Escritores.online aims at becoming the biggest search engine of Portuguese—speaking authors.

By Luciana Leitão

When opening Escritores.online, different names appear, as it includes more than 400 authors. Anyone, famous or unknown, who writes in Portuguese and has at least one book published, with an International Standard Book Number (ISBN), is fit to be featured, co-founder Pedro Miguel Rocha tells mART.

The idea came up because Mr Rocha is a writer. “I felt the lack of a more democratic place, where all writers could be featured,” he mentions. “We had institutional websites and the bookstores, with a more commercial goal.”As a result, he decided to created a search engine featuring all the Portuguese-speaking writers, “without any sort of judgement”. On October 13 2016, it was born.

Five months have passed and Escritores.online has more than 400 writers, 2400 books, half a million visits and about 500 articles. “The purpose is to become the biggest search engine of Portuguese language,” he says. Still, considering the team is small, “the growth rhythm is not so intense and fast as people would like”.

Escritores.online

Tiago Salazar, Teolinda Gersão and João Tordo were present at the first debate organised by Escritores.online

The team behind Escritores.online uses the same criteria as the Portuguese Authors Society (SPA, in the Portuguese acronym) and the Portuguese Writers Association. “When someone has a published work, with an ISBN, that person may be considered an author,” he explains. From then on, the choice is arbitrary — depends on their own ideas, as well as regular people and publishing house’s suggestions. “We have an open mind, we have no filter and we are open to any contact,” Mr Rocha adds.

Turning it institutional

For the time being, the website is being sponsored by Associação Mutualista Montepio and, somewhere along the way, Mr Rocha aims at “passing it on to an institution”. There is no intention on “charging authors and placing advertisements,” he assures.

As for the feedback he is having, Mr Rocha says it is overall positive. “Some are saying besides the search tool component, they like the informative component, like the newsletter and the news we share on Facebook,” he says. Publishers, authors, institutional supporters and the sponsor are also “happy”. Some, however, have been complaining because there are authors who have not yet been included, but Mr Rocha argues the team is small.

Escritores.online

Escritores.online is a virtual address, but its founders wish to turn it “real”, by organising regular events. On March 2, a debate to answer the question “How to write a good romance?” took place, featuring writers João Tordo, Teolinda Gersão and Tiago Salazar.

On March 13, 6 pm, there will be another event at  atmosfera m, in Oporto, featuring Valter-Hugo Mãe on his latest book Homens Imprudentemente Poéticos. “We want to have a debate every month,” he says. Plus, they want to include a “more audiovisual component,” featuring interviews with writers.

Soon, Escritores.online will also launch the Book of the Month, which will take place every month. “Every month, we will put four books for vote, and the audience will choose,” Mr Rocha adds.

Pedro Miguel Rocha was the author and producer of the programme Contentor 13, broadcasted on RTP2 television channel. He has published four books, one of which, O Eremita Galego, has won, in 2012, the literary award Maria Ondina Braga.

The website is supported by General Directorate for Book, Archives and Libraries (DGLAB), the  Portuguese Authors Society and the Portuguese Writers Association.