Here's How My New Book Came to Be
Bun B portrayed in Bun B's Rap Coloring and Activity Book
[Editor's Note: Shea Serrano sometimes writes about Why This Song Sucks, and sometimes about his hilarious and poignant life and times. Better put your shoes on because your socks are about to be blown off.]
In exactly six days, on September 17th of the year of our Lord and Savior 2013, my very first book will come out.
It's called Bun B's Rap Coloring and Activity Book and it's just that: a coloring and activity book filled with rappers.
I did it with Bun B from UGK. [Editor's note: Shea did all of the drawings. Bun is focusing mainly on the promotion.] Half of it is traditional coloring pages like the one seen here, the other half is activities like word searches, mazes, cut and paste games and so on.
There was certainly more work involved than I'd anticipated.
I've drawn somewhere around 150 pictures for this thing, either for the site or the book or promotion, all of them on my computer using a $100 Wacom tablet and a cloud version of Adobe Illustrator.
I started a Tumblr last year in lieu of writing a proper book proposal because I figured it'd be easier to show someone the idea than explain it. A week later it went viral, eventually earning support from all the places you'd hope would say nice things about your tumblr if you were starting it with the intention of spreading across Music Internet.
It even landed in the very best spot on New York Magazine's famed Approval Matrix (right where Brilliant and Lowbrow meet). Two weeks after that we had a book deal with one of the finest publishers (ABRAMS Books) in the country. And nine months later, TODAY, we are less than a week away from it being in real actual stores available for trade for real actual money.
A mock cover I made for the book earlier this year.
I've of course had the endless support of my wife, who has taken care of our three children all alone while I sat in front of a computer and listened to rap music and doodled. And I've of course had the help of my editor at ABRAMS, who basically willed this project into existence (I'd have quit several times over if she'd have let me). And everyone that has seen it has said such positive things. But still, the fruition of the book has evolved into a bizarre mix of anxiety and pride. Every time we send out a copy of the book to someone I always feel like I want to just crawl right the fuck into a hole and bury myself and every time I hear something good about it or see a new story pop up about it or a rapper tweet about it I feel compelled to yell things like "I got Versace femurs, hoes!" or "You bitches ain't fuckin' with these Girbaud stonewash jeans!" I don't know.
I'm terribly nervous that all of this work, and my publisher's faith, will be for nothing. I'm saying, they printed 27,000(!) copies for this first edition, a number that caused my penis retract back up back into my body when I heard it. But more than that, I'm nervous that someone, ANY ONE SINGLE PERSON, will buy it and not like it. My spine is made of styrofoam and my ego is gelatinous. I wither into bits of nothingness when someone doesn't say the nicest things.
But more than that more than that, and more terrifying still: I'm nervous that Bun B will all of a sudden decide that he made a mistake by allowing me to create a coloring book with his name on it and that will be it for my life, because even after almost a year of trading messages with him I'm still not certain that he doesn't hate me. I just always assume that I'm only one misplaced joke away from finding myself tied up in the trunk of one of his cars headed towards a ranch where he'll have some large man yank my arms from my torso. I mean, I need my arms, bro. How am I supposed to brush my teeth or eat spaghetti?
In any case, I just hope Bun B's Rap Coloring and Activity Book will be the first coloring book in the history of the universe to earn a spot on the New York Times best sellers list. But I'd probably settle for just keeping my arms.
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