Author Archives: Klaava

About Klaava

The editor of klaava.com

Why a nonfiction book publisher won’t accept a fiction manuscript or comics publisher rejects a textbook?

2017-12-11

The variety of book proposals publishers receive is great: some proposals have been drafted so well that the author either has long experience or has attended a course where it was discussed, whereas others simply ask their memoirs to be published. Perhaps the most puzzling proposals are novel manuscripts in the spirit of Fifty Shades of Grey submitted to a nonfiction publisher, or an astrophysics book proposal submitted to a poetry publisher. Let’s see why this kind of random submission method is a total waste of time for everyone involved.
office desk, employee sorting inbox and outbox
It is so easy to submit a book proposal to a publisher (or agent in some markets) that even if the author has read the guidelines on the publisher’s web page, the author may think “You never know – maybe they still like my book”.

No, that’s not the case. The submission doesn’t even get a chance. A book proposal or manuscript that doesn’t fit into any genre specified in the guidelines will be swiftly moved into the receiver’s computer trashcan. The message and its attachments won’t even be read.

The reason is simple: publishers specialize in a specific genre in order to master the content and the business related to that genre. Small and independent publishers do it to focus their limited resources on a type of content and business ecosystem they believe they know the best. Big publishers who accept books of any genre operate the same way behind the scenes. They have separate publishing divisions for fiction, nonfiction, textbooks, and for all other categories they have decided to pursue business.

Let’s think of music: say, a conductor of a philharmonic orchestra wants to record Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with a new star violinist. The conductor doesn’t contact a punk rock or blues label, but a publisher that is specialized in classical music. The classical label knows the costs of a live recording, professionals required for post-production, and has the means to market the album to maximize sales.

Exactly the same applies to book publishing.

When an author submits his or her precious manuscript or book proposal to a publisher who has published, and wants to publish, books in the genre the author is targeting, the book proposal gets an opportunity. It will be opened, read and reviewed. Perhaps several individuals examine the submission, and discuss its merits and shortcomings. Above all, the proposal gets its moment of opportunity.

What if the author can’t specify a genre, and that’s the reason for submitting the proposal to many types of publishers? If the proposal is absolutely clear what the book is about, the genre can be specified. If not, more work on the proposal is required.

Algarve, Portugal ranked as the most affordable European destination: this travel guide shows you around the region

2017-12-04

Portugal is such a hot travel destination these days that after winning the best tourist destination awards, statistics indicate that Algarve, the province on the south coast, is the cheapest European region to visit. There is only one way to find out what all the buzz is about and visit Algarve yourself. Here is a travel guide to Algarve that shows you around the south coast beaches, villages, mountains, castles and national parks.

Algarve, Southern Portugal travel guide
The World Travel Awards is an annual event for travel industry professionals who vote for the best destinations and service providers. The big winner in 2017 was Portugal.

The Best European Destination: Portugal
The Best Beach Destination in Europe: Algarve, Portugal

Even price comparisons favor Algarve province on Portugal’s south coast. British 2017 Post Office Holiday Money Report ranks Algarve the cheapest travel destination in Europe, Bulgaria’s Sunny Beach the second and Costa del Sol in Andalusia, Spain the third. The ranking included 44 destinations, so it is certainly possible to find even cheaper places to go in Europe, but as major tourist regions are considered, that’s the top three.

What does the Algarve travel guidebook say about the reasons why people like to visit Portugal’s south coast? According to the author of the book, it is a well balanced combination of sunny climate around the year, relatively new infrastructure for tourism without overbuilding the region, unique coastline, fascinating history as a territory between North Africa and Europe, and remarkable possibilities for outdoor activities around the year.

More about the Algarve, Southern Portugal travel guide and its availability here Download: Algarve, Southern Portugal - Klaava Travel Guide.

Sample pages from the travel guide below:
Algarve, Southern Portugal travel guide
Algarve, Southern Portugal travel guide
Algarve, Southern Portugal travel guide

The best place to retire in Europe is Algarve in Southern Portugal

2017-11-27

In North America, Florida is regarded as a wonderful place to retire because of its climate, good infrastructure, and choices for housing. In Europe, southern regions of the continent in Greece, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal attract retirees. Live and Invest Overseas has ranked Algarve Province in Southern Portugal as the best place to retire in 2017.
tavira, algarve, portugal
Most Europeans already knew that Algarve’s coast that faces the Atlantic Ocean is a perfect destination for a vacation in the sun, on a beach, or enjoying the great outdoors by surfing, cycling, following the migration of birds, or hiking on hills. Accommodation and living costs are reasonable, and all services a visitor could ever need are available in the region.

Well, it seems the same applies to retirees, especially from the UK, central Europe and northern Europe who have discovered Algarve years ago.

The best place to retire ranking by Live and Invest Overseas is based on 13 categories: cost of living, crime and safety, English spoken, entertainment, environmental conditions, expat community, health care, infrastructure, recreation, residency options, taxes and real estate affordability and restrictions.

The top 9 destinations for retirement in Europe are the following:

1. “Portugal’s Algarve remains the best place in Europe to retire to today. It has everything the would-be retiree could want – great weather and lots of sunshine year-round; an established and welcoming expat community; top-notch medical facilities and health care; an affordable cost of living, especially when you consider the quality of life; undervalued and bargain-priced property buys, including right on the ocean; endless opportunities for fun, adventure and enjoying rich, full, varied days out-of-doors; a great deal of English spoken thanks to the longstanding British presence; First World infrastructure; a new retiree residency program that rolls out the welcome mat for foreign pensioners; and easy access both from the United States and to and from all Europe.”
Before making any decisions, it is a good idea to visit the region, tour popular towns, and experience how daily life feels in Portugal. Here is a travel guide to Algarve that shows you around the region.

Other places that ranked high on the Live and Invest best places to retire list are:

2. Valletta, Malta
3. Saint-Chinian, France
4. Lisbon, Portugal
5. Budapest, Hungary
6. Citta Sant’ Angelo, Italy
7. Chania, Island of Crete, Greece
8. Bled, Slovenia
9. Paris, France

How ebook readers choose which book they want to buy?

2017-11-20

A traditional wisdom says that a book’s author, title and cover are the key factors for a customer to make a purchase decision. A survey conducted in Germany among people who mostly read ebooks published by indie authors shows slightly different decision making preferences.

Amazon Kindle ereader in hand, books in the background
The survey among 2342 people in Germany discovered that the most important factor for their purchase decision was the book description. Writing a blurp is a difficult job already, and this piece of data only raises the standard.

Here are the survey results for the question how readers choose which book to buy:

89% of readers decide to buy a book based on the book description.
65% trust the author’s name.
49% of readers trust reviews.
48% can be convinced by a smart book cover.
46% of buyers go after the price.
45% title makes a difference.
15% are affected by the book’s bestseller rank.

Die Self Publisher Bible, survey resultsSource: Die Self Publisher Bibel.

The full results of the survey can be viewed (with graphs) at Die Self Publisher Bibel.

Anja at Indies Go German has translated some of the survey results to English with brief analysis.

It looks like Germans who prefer reading indie authors favor Kindle instead of German-based Tolino ebooks and ereaders. In the general German ebook market Amazon Kindle and Tolino are, however, considered to have practically equal market shares.

According to the survey, for German ebook readers, bookstores are the most important way to find new ebooks. So, searching, exploring book descriptions, reading reviews, downloading samples and all the functionality at an online bookstore really matters to readers.

If you think about the times gone by when the only place to find new books was a bookstore, the decision-making process is quite similar with ebooks. At a brick-and-mortar bookstore, you wander along corridors and scan the bookshelves. Something catches your eye, you stop, and pick up the book. You browse the book, view the cover and perhaps read a paragraph here and there. If everything matches with what you were looking for, it’s a deal.

The new library in Tianjin, China is simply amazing

2017-11-18

Public buildings, and in our era, especially libraries often have a significant role in positioning a community or an entire nation to the world. Looking at the images of the recently opened (October 2017) library in the city of Tianjin in China, the wow-effect is instant. The new library is simply something you can’t take your eyes off of.

Tianjin Binhai library designed by Dutch architects MVRDV
Tianjin is a metropolis on the coast about 100 km from Beijing. Dutch architect firm MVRDV designed the amazing library in cooperation with Tianjin Urban Planning and Design Institute (TUPDI). The new library has 1.2 million books on its shelves, ready to be loaned. The size of the building is 33,700 m2.

The architects of MVRDV describe the building as a cultural centre with a spherical auditorium. The bookcases that cascade from floor to ceiling make it an educational centre, and also social space.

The five-level building also has educational facilities along the edges of the interior and accessible through the main atrium space. Subterranean service spaces, book storage, and a large archive are working spaces for the employees. Reading areas for children and the elderly, and the auditorium are on the ground floor. The first and second floors consist primarily of reading rooms, books and lounge areas. Upper floors have meeting rooms, offices, computer and audio rooms and two rooftop patios.

The building project was completed in three years, which can be regarded as some kind of miracle for such a complex building. The fast construction schedule came with some sacrifices, though. For instance, the bookshelves located high up in the library don’t have books, but plates that look like books. The reason for this is that there wasn’t time to build public access to the bookshelves at the top.

View the video of the library filmed by New China TV:

Looking at the images of the Tianjin Binhai library also makes one think. What is the meaning of the new library? Perhaps one of its missions is to tell us that today, China is one of the most powerful nations in the world that has the wealth and the will to show that the society values education, culture and books.

The following photos by MVRDV.

Tianjin Binhai library in China, designed by MVRDV

Tianjin Binhai library in China, designed by MVRDV

Tianjin Binhai library in China, designed by MVRDV

Tianjin Binhai library in China, designed by MVRDV

Free writing applications that let you focus on typing on a computer, tablet and smartphone

2017-11-15

The popular word processing software package Microsoft Word was originally designed for drafting documents required in an office environment. Word has, however, so many features that it is commonly used for writing book manuscripts and pretty much anything. There are very good alternatives for Word, and many of these applications are free to download and use. Here are the most popular free writing apps.

The Writing Cooperative collected the following list of free distraction-free writing apps.

WriteMonkey, writing application, screen shot
Before diving into the applications make sure to take notice where the app saves your text: locally on your device, or onto the cloud (on a server computer on the Internet). This is important to understand because it affects your choice. Some writers live in the cloud, whereas others want to have everything locally under their own control. Especially, if you travel and write, you should carefully choose your strategy.

Here is a collection of popular distraction-free writing applications.

FocusWriter
A distraction-free word processor with only a few formatting features. Timers, themes, statistics, and a spell-checker are included.

WriteMonkey
An application for distraction-free writing. Not even a menu bar is visible before you push the right button. This is for writers who want to quickly access all menu commands from the keyboard. Fast typists will like this because they don’t have to raise their fingers from the keyboard. WriteMonkey can also be run from a USB stick.

Q10
Q10 is small and fast writing app that is tuned to timed writing sessions.

Write!
A simple writing app for Windows and Mac.

yWriter
A distraction-free writing application that was designed for drafting novels.

Cold Turkey
An app that turns your computer into a typewriter until you reach your writing goal.

Calmly Writer
The application’s special focus mode only shows you the paragraph you’re writing, but it can used in a normal manner as well.
Simplenote on an iPhone
Simplenote
Simplenote has stolen our hearts for writing notes, ideas, lists, plans, book proposals, or anything that we are processing in our minds. The application is available for computers, tablets and phones, so it can be accessed anywhere. The texts are saved into the cloud so elegantly that you don’t have to worry about it at all. If you are using one of the Simplenote mobile apps, it remembers what you have written and saves everything on your account even if the connection was broken down while writing or the device happened to shut down because of battery problems. The text is instantly available on all your devices that are logged in to the Simplenote account.

It is worth noting that the publishing industry’s standard manuscript file format is the Word .doc (or .docx). If you are going to submit your book proposal or manuscript to a publisher (or an agent) you should import (or copy and paste) the text into the Word and save the document as a Word document.

An excellent alternative to the Word – that does exactly the same things as Word does – is the free LibreOffice software package. You have to download the entire LibreOffice suite, but for writing you only need the Writer app.

The Writing Cooperative lists even more tools that can be handy and helpful for writers.
Simplenote in  a web browser

Book lover’s dream holiday: running a bookshop in Scotland

2017-11-08

This is one of the most brilliant ideas I have ever heard of: a bookshop in Scotland lets a book lover run the store for a two week period. Then, the next shop manager moves in and does his or her best in the small bookstore. Two-week time slots for managing the Open Book shop have been almost fully reserved until 2020.

Wigtown, SCotland, Open Book, bookshop
The Open Book shop is located in the village of Wigtown in Scotland. The Scotsman reports how the system works. Shop managers, or guests, book their stay via Airbnb, and pay for the privilege of becoming bookstore managers. The guests can stay in the apartment above the store.

The concept was created by an American Jessica Fox who had dreamt about working at a bookshop in Scotland. She moved to Wigtown to work in another bookstore before acquiring the shop that was to become Open Book.

“Wigtown is an amazing, unique place. It has a population of only 900 but it has 16 bookshops and they welcome people from around the world with open arms. I thought, ‘I’m sure I’m not the only crazy American out there who’d love to run a bookshop’ and that’s how The Open Book was born. People book through Airbnb and we’ve been overwhelmed by its success.”

Wigtown, Scotland.
Shop managers do real work in the bookstore: they sell books, set prices for acquired books, organize book readings and other events, and redesign shop windows. Shop managers write a blog that is fascinating to read. For instance, someone has been waiting for two years for her turn in the shop, and now, in the shop, she is busy with customers and books.

A computer with Internet connection lets managers keep up-to-date in the shop, unless they want to go for a bicycle ride to the Scotland countryside.

The concept has been noticed in China and South Korea where companies planning book town concepts have been in contact with Jessica Fox.

The Network of Creative Cities got new members, also cities with strong heritage in literature

2017-11-04

Unesco, a United Nations organization, has an appealing initiative: Creative City. The organization wants to promote cooperation among cities that have introduced sustainable development as a key element into their strategies. In addition, if the city is supporting creative initiatives, it can be nominated into the Unesco Creative Cities Network. Literature is one of the seven creative themes that identify the network members.

city wall painting. photo by brillianthues
The Network covers seven creative fields: crafts and folk arts, media arts, film, design, gastronomy, literature and music. Recently, in October 2017, 64 new cities joined the network of creative cities. The total count is 180 cities in 72 countries.

Unesco has listed seven cities as literature-specific. They are:

Bucheon (Republic of Korea)
Durban (South Africa)
Lillehammer (Norway)
Manchester (United Kingdom)
Milan (Italy)
Québec City (Canada)
Utrecht (Netherlands)

Four out of seven cities are in Europe, but other than that, there are not many similarities between them. Lillehammer and Utrecht are not big cities, whereas the others are more or less large and busy cities.

Edinburgh joined the network of creative cities already earlier with literature as its key art form. The video below shows some literature specific activities and places in Edinburgh, but it also shows how wonderful travel destination the city is.

Unesco defines the creative city concept as follows:

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The 116 cities which currently make up this network work together towards a common objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.

New cities that recently joined the Creative Cities Network (other than literature-related) are the following:

Alba (Italy) – Gastronomy
Almaty (Kazakhstan) – Music
Amarante (Portugal) – Music
Auckland (New Zealand) – Music
Baguio City (Philippines) – Crafts and Folk Art
Barcelos (Portugal) – Crafts and Folk Art
Braga (Portugal) – Media Arts
Brasilia (Brazil) – Design
Bristol (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) – Film
Brno (Czechia) – Music
Buenaventura (Colombia) – Gastronomy
Cairo (Egypt) – Crafts and Folk Art
Cape Town (South Africa) – Design
Carrara (Italy) – Crafts and Folk Art
Changsha (China) – Media Arts
Chennai (India) – Music
Chiang Mai (Thailand) – Crafts and Folk Art
Chordeleg (Ecuador) – Crafts and Folk Art
Cochabamba (Bolivia [Plurinational State of]) – Gastronomy
Daegu Metropolitan City (Republic of Korea) – Music
Dubai (United Arab Emirates) – Design
Frutillar (Chile) – Music
Gabrovo (Bulgaria) – Crafts and Folk Art
[City of] Greater Geelong (Australia) – Design
Guadalajara (Mexico) – Media Arts
Hatay Metropolitan Municipality (Turkey) – Gastronomy
Istanbul (Turkey) – Design
João Pessoa (Brazil) – Crafts and Folk Art
Kansas City (United States of America) – Music
Kolding (Denmark) – Design
Kortrijk (Belgium) – Design
Košice (Slovakia) – Media Arts
Kütahya (Turkey) – Crafts and Folk Art
Limoges (France) – Crafts and Folk Art
Łódź (Poland) – Film
Macao Special Administrative Region, China (Associate Member, UNESCO) – Gastronomy
Madaba (Jordan) – Crafts and Folk Art
Mexico City (Mexico) – Design
Morelia (Mexico) – Music
Norrköping (Sweden) – Music
Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) – Crafts and Folk Art
Panama City (Panama) – Gastronomy
Paraty (Brazil) – Gastronomy
Pesaro (Italy) – Music
Porto-Novo (Benin) – Crafts and Folk Art
Praia (Cabo Verde) – Music
Qingdao (China) – Film
San Antonio (United States of America) – Gastronomy
Seattle (United States of America) – Literature
Sheki (Azerbaijan) – Crafts and Folk Art
Sokodé (Togo) – Crafts and Folk Art
Terrassa (Spain) – Film
Tétouan (Morocco) – Crafts and Folk Art
Toronto (Canada) – Media Arts
Tunis (Tunisia) – Crafts and Folk Art
Wuhan (China) – Design
Yamagata City (Japan) – Film

Via Publishing Perspectives.

A book about movies isn’t complete before it shows the action in video segments

2017-10-30

When professional stuntman H-P Virkki decided he is going to write a book about the work of stuntmen, he also decided that it would have to include video clips that show the action. He had to wait for the ebook technology to catch up with his vision, but once Apple had introduced the iBooks Author publishing tool, the long process of creating the book could begin. The exciting result is a available as an ebook Stunts, Scenes and Safety – Introduction to Movie Stunts.

Tung Bui, stuntman. From book Stunts, Scenes and Safety
For a publisher, H-P Virkki’s vision for a book that comes with video clips is an ambitious one, since plenty of work is required to get all the pieces fit together. The distribution of the book must be managed as well, because delivering an ebook with a large file size and video content is not a trivial thing. Ebooks created with iBooks Author could be delivered via Apple iBooks Store, so there was at least one global distribution channel for the book.

Later, the book was also converted to EPUB and Kindle formats in order to reach wider audiences.

H-P Virkki rehearsing stunts at a course
The second key theme of the book – in addition to the introduction to the work of stuntmen– is educating young movie lovers about the requirements movie business sets for aspiring stuntmen. The book has plenty of valuable tips for anyone who is thinking of squeezing into movies.

Writing a book is one thing, but filming segments that actually show some of the key concepts of a book is a completely different thing. How can a writer create video segments for a book? Since H-P Virkki is a professional in the movie industry, he knew what he had to do in order to capture the film material he wanted for his book.

Here is an article by H-P Virkki where he tells how he created the movie segments for the book Stunts, Scenes and Safety.

H-P Virkki at Stage 32.

More about the book. download ebook: Stunts, Scenes and Safety

How to restore a book damaged by water to its former glory

2017-10-28

For paper books, water is a dangerous element. If a book gets wet, nothing will restore it to the same condition as it was before the damage was done, but it is possible to get quite close. Conservation experts at the Syracuse Library have produced a video that shows how a book can be saved.

saving a wet book by Syracuse Library
The tools required for saving a book should be easily accessible at every home (apart from the book press), except for the fan that is not a common household item in countries located in cool regions. What to do if there is simply no fan in the house?

Here is the book rescue video by Syracuse University Library’s Department of Preservation and Conservation.

The next thing related to books that I am going to buy is a waterproof ereader with a case that can take a few bumps and knocks.

10 items writers should include in a nonfiction book proposal

2017-10-21

Authors who are planning a nonfiction book can submit a proposal to publishers (or agents) once the book concept is crystal clear in the author’s mind. The manuscript doesn’t have to be ready. The potential of the book is evaluated from the information delivered in the proposal. This applies to nonfiction books only, and here are ten items that publishers and agents typically expect to find in a proposal.

eyeglasses on computer keyboard
These ten items for a nonfiction book proposal were originally outlined by Marisa Corvisiero

1. Title and Word Count

The title doesn’t have to be the final one, since it is often changed by the author or the publisher during the publishing process. Nonfiction books can have a title – subtitle structure which allows explaining quite a lot about the book.

In the era of ebooks, the traditional wisdom for the length of a nonfiction book (85,000 words, or about 300 printed pages) doesn’t apply anymore. For instance, we have published nonfiction ebooks that are about 50 pages, and also books that are about 500 pages.

Assuming that the author is still planning the book, the tentative word count indicates the scope of the manuscript and the amount of work required.

Many publishers also want to get a tentative idea for how many pictures, photos, schemas, tables and other elements besides text the author is planning to include in the book.

2. Tagline

A short, one or two line description about the concept of the book. The purpose is to make the product interesting and attractive.

3. Blurb

A short summary of what the book is about. What the reader will learn and the key points that will be made in the pages.

4. Structure of the Book

How the book will be organized and why. Often, however, it is better to include a comprehensive Table of Contents that shows the structure.

5. Target Market

A description of who should buy the book, who it is written for, and why they need it.

A list of competitive products belongs in this section, with analysis how this book will be different and/or better than books already in the market.

6. Author Bio

Readers will want to know if they can trust the author’s expertise. This is all about credentials.

7. Marketing Plan

Publishers want to know how large audience the author can reach. They will then add their activities to the mix. Any ideas for delivering the message to the world are welcomed by publishers. Authors must be ready to do book marketing as well.

8. Endorsements or Media Coverage

If an author can get endorsements from renowned people for the book, here is the section to mention it. Also possible media contacts, or earlier appearances in media should be listed here.

9. Table of Contents

The more detailed the Table of Contents is, the better picture the publisher gets from the book concept. This is the key element for many publishers when they consider what the book really is about and ponder its positioning in the market. For more information on the details publishers may expect to find in the TOC, read this article.

10. Sample Chapters

A chapter or two of the book should be included in the proposal. Many agents want three to five chapters, but it varies, as well as publishers’ requirements. Submission guidelines should be followed. A sample is important for publishers and agents in order to evaluate the author’s style, voice, and way of presenting the information.

New application for E ink displays used in ereaders: art and architecture

2017-10-18

We are so used to the grayscale E ink displays in our ereaders that we rarely think about how peculiar the technology really is. The information displayed on E ink screens are not composed of light, but physical microcapsules that rotate to create patterns on the screen. The patterns, or information, on the screen remain there until an electric pulse changes the patterns. This is why E ink screens are energy efficient and easily viewable even in direct sunlight.

You probably have seen small E ink displays in stores where product prices or other information is updated in real time. Displays can be tiny price tags or large boards.
San Diego car park with E ink walls
In any case, commercial applications are not the only ones where E ink can be used. In San Diego, California, these displays are used for decorating a concrete car park building.

View the video below that shows how it looks like.

Very thin e-paper tiles have been attached to the outer walls of the car park building. These screens are wirelessly connected to a host computer that tells the screens what to do. Uebercall, the company behind concept, has designed 15 programs used to animate the tiles. The screens are powered by solar cells.

All this means that the animations can be seen during the daytime only when the screens have power and there is daylight for viewing the screens.

I wonder if it would be possible to create an effect that looks like the building was moving as you drive by? It would, of course, freak out the drivers on the highway next to the building, which wouldn’t be safe.

Via VentureBeat.