Atef Attia is a writer/publisher, blogger, amateur photographer and cinema and music columnist. He was born in 1980 in Tunis, Tunisia. He graduated from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce in International Business.
He is interested in fiction and thriller. His first book is called “Sang d’Encre“.
This was never intended to be an interview. This was a spontaneously fascinating conversation that occurred between him and I on social media. I could not help but ask his permission to publish it.
- How do you perceive writing?
I like to put myself into some kind of routine. Having a specific time to write, once or twice a week and during a given time. I don’t care if I ”feel” to write or not. As time goes by, I’ve developed a Pavlovian reflex: my mind sets itself to writing mode whenever the time comes and I’m having less trouble writing a few lines. I can’t afford to wait for inspiration, so I lure her into coming to me.
- So you have another job and writing is not your full time quest, right?
I’d love to tell you what famous writers say in their biographies: ”With the success of my first book, I quit my job and became a full time Writer”. But no. I have a job and bills to pay.
- What do you think it takes for a writer in Tunisia to publish a successful book?
A shit load of money.. First, a writer will have to find a publisher who is willing to publish that book, which is very hard, especially if it is fiction. Then, they’ll have to promote the book in every way possible: TV, radio, web, meetings… Everyone needs to know that the book exists, and that it is worth buying and reading. But that’s very unlikely to happen, anytime soon.
- What’s with the publishers?
They do not believe in books anymore. They’re publishing the same book all over again and publishing the same writers. For a first-timer, it’s not easy to get attention. Even if the book is published, the whole promotion thing is missing, it’s up to the writer to promote their own book, at their own expenses. That’s not how it is supposed to happen. That’s the main reason I became a publisher.
- So you published your book and other authors’ books as well…
We’ve created Pop Libris because we were writers who believed in themselves, in their books and because we’ve sent our books to many publishers who didn’t even bother giving us a reply. So we decided do it ourselves, with our money, and we will try to help and publish all those who are in the same situation as we were.
- Do you have any “regrets” for believing in them/ publishing them?
Not at all. The joy you see in the face of a writer when they hold their book for the very first time is priceless. And if I don’t like the book from the start, I don’t publish it.
- How do you usually help other writers? And do you offer editing services?
Of course, if I love the book, and the writer is okay, there’s a whole editing process that starts: from simple corrections to complete rework of some parts.
- How many books have you published so far? And are there any other books to be published soon? Whether written by you or any other writer?
What you need to understand is that we have a very small publishing business, and we are investing our own money into publishing books. Our number one rule is quite simple: One book finances the next one. So far we’ve published 4 books including mine. The last one won the ”Comar d’or Découverte” a few months ago. Two more books are coming soon, by the end the year.
- Tell me about your goals?
Two goals I have and work hard for. First, building a big enough bibliography that is entertaining and worth remembering in the Tunisian literature. We do not have a lot of writers doing crime, noir, horror, fantasy, sci-fi… That’s what I’m willing to do.
Second goal is to create a publishing company that gathers all kind of writers who share the same passion as mine. Something that will be remembered, something like ”Les éditions j’ai Lu” in the 80’s and the 90’s.
The second goal is going well, a few more people are starting to recognize Pop Libris and talk about it. We haven’t caught enough attention yet, but the word to mouth is going well.
- What do you think is needed to spread the word about Pop Libris effectively? Besides the media and “word to mouth”?
Frankly, I don’t know. But I think we need time. And more books.