By Pedro Pablo Morejon
TIME OF HAVANA – “I declared innocentâIs the title of a book composed of eight stories of love, violence, sex, poverty and frustrations typical of man in Cuban society.
Although the book received an award in a literary competition, it may never be published in Cuba, given my status as a little-known author and the clear elements of dirty realism you can find in its pages.
However, on October 12,âI declared innocentWas published by Primegenios Publishers, a publishing house that is a literary bridge for any writer on the island who wishes to have their work published.
This publisher was created in 2019 by the poet, author and publisher, Eduardo Rene Casanova Ealo, based in Miami since 1999. According to him, the idea of ââfounding this publishing house came during a visit to Cuba.
âIf I had not one day gone to pay homage to my deceased relatives who rest in the cemetery of my hometown, Quemado de Guines, I would not have come across the director of the Renacimiento cultural and cinema center, who is also a builder. and was repairing a grave that day. One of those surprises that the Universe has in store for you by chance. It was he who invited me to go to a book reading which was held in this center.
âThat night we recited poems and talked about a lot of things, especially books, and someone asked me if the publication was difficult to do. In a fit of shamelessness, I offered to publish any book they wanted with my publishing house which didn’t even exist, it didn’t have a name and I had no idea what to do with it. how I could create one.
But once on the plane on the way back, I reflected and reread the images of what I had seenâ¦ A few days later, the publishing house existedâ¦ â
So far, Primigenios has published over 400 books in the genres of narrative, poetry, children’s literature, scientific literature, drama and testimony. Its catalog includes not only Cuban writers, but also foreign writers.
Despite the use of the self-publication system on Amazon, the publishing house stands out for its high quality and editing, judging by the presence of already award-winning works and big names in the Cuban and Latin literary landscape. -American.
One of the things this makes it easier for Cuban writers is the fact that the services of editing, proofreading, design and publication are not charged to Cuban writers living in Cuba, if they are approved by the evaluation of the board of editors. Instead, this amount is deducted from subsequent sales.
All other writers are given an estimate of how much they must pay, an amount that must be paid to publishers before their book is published.
This is a great advantage for the Cubans of the island, taking into account that the book market has undergone damaging changes in recent years, especially for authors.
Besides a few publishing houses that prepay famous writers, the vast majority would not risk publishing a book without charging a fee up front.
For example, “Me declaro innocent” had been approved by a Spanish publisher at the end of 2020, offering me an editorial co-production contract for its publication. In other words: I had to buy 100 copies of my book and then I would be entitled to 90% royalty on sales. The 100 copies would cost a little over 600 euros. A fortune for me. “Goodbye, goodbye,” I told them.
But I understand that was a reasonable offer. How to invest thousands of euros in a product so little in demand like books? Reggaeton, reality TV, alcohol, pornographyâ¦ these are the popular markets.
For this and other reasons, Primigenios has won a special place in the hearts of Cuban writers, most of whom, says the founder, âhave books in a drawer for years. Talented people who are the result of a populist system whose institutions are insufficient to meet all their expectations, especially when it comes to publishing their work.
Thank you Primigenios for saving part of Cuba’s literary heritage! Even if this profession of writing and making a living from literature is an inexhaustible source of illusions and disenchantment.
Read more about Pedro Pablo Morejon here.