There's a lot of phrases that strike fear in writers: Kill fee, self-employment taxes, pivot to video. Then there's that loaded, terror-filled inquiry:
When are you writing a book?
On the surface, it seems innocuous, an even complimentary ask. If someone thinks that you can write beyond 280 characters in this day and age? Congratulations! Grasshopper, today you are a real writer. Wax on. All those listicles, blog posts nobody but Mom read and 2000-word features that were edited down to the carcass finally paid off. It also means that someone would pay money for said book. And in this climate, anyone paying for your writing is a blessing.
But if I'm going to keep it 100, the idea of writing a book for me
was is far out, daunting and scary AF. Maybe it’s impostor syndrome. Like, I interview rappers all day. It's entertainment. Fluffy, fun times, a nice distraction from the real problems of the world. Or maybe it’s how authors are deified. You really want me on a shelf alongside Jhumpa Lahiri or Colson Whitehead? Me and Malcolm Gladwell might share a newsletter platform but let's not get too crazy. Stay in your lane, grasshopper. Wax off.
Then, there's the actual writing process. Did you know that a nonfiction book is supposed to be 80,000 words? 80,000. Yeah, I definitely found out that little fun fact recently.
For the longest time, the mere existence of being a freelancer was the best shield from such great expectations. It was easy--too easy--to remain in tunnel vision, just keeping my head above water. The vicious cycle-- paying bills, collecting bylines like Pokemon and paying taxes on time--is distracting. Rinse and repeat until you grow up one day... and finally take a tenured job in academia.
2020 changed that. As I shared in my first newsletter, the pandemic forced me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I'm not talking about the shallow #selfcare or #hustle way you see on social media. The freelance hamster wheel stops for no one and contributing to the growth of other people's publications/brands/IPOs just isn't doing it for me. The byline high doesn't hit the way that it used to.
This realization, pandemic epiphany, come-to-Jesus moment or whatever you want to call it, was the catalyst. I needed a new challenge, something to put stake into. I hunkered down and took the half-formed book proposal I had been kicking around for months (admittedly, chicken scratch and surface ideas at that point) and put pen to paper. It was a blur how fast things happened. A few weeks later, my book agent Will sold the idea that is now Fashion Killa: How Hip-Hop Revolutionized High Fashion to Gallery Books and Simon & Schuster.
Fashion Killa is a 30-year retrospective covers the intersection of hip-hop and luxury. The first book of its kind delves into the trendsetters and iconoclasts that changed the way we dress. The deal came in hot but traditional publishing is a marathon. Strap in because between research, writing, editing, more editing and even more editing, it won't be on shelves for a good year or two.
Consider Deluxe Edition your real-time update. Here, I’ll share the behind-the-scenes process from proposal to writing and publishing. This is also my informal notebook dump so expect interviews, random thoughts and creative freak outs too. I
might will definitely need motivation along the way so get ready with your positive affirmations, manifestation crystals, vision boards, etc.
You'll be there with me from page 1.