Javier Castillo, the unknown Malaga native with 100,000 copies.
“Yesterday there was a huge queue in Sol (lots of girls) to get a signing from a certain Javier Castillo I’d never heard of”. The publisher Valentín Pérez couldn’t get over his astonishment when, on the last Book Night in Madrid, he posted a tweet with this comment when he saw an endless queue of readers as if the kilometre zero of literature was starting from there. He followed the queue and it took him a while to go through the thousand or so people – counted by eye – until he got to the beginning and found the unexpected. He expected Fernando Aramburu and his popular ‘Patria’, or some celebrity writer. But no, he met “Javier Castillo” and was stunned not only by the author’s convening power, but also by his absolute ignorance of this publishing phenomenon of the year: the Malaga-born author’s debut, ‘El día que perdió la cordura’ (Suma de Letras), has sold more than 100,000 copies. And rising.
“I published the book on Amazon for my friends and I could never have imagined this madness”, confesses Javier Castillo (Málaga, 1987) who, paraphrasing his literary debut, struggles to keep his sanity when he sees the numbers of his novel. The first paper edition in February this year sold out in a week. Four editions in a month. Ten editions in less than half a year. One hundred thousand volumes that join the more than 40,000 electronic copies he sold on the Internet between 2015 and 2016 when he opted for self-publishing. A sales phenomenon that Suma de Letras did not want to miss out on. “They were convinced of the success in paper format, although they told me that they didn’t expect to sell as much as in e-book”, says the writer, who does not hide his enthusiasm at having already more than doubled the previous sales in digital format.