Writer, book marketer and social media consultant-turned entrepreneur Felicia Pride has big plans for an updated and revised e-book version of her popular 2007 title The Message: Life Lessons from Hip-Hop’s Greatest Songs. Re-released by NBC Publishing, an e-book unit launched by the network earlier this year, the revised e-book will be accompanied by a social media platform with user-generated content and will soon be available as a print-on-demand title.
In The Message, Pride examines a broad range of classic hip-hop tunes, dissecting and intrepreting the lyrics through her own life experiences and offers thoughtful examples of smart, positive and useful life messages taken from an urban and African-American-identified medium that is sometimes perceived to be negative. The book looks at such topics as business, love, spirituality and more. Pride is the author of seven books in addtion to being a books commentator for NPR and a former correspondent on African American publishing for Publishers Weekly.
NBC Publishing was launched in January to create e-books from NBC content as well as from previously published works and direct author contacts. Indeed, the e-book reissue came through Pride’s connection with Peter Costanzo, creative director of NBC Publishing, as well as her desire to create a digital platform around the book. “I used to work with Peter at Perseus. He called me in about another project, and we started talking about The Message,” Pride explained. “I wanted to do something digital with it, and here we are. I’m happy when I hear that people who have the original are also downloading the new version!”
The e-book, with a list price of $9.99, is being marketed through The Message Project, a multimedia initiative and social media/educational platform Pride launched in August. The website offers a space “where we showcase a curated collection of messages (video, written work and educational resources) by young people. It’s also a great place for educators, who can use these messages as teaching tools,” Pride said. Originally published by Thunder’s Mouth Press, the book has been used in schools around the country. After it went out of print, Pride purchased the remaining copies and sold them directly to schools. The e-book is available through Amazon, B&N, Sony, Kobo and Apple.
Pride said she added 16 new essays on new songs for the revised e-book edition. “There’s a foreword by Chuck D, and we added photos of many of the artists–the original book had no photos. There’s also a new cover. It gives justice to the rebirth of the book.”
There will also be a curriculum, a hip hop book list, and one-off lesson plans; Pride is also hoping to establish partnerships with educational organizations and media companies. Offline tools include plans for a college tour with workshops focusing on content creation, storytelling, communication skills, and literacy skills (general literacy, media literacy, and digital literacy). NBC will concurrently publish a digital educators’ guide developed by Pride, with educators as contributors.
“Hip hop really helped me to raise my voice and helped me become a writer,” Pride explained. “So I wanted to have a strong initiative, and a structured initiative, to encourage young people to amplify their voices. The book encourages them to do that, plus gives them a platform to deliver their own messages.”