Author Adam Mansbach and illustrator Ricardo Cortes's "children's book for adults," Go The Fuck To Sleep, was a viral sensation. Starting out as a Facebook post, the book blew up online thanks to a pirated PDF that went viral. Soon, Mansbach and Cortes had found a publishing partner, had an audiobook voiced by Samuel L. Jackson, and found their hilarious creation atop Amazon.com's best-sellers list.
Now the illustrator of Go The Fuck To Sleep hopes to put a different subject to rest: the war on drugs. Yesterday Cortes released Jury Independence Illustrated, a roughly 20-page booklet delving into the problems of skyrocketing non-violent drug convictions. It's an educational pamphlet designed to teach jurors about the impact they could have on the issue—that is, by taking a more active role in the prosecution process, and basing their decisions not on the evidence before them but on their conscious. (The inspiration comes from a Time magazine article from the creators of The Wire that suggested jury nullification as one solution to this issue.)
Riding the success of his recent work, can Cortes's new book go just as viral?
"It's definitely not such a project of mainstream appeal," Cortes tells Fast Company. "Obviously from my perspective, it would be a beautiful thing if as many people were as interested in this [as Go The Fuck To Sleep]. But I can't perceive Samuel Jackson reading this book aloud."
(Maybe Omar from The Wire is available?)
Still, that hasn't stopped Cortes from trying to spread his message. "I sent out that email blast, now it's going up on Facebook—I see people are passing it around," he says. "It's all about word of mouth. At this point, there's no tracking on it—it's just out there."
In addition to releasing it online as a PDF accessible via the iPad as an e-book, Cortes is also taking a traditional approach to distribution. As he explains, he'll be heading down to the division of jurors to hand out actual print versions of the booklets himself.