Ebook Designer

Self-employed
January, 2001 – Present (over 19 years)

Instructor

Humber College, Toronto, Canada
May, 2006 – Present (over 14 years)

Developing curricula for and teaching technology courses in the Creative Book Publishing program at Humber College, Toronto, Canada. Also serving on the Advisory Committee.

Projects

Website for bestselling thriller author Andrew Pyper

Bestselling, award-winning thriller and horror author Andrew Pyper is a long-time client and we've made several modifications to his site over the years, settling on a fairly standard but striking blog-based layout. The background photo of the author was taken in Toronto's Graffiti Alley.

Website for crime fiction author Ken Ogilvie

Ken Ogilvie is a new crime fiction author whose first trilogy is based in Orillia, Ontario, so I sought to build a website that would reflect some of the beauty and starkness of that place while still being easy to use and easy to update.

Official website for The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

In 2009, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt asked me to build a website for one of their most important literary properties, Chris Van Allsburg's holiday classic The Polar Express. We built a website and an advent calendar web app, and the site was featured on CBS Morning News upon launch. We have since migrated the site from Drupal to WordPress, and the web app from Flash to HTML5, but the site is still getting plenty of traffic around the holiday season. I've been maintaining and updating this site for over 10 years.

Website for Canadian author and profiler Ed Seaward

Ed Seaward approached me with a terrific idea for a website, as he had a debut novel scheduled to be launched by legendary small publisher The Porcupine's Quill. He mines his network of contacts and writes profiles about the most interesting of these people in the USA and Canada, and has been generating traffic, even before his debut, via a MailChimp account I helped him set up. Presumably, all this content will help to generate organic search traffic which we expect will attract visits to his site in between novels.

Website for travel/memoir author Jane Christmas

Jane Christmas is an award-nominated, UK-based Canadian author who writes what she refers to as "journey memoirs." I designed and built her first ever website which we launched to much fanfare in 2019.

Website for award-winning author Joan Thomas

Joan Thomas is a Canadian author and the 2019 winner of the Governor General's Award for her novel Five Wives. She is a long-time client and this is the third iteration of her website that I have designed for her. She edits all the text content and maintains the software on her own.

Website for Transatlantic Agency

Design and development of a WordPress-based website for North American literary management company, Transatlantic Agency. Includes agent and client listings, efficient illustrators' gallery, catalogue downloads, mobile-compatible animated presentation banners, and an extensive and attractive news section with fully searchable and sortable archives. Full documentation provided for interns and agents to edit, update, and maintain in house.

Allen has 3 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Blant Hurt
Overall, working with Allen was a delight. He is that rare person who understands technology in a functionally-deep way AND he also has a firm grasp on the inner workings of the publishing business as well. From the beginning of our relationship, he threw himself into our project and not only built a great website for me, but, as our relationship evolved, he became a a highly-valued member of m...
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Blant Hurt, September 2020


Marcus Hurst
Allen did a marvelous job for me. What makes him stand out from other Reedsy website professionals is that he charges by the hour versus just by quotes. Allen was very conscious of how much time he spent at the project, and gave honest advice when I sought his opinion. I would have preferred that he send me a bill at the end, versus paying as much as my budget allowed for upfront and trying to...
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Marcus Hurst, August 2020


John Griffin
Allen really did a fantastic job. The website he created is just what I wanted: clean, simple, and functional, but with a couple splashy things that really make it stick out as a top notch professional site. Allen is an artist as well as a technician. And, importantly, updating the website--- making small edits, adding blog posts, and the like--- is really easy. Allen set it up so that I, who d...
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John Griffin, July 2020

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