The transformation of Twitter feeds into books or creating YouTube videos that go viral is nothing new, but Sh*t Girls Say (Harlequin, Oct.) creators Kyle Humphrey and Graydon Sheppard never expected the explosion that followed the post-Twitter launch of their first YouTube video last August. Both men credit Justin Halpern’s groundbreaking Sh*t My Dad Says Twitter and publishing phenomenon for inspiration, but these guys definitely put their own spin on the precious words uttered by the female gender.
Sheppard tells Show Daily, “We were actually sitting watching TV on the couch, and one of us said, ‘Could you pass me that blanket?’ And it dawned on us that that’s a kind of girly thing to say, and we just started thinking about what it meant to have a phrase be gendered or why it was girly, and it just started coming out of us before we really knew what we were saying.”
Their first Sh*t Girls Say tweet was posted last April. Sheppard’s partner, Humphrey, who studied fashion and graphic design and worked in London as a window designer for Marc Jacobs, notes, “We had a few thousand followers within a couple of months. And then in the summertime we were thinking of a way we could do something with this, because Graydon is a commercial director and he wanted to freshen up his reel. So we decided to make a video.”
Sheppard adds, “I love attention, and it was just—well, I wanted to play the character. The things that girls say are things that everyone says really, but I felt like I really understood how to say it and it came naturally to me . . . and then I went to my friend’s house and borrowed all her clothes.”
By the time the pair launched the video this past December, they had 50,000 Twitter followers. To date, their first video (there are three Sh*t Girls Say YouTube videos, which also feature their Twitter fan actress Juliette Lewis) has had 16.5 million hits.
It’s no surprise that shortly after the video went viral, publishers came calling in January. Says Toronto resident Sheppard, “Harlequin is a Canadian company first of all, which is great, so we get to stay here to make the book. It’s women—everyone we work with is a woman, which is so fantastic! The house has this great nonfiction wing, and we really liked the quality of what they put out. It just seemed like a really perfect fit.”
The book will have plenty of original material that has not been tweeted. Humphrey adds, “The whole book is going to be a fun, ‘poppy’ photo book, and we’re going to have Graydon in drag in his character just interacting with things and having a lot of fun with it.”
In fact, BEA marks Sheppard’s first major public appearance as the girl featured in the videos. Get ready for your photo op! The two authors will be signing blads of their book today at the Harlequin booth (3739), 3–3:45 p.m.