50 Cent has teamed with MTV/Pocket Books to create a series of novellas and graphic novels. G-Unit Books, a street-fiction series will roll out in 2007 with several titles authors in the genre. The se
50 Cent has teamed with MTV/Pocket Books to create a series of novellas and graphic novels. G-Unit Books, a street-fiction series will roll out in 2007 with several titles authors in the genre. The series, which agent Marc Gerald says was the rapper's idea, will feature members of Jackson's G-Unit" posse (Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, Young Buck and Olivia) as characters.
G-Unit Books will "tell the truth about The Life; the sex, guns and cash; the brutal highs and short lives of the players on the streets," according to a statement.
"From the time that we got to know each other, it was always something [50 Cent] discussed and was passionate about," said Gerald, who, previous to joining The Agency Group, edited Old School Books, a blaxploitation series published by W.W. Norton. He added that the rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, is an avid reader of street fiction as well as business books.
The series is the first of its kind for Pocket, which has been looking to increase its presence in street-fiction. The genre took off several years ago as self-published authors, largely ignored by the mainstream book industry, sold their racy tales through non-traditional venues, including street-vendors.
"It grew from the fact that many of the authors in this genre did not trust mainstream publishers," said Louise Burke, Pocket publisher and executive vice president. "[Eventually] demand made publishers realize that this was a business."
Gerald said that Jackson's young fan base, as well as the untraditional ethos of the street-fiction business, presented marketing challenges for the G-Unit series. But he added that it was also an opportunity to experiment with digital-delivery options as a way of reaching a younger audience. These digital tie-ins could include cell-phone downloads of audio and text excerpts, as well as G-Unit music. "This is an opportunity to try everything and see what you can do to get teenage boys reading," he said.
While some might scoff at the idea of Jackson as a benevolent literary force, given his rags-to-riches story of drugs and violence, Burke said Jackson's message contained redeeming qualities. "I think what you're seeing is a contemporary take on the American Dream," she said, adding that she was happy to be connected with such a successful brand.
Jackson's autobiography, "From Pieces to Weight," has sold more than 40,000 copies since its release on Aug. 9, according to Nielsen BookScan. "Everything he touches works," Burke said.