Young Internet-born authors and influencers consolidate their reign in publishing business

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Guadalajara (Mexico) (AFP) – Mexican Flor M. Salvador is 22 years old and has sold more than 200,000 copies of “Boulevard”, her first printed novel loaded with tormented youthful romance. Surprising figure, but pales to more than 68 million views of the online version.

The numbers are provided by Wattpad, a self-publishing platform with social network dynamics where authors and readers share creations and interact and where Salvador debuted. It has about 90 million users, mostly women, according to company data.

“It is something wonderful and almost surreal. I had not dreamed of it,” this young woman told AFP, whom the publishing giant Penguin Random House presented as a stellar signing in the middle of the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), the most important in the world. In Spanish language.

The publisher declined to comment to AFP on commercial details of the deal as “confidential.”

Her audience, a boisterous army of girls between the ages of 15 and early twenties, accompanied her forming a line of at least a thousand people that snaked through the fairways of the fair, putting capacity restrictions due to covid-19 to the limit.

They were carrying a brand new copy of “Silence,” Salvador’s latest book and the first with Penguin, which the author gratefully signed.

“We are like a team, we are a family, they are very loyal (…) We have grown together since 2015” when he began to publish online, says the author.

“It’s like something that grabs you, you can’t stop reading it and its endings are shocking,” says Yesenia Márquez, a 24-year-old fan who traveled from the neighboring state of Aguascalientes.

Breaking the market

The phenomenon is international.

The Spanish media call her “the mysterious Mexican writer who breaks the market”, since the physical sales of “Boulevard” in that country totaled 118,000 copies until October.

Fans of Mexican writer Flor Salvador at the Guadalajara International Book Fair, Mexico, on December 1, 2021 Ulises Ruiz AFP

In September, Salvador made the first international trip of his life to Ecuador and Peru. In Lima, thousands of fans eager for a photo or an autograph surprised the press and authorities.

The appeal of his romantic stories is not new to literature.

The difference is that the interaction with the readers on these platforms enhances the effectiveness of the stories, written almost to measure.

“You already know [lo] that a certain group likes it and to improve a little you take their opinions and publish “, explains Salvador, who already as a professional author says that she will take on” the challenge “of writing future books” blindly “, that is, outside of Wattpad.

This challenge has already been taken up by Mariana Palova, a 31-year-old “veteran” Mexican author who began to write “fanfiction” from the age of 12, also from the internet: stories created by fans from books, movies or series they admire.

“Literature is for everyone”

In 2017, Palova self-managed “The Lord of the Sabbath”, the first installment of an epic saga full of esotericism and adventure called “The Nation of the Beasts.”

Months later he received the proposal to translate it into English and shortly after a contract from Editorial Océano, part of the Independent Publishers Group, which today publishes it internationally.

Although he stopped disseminating his work on networks, he defends the spirit of these publications from those who call them not authentic literature.

“Many of today’s most popular writers started out writing fanfiction,” says Palova. Some examples are “Fifty Shades of Gray” by EL James or “The Shadowhunters” by Cassandra Clare.

“That if the stories are not written to win a Nobel Prize, what does it matter. Literature is for everyone, not only for intellectuals,” adds the author who also presented a new book at FIL.

Following a consolidated recipe, the “influencers” maintain a relevant presence.

The book “Before Letting You Go”, a self-help novel by Alex Toledo, 27, stands out on the stand of his publisher.

Communicator, therapist and active member of the gay community, Toledo acknowledges that he took advantage of his athletic body, showing it on social networks, to promote his books.

He assures that his image “has helped him a lot”, but that the sale now stands on its own. He confesses that he continues to exhibit his photos “out of ego and for sheer pleasure.”

We wish to give thanks to the writer of this short article for this remarkable material

Young Internet-born authors and influencers consolidate their reign in publishing business