Tag Archives: book

Tips to Mr Putin and Mr Trump for interacting with the local tribe in Helsinki, Finland

2018-07-15

Presidents Trump and Putin are due for a tête-à-tête in Helsinki on 16 July, 2018, a summit in which national security issues and alleged Russian interference in the US elections of 2016 are likely to be hot topics. The two leaders have missed me by a year. I was in the Finnish capital in the summer of 2017 – not to mention the previous autumn – as part of the journey which has resulted in my newly published ebook, The Honest Tribe: Travels in Finland.

Esplanade Park in summer. Helsinki, Finland. Esplanade Park in Helsinki, Finland.

Too bad, gentlemen. Our paths are not to cross, and I know you’re cursing your luck. During my time in Finland I picked up more than a few snippets of information on the Finns and their metropolis, and we could have lounged in a Helsinki bar, drinks in hand, while I filled you in on a few points that even your advisors might know little of. Following that, I would have shown you something of the city.

Had we met for a drink in Helsinki, I trust Mr Trump, with his vast personal wealth, would have stood me a beer or two. My teacher’s salary doesn’t extend to prolonged stays in Finnish bars, and, with measly quantities of beer on sale for the best part of ten euros a time, many Finns also feel the pecuniary pain of alcohol consumption, not least in the pricy pubs of the capital.

According to some, this is a historically rooted ploy on the part of the Finnish establishment and designed to keep the country’s working class sober enough for their labours. With his Soviet past, Mr Putin might be inclined to agree. Had we drunk together in Helsinki, he might have refused Finnish beer on the grounds of its (supposed) exploitative, capitalist associations. Or that may have been an excuse to partake of vodka, a drink much loved in his home country.

Helsinki’s cafés and restaurants have offered me similar insights into Finnish life. Mr Trump is no doubt accustomed to high levels of customer care in American eateries – ‘Hi, my name’s Jenny and I’ll be your server today’ – and is likely to encounter similar standards in their Finnish equivalents, though with one notable exception. It was in a café on Suomenlinna, the island off Helsinki’s coastline, that I was told by the girl at the counter to fill my cup myself. She indicated cups, tea bags and an urn of hot water behind me.

‘Beware Finland’s DIY cafés,’ I might have warned my presidential companions as we staggered away from our Helsinki bar in search of a cappuccino or an Earl Grey. Mr Trump would have been appalled, even incredulous, and might have dismissed my caveat as fake news. Mr Putin may have been equally disbelieving, but I could have convinced him with a tall tale. ‘It’s for the protection of Finnish citizens. So a Russian agent can’t slip poison into their drink. Remember Alexander Litvinenko?’
Suomenlinna fortress, Helsinki. Suomenlinna fortress, Helsinki.

Fortified with beer, and tea or coffee, Donald, Vladimir and I might have perambulated around Helsinki, in search of a little culture. The city’s famed Lutheran cathedral would have been a must-see, and, once we’d negotiated a route through the groups of young people who perpetually congregate on its steps, we’d have found ourselves within its calming but plain interior.

The plainness might not have suited Mr Putin, more accustomed as he is to the ornate and gilded interiors of Russian Orthodox churches. Silvio Berlusconi, the notorious Italian politician, once commented of an eighteenth-century wooden Finnish church he’d been shown that in his own country it would have been bulldozed. So it is with the Latins and Slavs, who revel in the decorative and effusive.

No so the Finns. In the early stages of The Honest Tribe I comment that my assessment of Finland could be summed up in the words ‘clean, unfancy and efficient’. And those attributes are fine with me, as, I suspect, they are with Mr Trump. Indeed the American president has Lutheran roots on his father’s side of the family, so he might have felt at home in Helsinki Cathedral. He’d have nodded with approval, I’m sure, as I indicated its statue of the redoubtable Martin Luther. Mr Putin might have grown bored and impatient, seeing his surroundings as dourly Protestant. But Donald and I wouldn’t have minded – as long as Vladimir didn’t phone for a bulldozer.

‘Don’t mention the war!’ John Cleese famously enjoined in an episode of Fawlty Towers, the popular British comedy series of the 1970s. Finns, however, are inclined to refer to the conflicts of the twentieth century all too often, at least for the sensibilities of Russians, who received the run-around from militarily slick Finnish forces in the short-lived Winter War of 1939-40. Finns take pride in the sacrifices their people made in the 1940s and some see the period as being fundamental to the formation of the modern Finnish national character.

As Stalin received a bloody nose at the hands of Finnish forces, it might have been politic for me to steer both Vladimir and Donald away from the Helsinki museum devoted to the life of Carl Gustav Mannerheim, the Finns’ celebrated military leader of the war years. Both Trump and Putin are not slow to voice their opinions, and a visit to the Mannerheim Museum might have riled the latter, and even led to a stirring-up of old Cold War enmities between the pair.

So perhaps we’d have simply strolled the streets of Helsinki, or spent time shopping or eating salmon dishes at the shoreline market place. Given the innumerable visitors that congregate there both presidents might have expressed a fear of pickpockets. I could have countered their concerns with a mention of the Reader’s Digest experiment of a few years ago in which the magazine’s staff planted ‘lost’ wallets around cities worldwide to see how many might be returned to their ‘owners’. Helsinki came out top of the honesty stakes.

All this, of course, is a ‘might have been’. My time in Finland predated theirs by twelve months, and Presidents Trump and Putin missed out on spending time with me in Helsinki. But gentlemen, don’t despair. The Honest Tribe: Travels in Finland is available now, so reach for your wallets. If you’re in Finland, at your summit, as you read this, they’re likely to be safe and sound in your pockets.

This guest post was written by Max Boyle.

book cover image: The Honest Tribe by Max Boyle

Top 5 places to visit in Gothenburg and Sweden’s West Coast

2018-05-14

Gothenburg is a lively city on Sweden’s West Coast that has a long and colorful history from the Middle Ages. Today, it is one of the major cities of Scandinavia where business and multiple cultures meet. The location of the city on the west coast (the second most popular vacation destination of Swedes) makes Gothenburg a wonderful holiday destination for all travelers.

The travel guide Gothenburg and Sweden’s West Coast covers all the essential destinations, sights, attractions, activities and places in the region. Here is an edited extraction from the guidebook: the top 5 places to visit.

Old Town, Gothenburg

Gothenburg, Sweden. A canal in the old town, city center.
The old city center of Gothenburg is known as Inom Vallgraven among local people (literally, Inside the Moat). The region is also known as Innerstaden (Inner City). The old town is surrounded by man-made canals. Gothenburg is not far from the North Sea, but the principal source of water for the canals is the Göta river, which flows from the north through the city to the sea.

In 1621, Gothenburg was granted city rights. The city center was fortified in order to protect the community from outside attacks. The canals were built, as well as protective walls (that don’t exist anymore).

Inom Vallgraven is best explored by foot. It is not a huge area. The maximum dimensions are about 1 kilometer / 0.6 miles and 500 meters / 0.3 miles. Walking along the narrow streets of this lively and busy place (especially during the weekends) is something that both locals and visitors love to do.

Haga, Gothenburg

Haga, Gothenburg, Sweden. A major city in Scandinavia.
Haga is a pretty neighborhood in Gothenburg that looks like a place for artists and hipsters, but in fact, ordinary families live in the area. It is located south of the city center.

From a tourist perspective, the main street of Haga is Nygatan. A stroll along Nygatan is like walking on the main street of a small town a few hundred years ago. Wooden buildings, streets made of stone, workspaces of craftsmen, bakeries, cafes and small shops create an idyllic atmosphere.

In the 17th century, Gothenburg expanded outside the city walls. One of the first suburbs was Haga. It was a neighborhood where the working class (such as people working in the harbor) used to live.

Slottsskogen, Gothenburg

A semi-wild deer in Slottskogen, Gothenburg, Sweden. One of Europe's best parks.
Slottsskogen (Castle Forest) is a large green recreation area about 2.5 kilometers / 1.5 miles away from the city center. It is a park, but there is also plenty of forest, a small zoo, a playground for children, a popular picnic destination and a place to see wildlife.

Slottsskogen was established in the middle ages, when the land belonged to the Älvsborg castle. The land was used for deer hunting and grazing. In 1874, the county governor opened Slottsskogen to the public. From the beginning, lawns, ponds, and paths through the woods and the zoo were the key elements of the park.

The trees and the plants in the park are mostly of local origins, but some additional species have also been planted. For example, Azaleadalen (Azalea Valley) is a beautiful display of different types of azaleas. There is a forest of linden, beech, oak and maple trees where it is possible to spot a wild deer or two.

It may sound funny, but the park is so large that it is quite easy to get lost in Slottsskogen. There are signs at crossroads, but first time visitors may want to take a map along or use a GPS navigator on the phone just in case.

Marstrand and Carlstens Fästning

Marstrand and Carlsten Fortress on the West Coast archipelago in Sweden.
Marstrand is a tidy and lovely village about a 40-minute drive northwest of Gothenburg. Carlstens Fästning (Carlsten’s Fortress) is an ancient fortress that has provided protection for the Swedish fleet and for villagers.

The construction of Carlstens fortress began in the mid-17th century. The fortress protected the Swedish fleet that was stationed in Marstrand, and also the village’s busy commercial activities. The fortress has had its current structure since 1860, which means it was under construction for 200 years. In addition to soldiers, prisoners have lived in the fortress.

It is possible to drive to Marstrand village, but the island where the fortress stands is only accessible by ferry. Part of the village, hotels and restaurants are located on the island.

The fortress web page provides information on the hours when it is open.

Bohus Fästning, Kungälv

Bohus Fortress, Gothenburg, Kungälv, Sweden.
Bohus Fästning is a fortress where many battles have been won and lost during its 700-year existence. It is located on a hill in the Göta river valley at a point where the river splits into two separate streams. Bohus is 20 kilometers / 12 miles north from Gothenburg.

Visitors have to walk up to the top of the hill to explore the fortress, but the exercise is worth every step. The views to the valley where the river flows are magnificent.

During the Medieval times, Swedes, Norwegians and Danes used to fight over the region, and the fortress changed hands (from Norway to Sweden to Denmark and back again) many times during a period of 500 years.

The fortress web page has information on hours when it is open.

The travel guide to Gothenburg and the west coast region of Sweden is available, for instance, at these bookstores:
Apple iBooks – layout designed for the iPad.
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.de
Barnes&Noble
Google Play Books
Kobo

A toolkit for writers for better manuscripts using an open review

2018-05-07

Experienced authors want the best editors and reviewers to work on their manuscripts. The work of these professionals is valuable for improving the content. How does an independent author who may work alone, and doesn’t have a big budget get help like established authors? An author has created an online feedback toolkit that he already has used for his own book.
Open Review Toolkit screen shot by Salganik
Matthew J. Salganik, a professor of sociology at Princeton University, started writing a book Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age when he realized he should actually do what he was writing about. The book is about new possibilities the digital world opens for researchers.

He created a web site where he posted his manuscript that he was working on for anyone to see. Not only that, he also integrated a tool, hypothes.is, that allowed anyone to annotate his manuscript. All visitors could see both the manuscript and the annotations.

When Salganik believed he had enough public feedback and closed the comments, he had received 495 annotations from 31 people. That’s pretty good, and probably means that he has spread the word to his contacts that they should visit his review site and contribute their feedback.

Salganik regards the annotations extremely helpful that allowed him to improve his manuscript. The author sees the annotations as complementary elements to his work, which is different to results of an average peer review. He says the feedback was focused on helping him write the book that he wanted to write, and didn’t lead to major changes. The annotations were often focused on improving specific sentences.

In addition to the feedback itself, Salganik’s web site collected statistics that reveal interesting things about the process.

Most feedback was given by a handful of reviewers. Although the author managed to get comments from a good number of people, most of them left a comment only.
The reviewers were most active early in the process, right after the author opened the manuscript for review.
The review process motivated the author to carry on writing the book.
The author could collect an email address list of people who visited the review site.
After the review was closed, the author realized he should have integrated an automatic page visit analysis to the system. He would have been able to get statistics on the sections that were the most and least read.

Salganik has published the toolkit he used for his review process as an open source software package at Open Review Toolkit. Technical skills are required to setup a working online review system for a manuscript.

Other systems, often based on Wiki software have also been used for developing a manuscript in public, and accepting feedback during the process. Not all people find Wiki-based systems user-friendly, so perhaps a dedicated toolkit for reviews can help authors.

Author walked 500 miles across Scotland for finding true love stories for a book

2018-02-22

Writers spend most of their time thinking of their work and tapping a keyboard, but that is not all they do. Many writers are more than happy to venture out to the big world for research trips and to talk to people who perhaps know something that is required to complete a planned book manuscript. An author decided to hike 800 kilometers / 500 miles across Scotland in order to discover real life love stories for his book.

Scotland scenery, a castle on a small island
Matt Hopwood hiked five weeks along Scotland’s west coast and on the islands along the coast. His route went through the Borders, along the Central Belt to Oban, across the Western Isles from Barra to the Isle of Lewis. He was on a mission to collect true stories for his manuscript that was published as a book in early 2018 A Human Love Story: Journeys To The Heart. The Sunday Post has published samples of short stories extracted from the book.

Walking as a way of finding inspiration or discovering people who can provide information for a book is an old and tried method.

In the early 19th century, a young doctor Elias Lönnrot decided that he wanted to collect ancient stories from the border district of Finland and Russia. He walked from village to village for years, and managed to put together an epic saga, Kalevala. You may have never heard of it, but J.R.R. Tolkien did, and got inspiration for his saga the Lord of the Rings.

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven was known for his long walks in the woods near Vienna. He took inspiration from those moments. The sixth symphony has so many elements related to nature, life on a farm, and countryside villages that he must have been affected by the walks.

Then, there are artists who write or make films about walking. Keith Foskett, who likes to do long hiking trips, has written many books about those adventures. Also film makers have recently documented long walks. For instance, As It Happens is a true story of two hikers who trekked the entire Pacific Crest Trail. Do More with Less is a film with interviews of people who like to make long hikes.

In Tokyo, book lovers can sleep in a hostel that is designed like a library

2018-02-15

Boutique hotels with design interiors and unique rooms are becoming popular, perhaps as an alternative to global hotel chains. An example is a hotel in Portugal with a vast selection of books, and now, even hostels are adopting the trend. In Tokyo, Japan, a hostel lets you sleep on a bookshelf – literally.

Book and Bed hostel in Tokyo, Japan
Book and Bed hostel in Tokyo opened in 2015. The concept is simple: a massive bookshelf accommodates both the available books and the beds where guests sleep. Sofas and coffee tables in an open space invite people who may want to socialize with fellow book readers.
hostel for book lovers in Tokyo
There are no rooms for guests, but they sleep in capsules located in the bookshelf. A bed, safe, electrical outlet and a reading lamp help travelers to rest in their wooden pods. Two sizes of capsules are available: 120cm x 200cm, and 80cm × 200cm. Claustrophobic tourists will stay away from these beds, but travelers who love books and want to stay a night in a cozy, low-priced hostel in expensive Tokyo, Book and Bed is a choice worth considering.

The concept has already been so successful that owners are opening their fifth hostel in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo in the mid-2018.
hostel where guests sleep in a bookshelf, Tokyo, Japan
The price for a night is about $50. The book selection consists of 5000 titles with a few English books as well. If you want to buy a book for a souvenir, you have to find Shibuya Publishing & Booksellers bookstore, because the hostel doesn’t sell them. The bookstore curates the book selection for Book and Bed hostels.

Free Wi-Fi, showers, bathrooms, basic toiletries, and rentable towels are available for guests as well.

All the photographs by Book and Bed. They have been taken in more than one location.

Book and Bed hostel in Tokyo, sleeping pod
Book and Bed hostel, Tokyo, sofas and coffee tables
sleeping in a capsule in a bookshelf in Tokyo hostel

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

Tips for Helsinki visitors when the Nordic weather doesn’t show its best sides

2017-11-13

Finland’s capital Helsinki is the city where the biggest celebrations during the country’s 100th independence year take place. All kinds of events have been organized through the year, and the 6th December 2017 is the big day. November and December happen to be the darkest months in terms of daylight in Helsinki, but the travel guide The Best of Helsinki shows many places to visit and things to do even then (not to mention at other times of the year).

Fish market at Market Square in Helsinki, Finland.

Fish market at the Market Square in Helsinki, Finland.

The feedback from readers of The Best of Helsinki is indicating that the chapter with information on local favorites – destinations, activities, events – things that residents of Helsinki like to do is a popular section of the book. Other well received feature is the visual information in photos and maps.

If you decide to venture to Helsinki in November or December, here are my top tips:
Best of Helsinki, travel guide, book cover image

Daylight hours are from 10 am to 3 pm, but it is enough to see the city center around the Senate Square.
If you are staying for more than a couple of days, consider visiting the old town of Porvoo (Borgå in Swedish), only 50 km from Helsinki.
If the weather is too nasty, and staying indoors is the best option, Ateneum art museum, Heureka science center, or Forum shopping mall can save the day.
If the weather allows – it is not too windy, cold or rainy – take a ferry to Suomenlinna.

More information on Helsinki and Finland:
I, Helsinki
The Lighter Side of Finland
Analysis of the Finnish Tango
Lapland

Tips for making successful research work for a nonfiction book

2017-11-06

In order to write a nonfiction book manuscript, the author has to do research to make sure all the facts are correct. A motivational book on igniting a career is more about excitement than historical facts, but a book about the application of artificial intelligence in electric vehicles certainly must be based on facts. Research can be time consuming work, but it can be conducted effectively and without wasting valuable time.
man writing at office desk, stack of folders in front
Jeff Biggers, a narrative nonfiction author, has collected tips for research that he has learned during his long writing career. He has written nonfiction books, articles, radio stories and plays, and monologues. His published books include travel books, memoir, cultural and literary history, and investigative journalism. Biggers says that the research strategies he employs in one genre typically are the same for others, including fiction and poetry. Here are his tips.

Notebooks

Jeff Biggers recommends carrying a notebook (paper and pen) everywhere you go. Some writers may agree with the pen and paper strategy, while others prefer a tablet or a smartphone. The advantage of an electronic note-taking approach is that the notes can (and should) be copied to a safe storage instantly after new points have been written down.

Read

It is elemental that the author thoroughly understands the topic. Reading, listening and viewing all kinds of stories about the subject is helpful.

Interviews

Interviews of people who know something about the topic not only adds information to the research, but also adds color to the book. I couldn’t agree more. In addition, interviews can be the most fun part of the entire research project.

The scene

Movies are made of scenes, as well as many fiction books. Nonfiction book can also use the same techniques: have interesting characters, a plot and a conflict.

Folders

Jeff Biggers recommends organizing research material into folders. He uses physical folders, but the concept is the same if you use folders on your computer. Again, it is vital to backup folders to a safe place if anything terrible happens to your computer’s hard drive.

Enough research

It is likely that all nonfiction authors do more research that they can use for their books. It is inevitable. It is practically impossible to know in advance if a lead or a hint of information will lead somewhere that is valuable for the book.

I believe one of the best ways to restrict the amount of research work required for a nonfiction book is to really carefully plan its scope. And one of the best ways to quickly assess the scope is the Table of Contents of the planned book. It is even possible to show the TOC to someone else, say, an editor, agent or publisher and ask their opinion about the book’s planned scope.

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.

Nonfiction writing tips from a writer who has won the Pulitzer Prize

2017-09-18

Bret Stephens, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, recently joined The New York Times. One of his first articles for the newspaper was a collection of tips for writing news, articles and columns. Altogether, Brett Stephens shares 15 tips for writers, from which I selected 7 that apply to all nonfiction writers.

Somy DPT-RP1 ereader: reading and making notes
1. Get to the point.
Every sentence counts, and must deliver value to the reader. Some writers (and editors) believe the first sentence is the most important to hook a reader, but surely the attention span of readers is longer. Nonetheless, in order keep the reader’s attention the story and the delivery of information must move forward without slack.

2. Write to the broad community of people.
Don’t try to impress experts of your own field with industry jargon. A normal person has to easily understand what your message is. This applies to most articles and books ever published. Naturally, there are publications that target at experts of a niche, but that is another story.

3. Authority counts.
Readers have to trust the writer’s expertise on the subject he or she is writing about. Credentials help, but usually the authority has to be built with time.

4. Establish a confident voice.
Avoid passive voice in your writing, and unnecessary filler words that don’t add anything to the information you are delivering to the reader. Confident voice is not too modest and not too hyped-up, but – confident.

5. Doublecheck the facts.
It also means checking the spelling of names, verifying the dates and times.
[I would check the links at some point as well, because nonfiction articles and books usually have links to sources and more information. As an editor of nonfiction book manuscripts I have done some fact checking and the worst errors have originated from Wikipedia that some authors had used as their only source]

6. Drop all empty phrases.
It may feel that using a cliché is a shortcut to delivering a wealth of information, but more often it is an entirely empty phrase that is wasting everyone’s time.

7. Respect your editor.
Even if you are self-publishing, you should hire an editor to improve your text. If your article or book manuscript is being reviewed by the publisher’s editor, learn from it.

Tips for improving the readability and attractiveness of nonfiction books

2017-09-01

When a publisher/author states that the most important element of a plan for a nonfiction book is its table of contents, she has my attention. That’s exactly what we have been telling to Klaava.com readers in one of our most popular articles.

man holding old books in his hands
Anyway, Brooke Warner has written an article for Huffington Post where she reminds of the importance of the table of contents, and shares five valuable tips for improving the readability and attractiveness of nonfiction books.

Brooke Warner’s tips for better nonfiction writing:

– Use subheadings to break chapters into logical chunks, and to give a reader a break.
– Consider writing yourself into the book as a guide who looks after the reader.
– Insert other elements into the book besides text. Nonfiction books usually benefit from graphs, tables, fact boxes and similar layout elements that capture something essential about the discussed topic.
– Short books are fine. Yes, it perfectly all right to write a book less than 200 pages or 40 000 words.
– Don’t write in dry academic tone, but use your own voice.

A common feature in nonfiction manuscripts is long paragraphs. Time after time, the editor will break long paragraphs into two or more short paragraphs that are easier to read. This is particularly important when reading an ebook on a screen. Subheading, indents and other simple elements help as well.

Color is an important element in nonfiction books as well. Use color in charts, pictures and of course, photographs. If the book is published as a black-and-white print edition, so be it, but the ebook edition benefits greatly from colors.

We have published nonfiction ebooks about 50-100 pages long. When the reader is aware that he or she is buying a concise book focused on a specific theme, that’s a good deal for the customer when the price is right.