In July, HarperCollins Focus launched a new Spanish-language publishing imprint, HarperEnfoque. The imprint will offer original works in Spanish as well as translations of bestselling English-language books, focused on “empowering lives and fostering change,” according to an announcement. The imprint is directed by Cris Garrido, v-p and publisher of HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP) and v-p and publisher for Spanish, and falls under the HCCP division.
In addition to original works, HarperEnfoque is incorporating numerous titles from HarperCollins Mexico, as well as from the backlist of Grupo Nelson, another HCCP division.
The first titles from Harper-Enfoque will be published later this year and will include Spanish-language editions of Pablo Muñoz Iturrieta’s Turn Off Your Phone and Turn On Your Brain, Margarita Pasos’s I Could and You Can Too!, and Sara Huff’s How to Manufacture a Feminist. Additional titles are forthcoming from such authors as John Maxwell, Dave Ramsey, Brian Tracy, and Zig Ziglar. HarperEnfoque plans to publish four to eight titles annually.
“Our vision is to hand-select an exclusive number of projects each year that are uniquely positioned to capture the interest of readers through content that challenges and inspires the mind and helps them to change their world,” Garrido says. “HarperEnfoque will be a natural extension of the HarperCollins Focus overall position in the marketplace—one that equips readers to lead a life of significance, integrity, and purpose.”
While Garrido’s HCCP division primarily focuses on Christian titles, he saw an opportunity to sell the same audience other books that align with their interests. “We have got good at reaching religious conservative audiences and can sell them books that are not religious, such as books about business, leadership, and self-improvement,” he says, citing Daniel Habif’s. Inquebrantables, a self-help motivation book that has sold more 500,000 copies, and conservative political pundit Agustín Laje’s Generación idiota as examples of bestselling Spanish-language HarperCollins titles.
Garrido says that one difference between working in Spanish and English is that the company is not actively being pitched titles, as there are far fewer active literary agents working in Spanish. “Half the people we work with have not written a book before,” he says, “and we approach them with the idea, then help them craft the work.”
Garrido argues that people tend to think Latinos are a homogenous group, but they are not. “Their reading habits tend to depend on what region they are coming from, as well as where they fall on the social, economic, and education spectrum,” he says. “In Miami, for example, first-generation immigrants tend to be conservative, while their children are liberal. Doing one thing to serve all Latinos doesn’t work.”
Making inroads in the trade
To this end, in addition to HCCP’s Spanish imprints—which, along with HarperEnfoque and Grupo Nelson, include Vida and CLIE—HarperCollins also runs a general trade division imprint, HarperCollins Español, which is part of HarperOne and is overseen by Judith Curr as publisher and Edward Benitez as executive editor. HarperCollins Espanol publishes 16–24 titles per year, 80% of which are translations of existing HarperCollins titles; the other 20% are originals. The backlist amounts to 300 books, and bestsellers include Spanish-language editions of Paolo Coelho’s works, including The Alchemist, which has sold more than 400,000 copies; Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, which has been a top 10 bestseller for several years running; and books by such authors as Gary John Bishop, Karen Slaughter, and Daniel Silva.
Among its originals, one bestseller for HCE has been Naturalmente bella by Daniel Campos. “It’s a book about how to create your own beauty products at home,” Benitez says. “He is Cuban and based in Miami, writes for People en Español, and has a big social media following. It has been a bestselling book for us in the U.S.”
Benitez too emphasizes that Spanish-speaking readers are not a homogenous group and this makes the market especially complicated and difficult to reach. “People hear that there are tens of millions of Spanish-speakers in the U.S., so they assume that we must be selling truckloads of books, but it doesn’t work quite like that,” Benitez says. “Yes, in Miami there is an entire population that has no interest in reading in English, but the places where we are seeing the most growth are not those you might expect—it’s North Carolina, Georgia and Arkansas, and we have to be creative in reaching those markets.” Libraries, in particular, are working hard to catch up with demand (see “EBSCO Helps Librarians Build Spanish Collections,” p. 20). In addition, e-books and audiobooks, which HCE produces in-house, are growing “exponentially” for the imprint, Benitez says.
Looking ahead, Benitez identifies several big projects, including new Spanish-language editions of C.S. Lewis’s oeuvre, Elizabeth Acevedo’ s Family Lore, and Cristina Henriquez’s The Great Divide, among others.
“For our segment, for adult trade publishing, we are known for publishing quality projects and books for the Spanish-market, and that is what we will continue to do,” Benitez says. “We expect to continue to see our sales grow year after year.”