When a young couple in Miami decided to create an independent publishing company, printing works exclusively in Spanish, almost everyone told them they were crazy.
But in 2012, Dago Sasiga and Greity Gonzalez ignored that advice and started La Pereza Ediciones with just $400. They said it was the best decision of their lives.
Today, their catalog includes around 100 both well-known and emerging authors from the United States, Puerto Rico and beyond, including Spain, Cuba, Panama and Guatemala.
“We had this dream for a very long time,” said Sasiga, 34, who worked as a journalist in Nicaragua but changed careers after moving to the U.S. “Our home became our office, warehouse and venue for promotional events. It might seem like it is too much, but we enjoy it because we are passionate about our job.”
Among their authors is Jose Miguel Sanchez. who writes under the pseudonym “Yoss.” The well-known, Cuban, science-fiction writer, had only one book published in the United States before contacting La Pereza Ediciones.
Sanchez has been publishing since 1989, but his only book published before in the U.S. was translated to English. Now, he is publishing a novel, “El Gato tras la Reja,” with La Pereza. This book has not been published before.
“My book, ‘A Planet for Rent,’ was translated to English and sold in America, but I had the dream of being published in Spanish and in Miami,” said Sanchez, speaking from Cuba. “My work reflects a lot of Cuba’s reality, and I just want it to be accessible for every Cuban, no matter where they live, and I want them to read it in Spanish because I use many phrases that cannot be translated to any other language.”
Gonzalez, who is Cuban, shares this sentiment. She would like to distribute books in Cuba but said it is not financially feasible.
Currently, titles from the company are distributed in the United States, Puerto Rico, Spain, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and Mexico.
Though on stable financial ground now, it wasn’t always that way. Gonzalez acknowledged that starting the venture was a risk. Established authors were wary of signing with a small business, she said, and it was challenging to sell books written by new authors.
FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this story stated that Sasiga and Gonzalez started the company with $100. In fact, it was $400.
The company lost money at first, though the couple declined to say how much. They don’t remember what turned things around but said their hard work and passion eventually turned into profit.
Sasiga said the market for the books is huge.
“I do not understand this irrational fear,” said Sasiga, referring to friends and family urging him not to start the business. “There are more that 50 million Spanish speakers in the U.S., and our market also targets Latin America.”
Sasiga and Gonzalez said they were surprised by the popularity non-fiction titles have had among their readers, though fiction still sells the best.
“Poetry is always the underdog,” said Gonzalez, 36, who has a background in art history. “Unless the author is well-known, it is a bad business move to publish poetry.”
Future projects include participating in Miami International Book Fair in November, something the company has done each year since starting. Sasiga said that the fair provides excellent opportunities to build new relationships.
In addition, they have other projects set for September.
“We will have events in September with five of our authors who live in other countries like the Puerto Rican Mayra Santos-Febres and Cuban writer Yoss, said Gonzalez. Our catalog keeps growing and we are hoping that we double the number of authors by this time next year. ”