Gorilla Convict Publications
When I first got the idea to form Gorilla Convict Publications in 2005 I didn’t know what would become of the company or where it would take me. I didn’t have a plan, only a purpose and a vision. I had a book, Prison Stories that I had wrote and that I wanted to put out. It was me reaching out to the world from prison, expressing myself and giving an accounting of who I was and the experiences that I was living. It was my gesture to the world at large. I didn’t know if anyone would like what I had written and to be honest I didn’t even really care, to an extent at least. I just wanted to put the book out, send it out to the world and see what happened. To my surprise and delight people in the world liked the book. I got very good feedback and the book found an audience. Through my website at gorillaconvict.com I continued writing. I had a blog that helped to grow my audience. I wrote articles for magazines like Don Diva and F.E.D.S., interviewing imprisoned gangsters and as compensation for my articles I got ads for my book and website. These ads helped to promote my book, blog, work and website even more. I started getting offers to write for other websites and magazines and I took advantage of these offers. The first print run of prison stories was 1000 books. We sold all of these and reprinted, changing the cover in the process.
A funny thing had happened with that book. I hadn’t written it as urban fiction but that was the market it fell into. Reviewers and websites were calling it an urban fiction novel set in prison. It wasn’t what I planned but I rolled with it. Plus with the ads I was getting in the street magazines my work was getting exposed to a lot of people who read urban fiction. I kept doing stories and interviews on my blog and website on prisoners, gangbangers, gangsters and criminals. True crime was what I was really writing about. Even my book Prison Stories were fictionalized accounts of real events. I had just called it fiction to protect the guilty. But I found that I had an audience and with access to a world of convicts, thugs, hoods and gangsters I decided to keep doing what I was doing.
Thus the idea for my second book was born. I can’t say it was really my idea. I just did what Don Diva and F.E.D.S. were doing, except I did it in book form. I saw that my peers in prison really enjoyed reading the stories in these magazines and to be honest I did too. I was always searching for more information and stuff to read on the outlaw gangsters who were a part of hip-hop’s lyrical lore. I found there were hardly any books out there in this genre. There were lots of books on mobsters from the Mafia and drug lords from the Colombian cocaine cartels but books on urban gangsters were almost non-existent. So I decided to write my own.
I picked six dudes- the Death Before Dishonor six- who had been in Don Diva and F.E.D.S. and who I had access to, either them or some of their codefendants or relatives, and I began doing interviews and researching. I went over the court records, the newspaper articles on their cases, their interviews in Don Diva and F.E.D.S. and listened to any and everything that their homeboys would tell me about them. I gathered all this info up and wrote. The results were Street Legends Vol. 1. By this time we had printed 2000 more Prison Stories and it was still selling steadily. We printed 2000 copies of Street Legends Vol. 1 and put it up for sale. I got ads in the street magazines and used the websites like hoopshype.com, viceland.com and urbanbooksource.com that I was writing regularly for to promote the book and my website. I was slowly building my brand. One reader at a time.
Street Legends Vol. 1 was a resounding success. The print run sold out and we printed 3000 more copies of the book. Also I researched and wrote Street Legends Vol. 2, which featured six more real life gangsters, straight out of the crime lore of the hood. I subtitled this volume Original Gangsters and printed 3000 copies of the book.
The books have sold steadily on our website, on Amazon.com and through some mom and pop and hip-hop stores we utilize. Nothing big or out of this world, but it was mine and I have been building it from in here. I have 11,000 books in print and almost 10,000 sold. Not bad for doing it from prison with only my wife Diane helping me on the outside and facilitating my activities, by actively running the business and shipping the books.
From in here I have built a brand and created something from nothing. My efforts have proved fruitful and turned my ideas and vision into something tangible. Something that I will be able to continue to work on and build during the time I have left to do (my release date is November 2015) and when I come home. Plus I am ready to put out my fourth book The Supreme Team: The Birth of Crack and Hip-Hop, Princes Reign of Terror and the 50 Cent/Supreme Beef Exposed. With this book I hope to put into play all that I have learned putting out my previous books.
I wrote the first book and started the website for me, I wrote Street Legends Vol. 1 and 2 for my peers in prison and now with the Supreme Team book I am writing for a bigger audience. Readers who like true crime stories, anyone who likes or is into movies like Scarface and American Gangster and the hip-hop generation in general will love this book. By seeing how my books have sold and by studying the marketplace and what type of books are moving a large amount of numbers, I believe I have come up with a formula for success. I already have the grassroots support of the prisons, but now I need to move onto a bigger audience and bring my vision and the urban outlaw gangster to the masses, just as Hollywood has with their films like Menace to Society and Boyz in the Hood. The glorification and romanticism of the Italian mob and Colombian cocaine cartels in popular culture and the media can be repeated with the inner-city gangsters that are lauded in hip-hops lyrical lore. My books on Gorilla Convict Publications tell the stories on these street legends and can be found at www.gorillaconvict.com.
Seth Ferranti has been called “the most potent voice of the streets” and writes for www.gorillaconvict.com, the premier publisher of hard-edge and brutally real true crime stories. Check out his newest book- The Supreme Team: The Birth of Crack and Hip-Hop, Prince’s Reign of Terror and the Supreme/50 Cent Beef Exposed, available from Gorilla Convict Publications and www.gorillaconvict.com for $19.95.