Dawson’s forthcoming memoir, “I Hate Myselfie,” is a collection of 18 essays that he promises provide a funny but very personal look into his life and upbringing beyond his persona on YouTube, where he has amassed more than 12 million subscribers since he got started in 2008.
“Hopefully, an older demographic will read this, even if they find my YouTube videos annoying,” he said. “I have a lot of fans who have grown up over the last six years.”
Dawson, 26, said much of the book centers on “being a fat kid, which is what I was for the first 18 years of my life,” losing 150 pounds in unhealthy fashion, and other travails, like growing up poor. He also shares “thoughts on astral projection and the nature of the universe — I kind of just put it all out there.”
“People who don’t know me are going to be surprised by how much I don’t take myself seriously. I know what I do for a living is ridiculous,” Dawson said.
The book, set for March 10 release, is being published by Simon & Schuster’s Atria Publishing Group. Last year Atria formed Keywords Press, an imprint focused on Internet stars, in conjunction with UTA. (Dawson is repped by UTA.)
Atria has high hopes for “I Hate Myselfie.” One of Keywords’ first books was “Girl Online,” penned by British fashion and beauty blogger Zoe Sugg (“Zoella” on YouTube). Since first publication on Nov. 25, “Girl Online” has more than 115,000 books in print across eight printings in the U.S.
Atria/Keywords reached out to Dawson about a year ago about a prospective book deal. “I didn’t think I could pull off a novel,” he said, so he settled on writing personal essays.
To get inspiration, Dawson said he read memoirs by comedians Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman and Kathy Griffin. “The main thing I got from them was, you didn’t need a beginning, middle or end,” he said.
To draw in digital fans, Keywords gave Dawson the idea to enlist 18 artists from YouTube and other social media to draw illustrations for each chapter based on the title.
One thing he does not address in the book: his experience on Starz reality series “The Chair.” Dawson won the audience vote and the $250,000 prize for his feature-length movie “Not Cool,” beating out another filmmaker who made a movie based on the same script. But not everyone felt he should have won, including “The Chair” producer Zachary Quinto, who called Dawson’s movie “ultimately a vapid waste of time.”
“I’m still dealing with that,” Dawson said. “It’s too fresh.”
The 240-page paperback version of “I Hate Myselfie” is priced at $16, while e-book versions are $11.99. The book is available to pre-order at ihatemyselfiebook.com.