″Writing is not an enlightened group thing, anyone can do it″

He was a journalist, advertising copywriter, lately he has been experimenting, with parsimony, the comedy stages. But it is in books and in its extension to social networks that Pedro Chagas Freitas, 43, is known, in fact, very well known, has readers who are confused with true fans.

With a new book just out, the novel The Rarity of Banal Things – the first original under the seal of the Oficina do Livro – he confesses that he doesn’t know if he can write better than this one. Even so, Chagas Freitas emphasizes that writers are not enlightened beings, just people with unique and different perspectives, like everyone else.

Why do you sell so many books?
If I knew a formula… maybe I’d write a book with that formula. The question is more how it all started, and it was through social networks that a wave was created and had its maximum exponent with the launch of the book I promise to fail.

But his success wasn’t that sudden…
I launched the first book in 2005. I presented it in Guimarães, I’m from there, and I spent two hours signing books for 200 people. At that moment I was convinced that I was a writer. I was so convinced that I decided to schedule another presentation at Fnac do Chiado where there were… four people, two of them my parents. It was a big disappointment. On the way home, I started to think about how I could get my readers. So I created a blog – which was innovative at the time, but which now seems like something from the time of the dinosaurs – and between 2005 and 2014, the year when I launched the I promise to fail, I was writing in the middle of the desert, every day I religiously published texts on the blog. I was writing, writing and launching 19 books before I promise to fail and in the meantime, Facebook appears in Portugal during this period. I remember having a meeting with the publisher to choose which book to publish at that time, in 2014, and they told me that it couldn’t be the I promise to fail because they wanted to release a book with a beginning, middle and end.

THE I promise to fail Isn’t it a book with a beginning, middle and end?
It’s a book that doesn’t have a label, it’s something we don’t really know what it is. It’s a hybrid. The book is in dozens of countries and is sold differently in different markets. In Brazil it’s a book of chronicles, in Italy and Spain it’s a novel…, but I’ve seen the book in libraries in the self-help section and even in the Philosophy section. Most of the messages I got from people who abandoned him explained that they couldn’t keep up with the story. It is a book that must be read in pieces. Returning to history, after its launch it started to sell a lot, a presentation was scheduled in Porto and five days later, in Lisbon, it was already in its third edition. And two years later it was still at the top of sales. It is still at the top of sales today. It is a product, if we look at it as such, that has no label… or recipe.

Is it the book that defines your style as a writer?
Not. It would be easier, but no. When I write I like to take a different approach with each book. There are people who love some books and hate others. I have a black humor book, The Breakdown [2017], which is a humorous play and has nothing to do with Promise to Fail. I had people who didn’t like this different approach and there are those who had given up on me and when they took it [A Repartição] found it funny. I’m not interested in repeating formulas, it would be more comfortable to write 200 more books equal to the I promise failurer…

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