Saturday, April 1, 2023

The long road of writing a book.

Publishing a book is a journey on a rocky path that involves several stages, from writing and pre-editing to editing, formatting, selecting the right cover, and marketing. While the process can be daunting, knowing what to expect at each stage can help ease the stress and make the journey more enjoyable. Let’s go through all the different steps involved in publishing a book.


The first step in publishing a book is writing it. This is the part where you put your ideas on paper and create a draft of your novel. It is important to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your book, such as the theme, genre, and target audience. This is probably the fun and pleasant part, as you don’t care about the style, typos, or plot holes. Here you just listen to your characters and follow their lead. 


Now, here is where you start crying. Once you have a draft of your book, the next step is to pre-edit it. I suggest leaving your manuscript aside for one or two weeks before starting this process. This involves reviewing your manuscript to check for inconsistencies or plot holes. What during the phase of writing seemed great now sounds ridiculous. You will feel like your novel is nothing but rubbish, and the imposter syndrome will strike. In this phase, keep calm and see how you can improve it. So you delete, add, change, and polish. Only after this phase, when you no longer think you have failed in writing a good novel, you can ask friends or beta readers to give you feedback on your book.


After pre-editing, the next step is to edit your book. This involves checking for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and typos. This is crucial, and you need to hire a professional editor to look at it and give suggestions on how to improve the plot, characterization, style, and much more. This brings to a new level of depression, but even in this case, remember that everything can be fixed, and by polishing your novel, you will have a jewel in your hands.


Once your book is edited, the next step is formatting it. This involves choosing the right font, spacing, and layout for your book. You can either do the formatting yourself or hire a professional formatter.

Choosing the right cover

The cover of your book is the first thing that readers will see. Therefore, choosing the right cover that will grab their attention and entice them to read your book is important. I strongly suggest hiring a professional. This is a critical step; your book cover should align with your audience’s expectations. Good knowledge of your genre is a must and requires a lot of research. This doesn’t stop at the first book because the trends are evolving, and your cover should develop accordingly. 


The final step in publishing a book is marketing it. This involves creating a marketing plan and promoting your book through various channels such as social media, book signings, and interviews. It is important to have a marketing strategy to ensure your book reaches its target audience. This is also a very important step, and as a self-published author, you must do a lot of research. Some research tools are available for free, while others need to be purchased. There are several platforms where to market your book, but the most successful are offered by Amazon ads and Facebook.

During your career, you will be approached by thousands of people who are ready to take your money for five minutes of visibility. Don’t rush; join one of the many writer’s communities to ask their opinion whenever you get offers. You will find more precious information this way than by spending money uselessly.

In conclusion, publishing a book is lengthy, steep, and draining. By knowing what to expect at each stage, you can make this journey more enjoyable and successful. I hope you have enjoyed this blog. Take care and stay tuned.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

One week in Erbil

 It finally happened, and it's official. My wanderings will resume as they used before.

We decided to resume precisely from where we interrupted two years ago: the trip to Iraq. The original program was quite different, including not just Iraqi Kurdistan but the whole country and also Egypt. 

So let's start with some information about Kurdistan. It is a geo-cultural territory in western Asia, where the Kurds represent most of the population. The borders are roughly defined, and although the Kurds have constantly asked to have their territory also politically and internationally recognized, it never happened. 

The boundaries stretch into four regions: Southeastern Turkey (Northern Kurdistan), Northern Iraq (Southern Kurdistan), northwestern Iran (Eastern Kurdistan), and northern Syria (Western Kurdistan).

That said, let's dig into Erbil, the capital of Southern Kurdistan. Getting the visa is as easy as possible and can be purchased at the airport before passport control. That was a relief because we arrived at destination after a roughly ten hours flight via Doha from Helsinki at 03:20 in the morning. All we wanted was to reach the hotel and sleep for as long as needed.
The first thing I noticed coming out of the airport was crickets singing. That meant something I thought was lost for the next six months: Summer.

The following day started, the quest to discover the city. Not knowing whether I was supposed to even wear a scarf in Kurdistan, I brought one with me. However, I kept it first on my shoulders, then on my hand, and for the rest of the day and holiday, as a decoration for my camera bag :-).

The lifestyle is easy, the people are friendly, and I've felt far safer than in many other holiday destinations. Not to mention the food is an experience impossible to forget. However, it takes a bit of time to discover the places where you can have more food choices than kebabs. 

The first two days, we practically lived off Kebab, but the crispness on the outer part of the meat and the juiciness of the inside made me forget the existence of other food.

The heart of the city is the  Erbil Citadel, locally called Qelat. It is a tell or occupied mound and the historical city center of Erbil. It has been inscribed on the World Heritage List since 21 June 2014.

The earliest evidence for the occupation of the citadel mound dates to the 5th millennium BC and possibly earlier.

The citadel is nowadays uninhabited, and it's going under reconstruction to bring back the old shine that characterized it in the far past. For this reason, many of the areas weren't accessible, but it was enough to appreciate its beauty.
From the southern gate, you can enjoy the view of the main square and the Bazaar on the right side.

The Bazaar is the center of social life in Erbil. There beats its very heart in a vibrancy of colors, scents, and tastes; you find everything you need and even more for your everyday life, from food to house appliances to house decor, name it.
And that's why we lost ourselves in its endless alleys, first discovering it all, then searching for something to bring home.
After a long day of walking, we ended up at a cafeteria on the Citadel with a stunning view of the main square.

The city isn't located within any natural attraction, but the presence of the many parks offers the soul a place to rest and enjoy beauty.

Yet, also the chance to remember what is the most essential things in life at the memorial Sami Abdulrahman park:

The dustiness of the semi-desertic environment isn't something that really disturbs you. When the evening comes, after extremely long walks that will bring you to discover new corners of this fascinating and vibrant city, you will sit on a terrace, at a bar in the crowded food streets, or in a cafeteria surrounded by quiet and harmony.
There, sipping tea, you will find yourself indulging in one of the most spectacular events in nature: the Sunset!
For the moment, that's all, and remember to keep yourself safe and entertained!

Stay tuned,

The Wandering Writer

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Some news from the Wandering Writer


Yes, I can finally say that from this year on, my wandering can resume!

And isn't this just wonderful? I have been waiting for this moment for more than two years. First, the pandemic that closed all the borders, then the problems connected with the pandemic, which was a stagnation of the general economy. As if this wasn't enough, there had been health issues and (last but not least) the war in Ukraine.

Now it's time, and I'm ready to hit the road at any cost. If you have followed my previous travels, you can imagine I'm not going to head toward a typical tourist destination. Yet, it will be one of the most interesting for its history, political situation, and heritage.

I'm talking about Iraqi Kurdistan, and I'm going to visit the city of Erbil.

So, here is short info about the place I'm going to visit:

Kurdistan isn't a geographically or politically defined country. However, its population keeps fighting to be recognized as such and obtain the status of a political nation with defined boundaries and autonomous government.

It's mostly a geo-cultural territory stretching between southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq, northwest Iran, and northern Syria.

Iraqi Kurdistan, in particular, obtained autonomous status in 1970 with an agreement with the Iraqi government, which was also reconfirmed in 2005 as the Autonomous Kurdistan Region. 

As a population, the Kurds have an indo-iranian origin, and their own language derived from the Iranian is known as Kurdish. Their culture has been shaped by the combination of different ancient heritages, and like the language, it is closest to the Iranian.

Kurdish weaving is renowned worldwide, so I expect to return home with rugs to change the ones that have deteriorated with use and time.

For the rest, I expect to return home with a deeper knowledge of these proud and interesting people.

The departure time is set for the 15th of next month, so a little more than one month, and I am already super excited, as I know this will bring inspiration for my writings.

My only hope is that for the period I'll be visiting, I won't be trapped within the crossed fire of any terrorist organization.

So stay tuned because the wandering writer is back!

Take care!

Friday, January 7, 2022

A tale of a cursed novel

It all started in 2020 when I finally finished the first draft of my novel in September. My editor announced to be off work for some time due to family problems. For this reason, I searched for another editor to help me with the developmental part of the novel.

The job of a developmental editor isn't something you can improvise. It requires time, communication with the author, and qualifications. 

Driven by the good reviews, I chose one who seemed to be up for the challenge. I told them that I needed developmental editing because I felt that novel required something more than a simple copy- or line edit. I also warned them that English isn't my first language, so I also sent them a one-chapter sample to give them an idea about the work.

The contract was signed, and the novel was supposed to be ready by December, so I set up a pre-order, a blog tour, and worked on the cover art. On that occasion, I also engaged my Newsletter subscribers in a competition to win a paperback of my book. Five people won and got the communication of their winning.

The novel revolved around the stories of cursed gemstones and was set in multiple locations, New York, Moscow, Milan, related to my travel experiences.

One week before the release, the editor returned me a very angry letter full of insults about my novel, my characters, and (worse than ever) me personally. Saying that I was deeply hurt is a euphemism. Still, thanks to other fellow authors' support, I didn't let this episode discourage me.

I did cancel the pre-order, the blog tour and explained to my subscribers that they would receive their prize later due to 'technical issues.'

It was a hard bite to chew, but I decided to leave the novel on the back burner and focus on a series I had in mind for some time. 

I published two books of the series and had them translated into Italian together with one trilogy. This year, in August, I took the novel back into my hands. I read it once and twice, changing something here and there and searching for a REAL editor.

I was lucky enough to find an amazing person who helped me release the novel's full potential. Therefore, one year later, on 31.12.2021, I finally published the story, and now it's in the hands of my translator for the Italian version.

I will be forever grateful to Barbara Gerig and Elisabetta Emilia Mancini for their ability to see the hidden potential of that novel and believe in me. 

Now, I leave it up to you. If you're interested in reading a good international thriller, with shady characters and mysterious stones, you got to read Merchant of Pearls.

Here's what the readers say:

"An applause to the author who was able to give an even original cut than usual by giving a life to his characters where I immersed myself and I felt like I was with them. Lots of suspense and twists."

"A beautiful novel that fascinated me very much. full of suspense and twists. A very fluent reading that never gets boring I congratulate the author for the plot."


Find out more here:

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Kaamos-and night fell on Earth

 Kaamos is a Finnish word that describes the polar night. Literally, it would mean the time when the sun doesn't rise or set. Although the southern part of the country doesn't experience a complete lack of sunlight, it doesn't mean that we can happily call ourselves out of the depressing effects of the polar night. 

Trust me, having the sun rising at 9:30 am and setting at 2:30 pm isn't going to help the mood, especially if the sky is completely covered. Snow would undoubtedly help, but in recent years the first snow fell with a delay every year, and now it seems pretty common to have a black Christmas. 

After a short break of summer, when the first leaves start to turn yellow, the word Kaamos comes to fill your mouth with bitterness. Waking up in the morning becomes a mission impossible, a titanic battle between the clock telling it's morning and the biological clock that keeps yelling it's still night. The problem is that they are both right, so the battle won't have an easy solution.

This brings us to the reason why Finnish people are one of the heaviest coffee consumers in the world. It's a necessity, and this also brings to the fact that traditionally, Finnish coffee is pure poison. There's a reason for that too. If you enjoy your coffee, it won't be as effective to keep you awake.

However, in the last decade, we understood that bringing extra suffering to our lives, particularly during winter, won't help. Therefore we found the pleasures of good coffee, which brings in every season, from the rainy spring to the short summer, the windy fall, and the depressing winter, a reason to smile when we drink our second liter of daily coffee.

If you are lucky enough to live in a place where the length of the winter days is longer than seven hours, consider yourself lucky, and have a kind thought for us living in those places where five hours of daylight sound like a dream come true.

Have a great fall and winter,

...wherever you live on this planet.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

What have I learned?

 Life is made of learning steps. Every day we learn something new, either about ourselves, someone else, the world around us, a new skill, or anything else.

I took a pause that was, perhaps, too long from the social media world, but it was probably necessary. First of all, I could focus on my marketing strategy and create a good cooperation schedule with the translator who's in charge of translating my books in Italian. 

This pause also coincided with the second year of the pandemic that forced many of us to rethink the way we socialize, work, and do business, move around, and much more.

As for me, there has been one of the most important lessons, and that was to look closer to my life and understand what's important and what it isn't. We've lived our lives from one day to another without acknowledging how it was literally passing by, without having the time to enjoy it.

'Every cloud has a silver lining,' or at least this is what we've been taught since we were kids. If this is true, then there's something positive also in a tragedy like this pandemic, as it gave us the chance to look deeper into our lives and understand what really matters. 

I don't need to work my finger to the bones when this means that I miss the time with the people I love. There's always time for work, but we have a limited time to enjoy each other's company, and tomorrow might be too late.

Also, I had the chance to look closely around me to see the beauty just behind the corner. I also had the time to reconsider and reorganize my time, including more efforts on writing new material, researching, and find a new balance. Something had to be sacrificed, and that was my presence online on social media. 

My country never really went into a lockdown, except for the restrictions of traveling abroad and having restaurants, cinemas, and large gatherings restricted.

I have been lucky, and I hadn't been for a single day forced to work from home, although I'm not an essential worker. However, I experimented it for a month of my own will, and many people followed the same example just to test the possibility of working remotely. This remote-working offered a never hoped for flexibility, as people start to consider moving to other locations still keeping their job. Some plan to move closer to their families living away, other contemplate the possibility of moving abroad.

For a person like me, who is seeking for a milder climate, this chance is coming like a blessing. I wondered how I could have approached the discussion with my employer. My original idea was to move away and start living a simpler life in a place with a more favorable climate, but on the other hand, I was sorry to leave a job I really enjoy. Therefore this new opportunity is the one I can't let slip away.

Let's keep safe and positive... It can't rain forever.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Are we really happy?

This is a post about the myth behind the happiest country in the world: Finland.

Once again, Finland has been declared the happiest country in the world, based on the low corruption, working healthcare, the way our government dealt with COVID-19, welfare, and so on.

With 74,2% of the territory covered in forest, it's not difficult to understand that Finns are literally surrounded by nature, and the woods are the places where they find refuge. Finns are not social animals or not as much as people in other countries could be. It's a very individualistic society, which brings people to keep their distances from each other even without the risk posed by the pandemic

People in Finland do not enjoy being close to other people, particularly if they are not close family members. It wasn't any action taken by the government the reason behind the low contagion; it's because of the Finns' way of living. To be honest, our government received many criticisms for its clumsy way of dealing with the pandemic. Loneliness, darkness, long winters bring two problems every year, suicide and chronic depression. 715 people suicide yearly. In 2018, over 6000 people between the age of 16 -24  were declared unfit for work because of chronic depression (and this is not taking into account those who suffer from depression in older age). 

Their number is destined to grow.

Natality has also reached a screeching halt, people don't see life as something worth giving, and the uncertainties seem to bring people to that decision. It's not an economic problem to stop Finns from having children; it's the fear of having them dying by suicide or falling into the spiral of depression and alcoholism or drug abuse.

Now to the question, are we, the Finns, really happy? And why are we?

Happiness is a weird concept and changes meaning depending on who you ask. Finns are indeed happy because they can connect to nature around them. They know that after a long, dark winter comes the summer, and with the changes of seasons, the forest offers food for the body and the spirit, and Finns rely on that healing power, despite the statistics. They also have been taught since a young age not to complain and see the positive things in life. If you can't find them, then it's time to work harder to get them. They trust law enforcement and governmental institutions, and so far, their trust met very few disappointments. This is the reason why, when you ask a Finn: are you happy? Even if the world is collapsing, they will answer yes.

The long road of writing a book.

Publishing a book is a journey on a rocky path that involves several stages, from writing and pre-editing to editing, formatting, selecting ...