Author Jorge Luis Borges, one of the most prominent figures of universal literature, said: “Of all man’s instruments, the most wondrous, no doubt, is the book. The other instruments are extensions of his body […] but the book is something else altogether: the book is an extension of memory and imagination.”
To read is to imagine, dream, discover or learn. It is to pretend to be the protagonist in a story, to translate words into images, or travel to a parallel world.
Because to innovate, entrepreneur and succeed is possible, as long as you believe in it. We had a chat with María Dueñas, writer and author of the novel The Time in Between, and Raquel Gisbert, editor of Grupo Planeta.
How to make an idea into a reality
María Dueñas’ history is a tale of enthusiasm, entrepreneurship, and success. A fable that starts with an idea. An adventure in the shape of a novel titled The Time in Between. A fiction work that has headed the bestseller list in Spain for several years, with more than a million copies sold. From imagination to paper, from dream to reality, from an idea to success.
“I had never written anything before, but I had lived in the world of the liberal arts and philology. I had been working for decades using language as my material, teaching to write, understand or interpret. Thus, I was trained in the workings of joining letters and making narratives.
Furthermore, I have always had a big imagination. All those elements converged at the right time and I started entertaining the idea. At that time, I only knew I wanted to make it to the end. Then came the rest”, says the author of The Time in Between.
Undoubtedly, curiosity, imagination, observation, or creativity are concepts closely related to innovation and entrepreneurship, attributes that share a tight bond with the publishing world. Same as with any other innovation process, writing requires, besides inspiration, a great work of identifying, analyzing, and documenting.
According to Dueñas, “the preliminary documentation phase, which is long and intense, is the most fascinating of the whole process. To me, the beginning of writing is a wider process and it all starts with documenting, a small idea, an anecdote you keep thinking about, that you brew, and think over.”
Ebooks, audiobooks, and adaptation to the small screen
The arrival of digitalization and the appearance of new business models has motivated the transformation of a sector that has experienced notable changes in the latest years. According to Raquel Gisbert, editor of Grupo Planeta, “these past years have brought many spectacular changes. We noticed that books were picking up interest and continue to be a relevant leisure option.
We simply needed to make the business more attractive. We investigated what the music and the film industry were doing. We realized that we needed to professionalize our communication, publishing, and marketing departments. Undoubtedly that professionalization and knowing that we had to benchmark against other sectors has been instrumental”.
Likewise, the irruption of new formats like eBooks or audiobooks has contributed to a progressive transformation in the users’ reading habits. Nevertheless, and far from becoming a romantic element, paper books continue to be the readers' preferred format. “The reality is that the implementation of the digital world has not been as brutal as we thought it would be. We still need to go through a few generational changes, and we will see how it evolves.
Honestly, we do not know what is it that makes the physical book so appealing, but the fact of having the book at home, turning the pages, finish, reading it and putting it on the bookcase is an experience that digital books cannot offer. The bright side is the emergence of a new sales line, and that it has favored market growth”, affirms Gisbert.
The birth of streaming platforms such as Netflix, HBO, or Amazon Prime has precisely brought new business opportunities for authors. Game of Thrones, The Time in Between, or The Vineyard are just some examples of TV series based on novels that have become huge audience favorites.
And 12 years later… Sira is back
Sira is María Dueñas’ fifth novel and the second part of The Time in Between. Published barely weeks ago, the plot, which takes off after World War II, brings us to places like Jerusalem, Tangier, London, or Madrid. “We come across a new Sira. She keeps the charisma, the soul of the Sira from The Time in Between, but she has evolved and matured, taking a step further. She is no longer the young woman that lets herself be wavered by situations, she es the one making decisions for herself, assessing her priorities, needs and circumstances”, concludes María Dueñas.