Written by: @P_ACasas
Art by: @jovas2011
Author, writer, journalist, commander-in-chief of Twitters biggest good guy gang, father, husband, influencer, philanthropist, social media phenomenon, the list goes on and on. Shea Serrano is a man who wears many hats, each hat bringing its own massive responsibilities, all of which he executes to perfection. He handles all the pressure and superstar status with a seamless calm demeanor. Each move calculated and precise. No wasted motions and every move thoughtfully plotted out, after all you have to be bright to finesse your way from middle school teacher to #1 New York Times best-selling author in a matter of years, with no previous writing background.
Shea Serrano’s rise to the top was something that the best writers in Hollywood couldn’t pen out. His wife was put on bed rest while pregnant with their twin boys, or more famously known as Boy A and Boy B. Needing more disposable income to take care of his family Shea struggled finding part-time work due to him already being a full-time teacher. Out of desperation he googled work from home jobs and writer was one of them, the rest is history.
The Rap Coloring Book, New York Times best-seller The Rap Yearbook, and now #1 New York Times best-seller Basketball and Other Things. In a matter of years, Shea Serrano has taken over Twitter and paved a lane for himself like few writers have. Spending hours on end live tweeting San Antonio Spurs basketball games, to hot takes on father hood, to being the #1 fan of the J. Cole is bad fan club, Shea accumulates virtual currency and cashes in to deliver good energy in the world when it matters most.
Shea and his family live in Houston which was affected by Hurricane Harvey earlier this year. Once the dust settled Shea gathered the “FOH Army” short for fuck outta here and raised over $100,000 for Hurricane relief efforts. How can you not root for a man like this? Humble, genuine, thoughtful. It’s no surprise why the world repays him back with good karma and energy, most recently with his latest book beating out Tom Brady for the #1 spot on the New York Times best-sellers list, go back and read the first part of that sentence, you read it right, I said Tom Brady. All Mexicans are taking that as the biggest of W’s.
Over the phone from Houston Shea talked to us about his new book, how his kids view him now, if he though he had a shot to get that #1 spot over Tom Brady’s book and so much more.
–This interview has been edited for length and clarity–
- P.A: From now until the day you die your name will forever be associated with the term #1 New York Times best-selling author, you beat out Tom Brady, man. Has that sunk in yet?
- Shea: Yeah, it sunk in as soon as I saw the list. I was waiting for it, I was hoping it was going to happen. I was updating the list over and over again until I got it, I was ready.
- P.A: It’s interesting hearing you say that you were ready for it. Was that a goal? Did you feel like you had a legit shot to get there?
- Shea: Yeah, once I saw the numbers we were doing I was like, “Oh shit, this is something that can actually happen.” Everything is fluid when they put that list (New York Times best-seller list) together. There’s no set number you have to hit to make the list. Some weeks you may be able to get on there with 3 thousand books sold, some weeks you may need 10 thousand. It all depends on what books come out at that time. I knew it was going to be tough when I saw that Tom Brady’s book had come out, because of course he was going to sell a million copies. He was the one I was worried about so I would always check to see what his sales ranking was on multiple sites. I knew there was an outside chance we could have it happen, it was just a matter of where we going to be able to catch him in that time.
- P.A: What was going through your mind when you saw that you made #1? You already made the best sellers list with The Rap Yearbook but to get that coveted top spot, that’s rare.
- Shea: The first thing I thought was, “FUCK YES!” Those were the first two words for all of the reasons you just said. There are people who can say I was on the best seller list but the number of people who get to say I was #1, that’s a much smaller group. Once you get in that club, you’re amazing, you’re set as far as that goes.
- P.A: Is there a part of the book that is resonating with people that you didn’t expect to stick as much? Like a certain chapter or few sentences that people keep asking about since the book dropped?
- Shea: The chapter that people mention the most to me so far is the script for the action movie. I was so nervous about it because there’s no reason for it to be in the book at all. I wasn’t sure how people were going to receive it, but people have said mostly good things about it so it makes me feel better.
- P.A: I want to switch gears a bit here. I follow you on Twitter and I’ve always wondered one thing. Do your sons Boy A and Boy B comprehend what it is you do?
- Shea: No, to that point neither can I. To me it’s just some shit that’s happening on the internet. If I put my phone down then it’s no longer apart of me anymore. It’s easy to be like oh whatever that’s just something that happened and then we move on. They don’t think about it too much, neither do I. The only time it’s overwhelming is when we do a book signing and a few hundred people show up. Hundreds of people come and they wait for three hours to get a book signed, that’s fucking crazy to me. I would never wait that long for anything. When stuff like that happens then you realizing this is a real thing, but until then it feels like I’m dicking around on the internet with people.
- P.A: I’ve heard you say that Basketball and Other things is your last book. If that is reality, what’s next for Shea Serrano? I know you have a TV show in the works. Is that where all your time and energy will be focused on for the near future?
- Shea: No, hopefully all my time and energy goes to working at The Ringer because it’s a really fun thing I get to do. Beyond that I haven’t really thought too far. I have some thoughts on some projects I want to do by myself. When I say by myself I say without the help of a big publisher or anything like that, I want to try some indie stuff. At the moment, I’m just enjoying some slower times.
- P.A: You worked on the book for what 18 months? You deserve it.
- Shea: Yeah, about that long.
- P.A: Alright one last question and I’ll let you go back to living that rock star life of yours. I moved to Los Angeles last week in order to follow my dreams of becoming a writer as well. I’m shooting my damn shot here. I want to write movies, TV shows, interview celebrities, the whole nine yards. What’s one piece of information you can give me or anyone whose taking the ultimate leap of faith and going after their dreams?
- Shea: I would tell you not to move to LA yet, just kidding. I would tell everyone trying to do this shit that it can all be done. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed and scared but it’s all right there for you. You just have to keep going, that’s the only thing you need to know. It doesn’t matter if you’re not the most talented writer, we can’t all be that. There are certainly people who were born to write and understand things, those are the Lebron level talents. Like Wesley Morris and Sean Fennessey those sort of people. I’m not that person, there’s definitely people out there who are more talented than me who fell apart and didn’t make it because it was too hard to keep going. All you have to do is keep going and eventually you’ll get there. It’s not poetic advice or profound information but it’s total truth, you’re going to get there if you don’t stop.
- P.A: So just keep grinding and never quit? Is it that simple?
- Shea: Exactly and its way easier for me to say it than to do it. I know you want to say, “Fuck this,” sometimes. You hear stories like that all the time, the most recent one I read was a guy named Craig who works for New York Magazine right now or Vulture. He talks about how he gave up on writing and everything fell into place the day he decided he was done with writing. He was into his 30’s or some shit like that, there are very few people who it happens for quickly. People look at what I’m doing now and they say I want to do that. I’m like cool, but don’t skip over the seven years of shit I did before this to put me in the position I am today.