The recent Planeta Prize finalist, Marcos Chicot, established himself as a writer in desktop publishing, a phenomenon that has become a major feature in the publishing world. One in every four e-books sold in Spain are self-published, and are more than 12,000 titles see the light of day through this system every year. We took advantage of Liber to talk to some authors who have chosen self-publishing about their experiences, why they chose that route, and the advantages and disadvantages involved.
She is the self-published author who has sold most e-books on Amazon and whose credits include novels like Waldek, The Boy who Defied the Nazis and El Legado. Miosi decided to self-publish in order to republish some of her works without copyright restrictions. After finding out about the system, she decided to publish her new books through Amazon, taking care of all the details in the process: “I’ve never given my books to my friends to read and correct; I’ve always preferred the opinion of professionals, experts in the use of language”. She says she has never had any trouble publishing her books through publishers and she continues to do so even today, but she maintains that self-publishing is a very practical option. “I can change the prices, covers, do campaigns, promote my books … It has opened up a world that keeps me busy for twelve hours a day, what with writing, reading, research for my next book and promoting. And most importantly: it has earned me money”.
The author of El rumor de los muertos and Desde el infierno chose self-publishing as an alternative because he found it difficult to reach agreements with publishers. “They always wanted to change a lot of things in my books and that was something I wasn’t happy about. They wanted radical changes. Self-publishing was a great opportunity”. Today, it has become a way of life. The positive side of desktop publishing is the freedom that comes with it, and for the first time, the author earns the most, because with traditional publishing writers earned at most 12% of a book’s turnover. And what are the disadvantages? The author has to take responsibility for everything that a publisher would do: layout, editing, design, proofreading, marketing… and of course, the novel will not be on sale in a bookshop.
Belén Gaudes and Pablo Macías
Crowdfunding is what enabled the publication of Érase dos veces, the collection by Belén Gaudes and Pablo Macías which are alternative versions of children’s tales free of violence and sexism. “We got our funding through crowdfunding campaigns. Nearly 500 sponsors made it possible for us to publish first three books, and so on until the nine we have now completed. Seeinig that a lot of other people are giving you financial support to make your project happen is really exciting,” says Gaudes, who points out that they chose desktop publishing because their books are part of a personal project and they wanted to keep control of the entire process. And although the crowdfunding campaign is really a presales campaign, alternative distributors have been very helpful in their books reaching bookstores and readers as a result.
Jorge Magano soon realised that if he was going to succeed in self-publishing, he would have to be professional. “At first I made every mistake possible – poor layout, a bad cover and a bad promotional strategy, but I soon realised that I had to improve and as I started getting back the rights to novels that the publishers no longer printed, I self-published them with better finishes, and you could see that in the results,” says Magano, the author of Turned to stone and The Golden Isis, an e-book that soon ranked among the Amazon Spain bestsellers. For him, the process “is still a team project” and he believes that “the most interesting thing is that even when the novel has been published, I keep getting e-mails from readers pointing out errors and I can correct it even when the book is on sale”.