My Spanish friend, Luis Gorrochategui Santos, wrote quite a successful book in Spanish called “Contraarmada”. It is based on the aftermath of the Spanish Armada, when the English sent an armada of their own to attack Spain and Portugal ( This he published through the traditional route.

His next book was called La Rebelión de los Pigs, and was about the financial crisis. Not finding a traditional publisher for this book, he decided to self-publish. He used a printer in Seville that gave him a good price, had the cover designed, and sent it out into the world.

I was talking to him recently, he is in Ireland for a few months to learn English. I mentioned that I had written a novel, and that I hadn’t tried very hard to get it published. He just said to me, “you have to publish it.” I repeated that I had tried, but it wasn’t easy. And then he told me about his self-publishing experience, and how cheap and easy it was.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, but when I came back to Sligo (where I live, I met Luis in Dublin), the idea wouldn’t leave me alone. Luis had something along the lines of (I’m paraphrasing, we were talking in Spanish): “writing a book and not publishing is bad for the head. You need to get it out there so you can move on to the next one.”

I wouldn’t have expressed it like this, and I think he was talking more specifically about his own experience, but I know what he means. Writing a book that you have put a lot of work into, thinking that you have produced something that is worth reading and then leaving it in the metaphorical drawer, I think I agree that it is not good for the head.

So within days I had got quotes from self-publishing companies in Ireland and Spain. The Irish one, based in Cork, said they could do 200 copies for €1000, including shipping. This would include an ISBN number. The Spanish company, Publidisa, gave me a price of around €500 for 200 copies, with about €150 extra on top for transport. €650 for 200 copies. I was sceptical at first, but at this price it began to seem pretty doable.

All I needed was a PDF of my novel, and a cover design. That’s it? I thought. Well I can do that.

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