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Thinking of writing a book about your camino?

Discussion in 'Pilgrim Books' started by sillydoll, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. Stephen Marriott

    Stephen Marriott New Member

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    Hi Lovely Peregrinos and fellow authors,

    I hadn't realised that so many of us have felt compelled to share our Camino experiences in printed and electronic word! It further reinforces the magical benefits of that journey. I still don't fully understand such gifts and the energy of that road, but collecting our thoughts and experiences in words naturally helps improve our understanding. And such words, can no doubt inspire would be pilgrims who are uncertain about embarking on the road to Santiago. So we should continue to keep journals, blog and publish books. I now realise the advice I received in 2012 about going for a 'long walk' is the best advice I've ever received!

    I hadn't even envisaged that a book would come out of that journey and I was walking the Camino for completely different reasons: I was trying to come to terms with a life that dramatically changed beyond my control. In fact three stories came out of my five week walk: my outer experience, an inner healing process and the novella: Candyfloss Guitar.

    We are so lucky to live in the modern world of self-publishing. For those who are thinking of going this route please don't be put off by KDP Kindle publishing, CreateSpace, SmashWords, Nook etc. I was initially daunted (I'm not a technical person) but my experience of using KDP and Createspace couldn't have been better - they're just processes that are broken down into steps and the result is a rewarding journey!

    To learn more why not join me at my book launch party of 2nd March, 6.30pm at Camino in Blackfriars, London....
    RSVP via Facebook Events or take a look at my blog for further info: Stevescribble.com

    Thank you!
     
    Alison Chandler likes this.
  2. sillydoll

    sillydoll Veteran Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
    When I first posted about writing your Camino story I was suffering from 'Camino-Frances-pilgrim-stories-indigestion'!
    If I picked up a book that started with Day 1: St Jean to Orisson (or Roncesvalles) I had to put it down!!

    But, I love reading Camino stories and in the hopes of finding gems, I started reading a few again. Of the last 5 I've read (of course all on the Camino Frances) one was so beautifully written that I wished I could write like her! If I could, I would also write my Camino story. I'm not advertising for the author (whom I don't know personally) but I'm sure you will all want to know the title of the book so I'll share it with you.

    The Way Is a River of Stars A Buddhist’s Journey Through Northern Spain on the Camino Pilgrim Route, by Helen Burns. (Kindle only)

    Raised a Catholic, the author adopted the Buddhist way of life as an adult and her beautiful, lyrical story shows an almost Merton-like assimilation of Buddhism and Christian religion with no conflict in her beliefs and philosophies.

    The others? Well, one has had a few hundred reviews which is amazing, but I think sometimes you can share too much information with your readers and when the author described a problem with constipation and the subsequent affects ....... I stopped reading!
     
    Alison Chandler and SYates like this.
  3. Robo

    Robo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Location:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    CF SJPdP to SdC
    (May 2015)
    Alone.
    ------------------------------
    CF Sarria to SdC
    (May 2016)
    with my wife Pat.
    ------------------------------
    CF SJPDP-SdC
    (Apr/May 2018)
    together again :-)
    What a great thread you started sillydoll. With some very sound advice....

    I hope I don't end up adding to the pile of 'sameness'.

    Actually I wasn't really thinking of a book, but now you've got me thinking about it. Oh No :eek:

    I've written 5 books so far (published) but they are all business books. Though I wrote two of them as Novels having enjoyed 'The Goal' by Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt. Not exactly Best Sellers, but I wrote them to add credibility to my business activities more than anything else. They mainly sell online now as eBooks.

    I'm also an avid Videographer. Again, with mainly a business focus. I make informational videos, that I publish on my blogs. I enjoy videoing so much I tend to make videos as a bit of a diary process. Although on one occasion in Vietnam on Holiday I remarked to our tour guide that the video on his website was awful and would he like a new one? He was such a nice guy we wanted to help him out. (Of course I had my video gear with me) So we shot a promotional 'interview' from the top of the ex CIA building made famous in the News at the time. The one where the Helicopter landed on the roof. He was delighted with it! And it was fun to make. Took all of 10 minutes....

    Sorry I'm getting off topic a bit.

    But my intention was to create, (as I normally do on interesting trips) a bit of a video record of my Camino. You've made me realise of course, that if anyone other than family/friends are to find it interesting, I'll need to take a different tack....

    When we shoot professional videos at work (training videos for sale etc), we hire in a professional. A great guy. I mentioned to him recently that I would probably make a video of my Camino....... He asked me some simple questions......

    1. Who will be the expected audience.
    2. What 'angle' will you take, to make it different to all the other Camino videos?
    Obvious questions of course! That I really hadn't thought about very much up till then :(

    I have a few ideas forming. In fact I might spin off a number of short videos from the materials I gather along the way, depending on what happens and what I experience. One might be for family, another version for 'life lessons' gained. But more thought required still.

    Sorry about the ramble.....

    But lastly, I'll share some of the 'secrets' of getting books produced quickly and at a high quality level. At least that I have been taught over the years. I notice there were a few writers and budding writers contributing to this thread. This might help.

    1. You don't have to write it yourself! Shock/horror! Many books you see in the book stores are Ghost Written. For one of mine I gave a ghost writer all of the background material and we discussed the content, flow, etc. And then he wrote it. It was all my materials, my ideas, he just did the actual writing.
    2. The most important part of any book is ..... The Title. It engages the potential reader / buyer. Cover design goes along with this.
    3. The second most important part is the back cover. Summary of contents, key messages etc. Write this before you even start on the content.
    4. In planning the book, start with rough chapter outlines and the main thrust of each chapter, before you get into detail.
    5. Enlist professional help. I always use A Proof Reader, An Editor, A Cover Designer, A Typesetter (they lay out the file ready for printing) The Typesetter can generally also provide different file formats for you. For printing, ipad, kindle etc.
    6. Where do you find all this professional help, at a fairly low cost? Simple. eLance.com Total cost probably under $1,000.

    So if you have some great material to share, it doesn't need to take 10 years to produce your book. I did one in 6 weeks. That process was faster because I dictated it, sent it to be transcribed and edited.......never hit a PC keyboard key.

    Hopefully some of these tips (trade secrets) might be of benefit to someone.

    Again, apologies for rambling and straying off topic but I thought the background context for the tips might help.
     
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  4. sillydoll

    sillydoll Veteran Member

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    2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
    Thank you for sharing Robo - wonderful tips - especially to get a proof reader and a copy editor!
    My tips for pilgrims who want to turn their Camino journal or diary into a reasonably acceptable book are:
    Create a STYLE sheet first:
    A Style sheet helps you to be consistent throughout the book with consistent use of km or miles, kg or pounds, centuries and decades, numbers or numerals, fonts and sizes of fonts, capitalising compass points, names of rivers and mountains etc)
    Grammar, adjectives (one manuscript I read had the word 'very' 1079 times) geography, spelling, historical fact and so forth.
     
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  5. Davidum

    Davidum New Member

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    Alison Chandler likes this.
  6. carol ann

    carol ann New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    walked frances 2011 = 220miles
    walked frances 2012 = 500miles
    walked norte 2013 = 200 miles
    walked Portuguese 2013 = 200miles
    this year may plan to walk section of frances again
    I hope davidum if you read mine you won't find it boring.....
    Yes a camino is a walk for hundreds of thousands but each step we take is a private journey.
    My journey was a tribute for my dad my words a memory of a great man.
    I was lucky... A publisher approached me & now it's selling in 34 shops .... I've had fantastic comments from as far as Russia to cork about my book ....But even if no one read it I have a book that my new grandchild will someday read about his 'great-papa'
    Buen camino :)
     

    Attached Files:

  7. rometimed

    rometimed Active Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    SJPdP: May/June 2015; English Route Nov 2015; Lycian Way Oct 2015; Coast to Coast Aug/Sep 2015; West Highland Way July 2015; Hadrians Wall June 2015; Westweg Jul/Aug 2015..... ..... .... ... .. . SJPdP May/June 2020; A Coruna 2020... ... .. . SJPdP May/June 2025... .. . SJPdP May/June 2030... .. . SJPdP May/June 2035... .. .
    I am by no means a writer but what I am finding is that there's very few audio-books about tales on the Camino, only the most famous authors seem to have books available on Audible (Shirley Maclaine, Paulo Coelho, etc).

    I was thinking I might just make a long podcast on my journeys this summer as I am doing a number of hikes, the Camino being the start. Might start with with my busted ankle last October, training, then stumbling into a big vacation. Mix in a bunch of millennial angst and run with it.
     
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  8. p3nny

    p3nny Member

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    September (2013), June (2015)
    "The road to Santiago is paved with pages." ~Thomas Swick quoted in a 2010 PhD thesis by Andrea Hesp titled Writing the Camino: First-Person Narratives of the Camino de Santiago, 1985-2009.
    An appropriate quotation for this thread, don't you think? :)
    Love it!

    ~Penny
     
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  9. BobM

    BobM Veteran Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances (SJPDP - Santiago); Via Podensis (Le Puy en Velay - SJPDP); Via Francigena (Canterbury - Rome); Via Portugues (Tui - Santiago); Via Francigena del Sud (Rome - Bari).
    To Do Via Egnatia (Durres - Thessaloniki); INT & Jerusalem Trail (Tel Aviv - Jerusalem)
    Well, I am up to four books on Amazon now. Here a few tips I have picked up on the journey.

    Don't just focus on writing an eBook for Kindle. You can publish a print version on Amazon's CreateSpace (CS) as well. It forces you to pay more attention to formatting and layout, which helps with the eBook version. Once you have your print version done on CreateSpace, you can easily export it to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for the eBook, BUT you must update the content layout (mainly re pictures) so it will display well as an eBook. It is very easy to do. The other thing is that if you offer your book in both eBook and print versions it makes you look a bit more professional.

    The other thing is to get noticed amid the millions of books on Amazon. I enrol my books in Kindle Select, which generates quite a few extra readers. I don't get paid for those reads directly, but I share in the total pool of Kindle Select money put up by Amazon. I also find that KDP price promotions are quite good at generating extra buys. But, never offer your book for free, as some advise as a way to generate readers. If your book is not worth asking 99 cents for, it is not worth reading.

    KDP and CS offer free cover design. It is adequate for beginner writers, but the available designs are not that great. The cover is a very important sales generator, but unless I start to sell over 50 books a month, It is not worth the expense of paying for a custom cover design.

    I would urge anyone to give book writing a try! The hardest thing is to make a start and travel the steep learning curve. But both CS and KDP have excellent user forums (fora?) that were incredibly helpful when I had a problem.

    BobM
     
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  10. NJ McKay

    NJ McKay New Member

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    September/October 20--??
    Hey! Great discussion. I'm still in the planning stages of my camino and had original thought of writing my experiences down as a book. But it was mentioned multiple times and what I realized is that there are a lot of books already depicting other personal experiences along the Way. I may still write my experiences on my blog, but I've decided to go down the fictional road.

    I've already have an ongoing character who is a psychic and it'll be interesting to place her along the Way. Interact with past spirits or even see visions of past pilgrims/events along the way. Actually… as i'm thinking about it - a story is coming to mind. Blending the past with the present may be more of a challenge but it'll be something different I hope.
     
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  11. CarolLin

    CarolLin I believe in miracles <3 <3

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    1st time
    What a great thread of discussions. I just finished my first Camino. I walked from Salamanca to Santiago.

    A major publisher in Taiwan has published two of my books so far. I would like to write and publish a book which highlight as many Camino experiences as possible. So, the style would be like "Chicken Soup for the Soul" .

    I am sure together, we can reach more hearts and souls who yarn for something more fulfilling in their life. May I invite you to share your most memorable experience with me and the lucky readers ?

    Why did you do it ?
    What are the major gifts and/or revelations you received from your Camino experience?
    What is your advice to the lucky readers of this book ? ;-)

    Thank you.
    Carol
    You can email me your thoughts if you prefer.
     
  12. sharon w

    sharon w Active Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances 2007
    Camino Portugues 2009
    Via Podiensis, Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre 2012
    Cammino di Assisi 2014
    Via Podiensis, Camino del Norte, Camino Frances(Astorga to Santiago) 2015
    Aussie Camino 2016
    Have just read 3 woeful Camino books. Will not be spending money on any more- only guide books in the future.
     
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  13. susanawee

    susanawee Active Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances....May/June (2013)
    St Jean to Pamploma - April 2014
    Walking the Camino Salvado in Perth Western Australia in September 2014
    Can you please share the titles of these books ....I, for one, would be interested in learning whether or not I have read them as well or, if I think that they may be worth a look....:)
    Can you please tell me the title and where can I buy it....
     
  14. Margaret Butterworth

    Margaret Butterworth Active Member

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    2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
    2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
    2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
    2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
    Would any of the writers care to reveal how much money they had received as a result of their labours?
     
  15. sharon w

    sharon w Active Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances 2007
    Camino Portugues 2009
    Via Podiensis, Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre 2012
    Cammino di Assisi 2014
    Via Podiensis, Camino del Norte, Camino Frances(Astorga to Santiago) 2015
    Aussie Camino 2016
    Well, one of the writers is on this forum so won't disclose the name of the book. The other two were: "Two Steps Forward" - supposedly a comedy about two people walking from Cluny. It is fictional and woeful.
    "Boots to Bliss" - about walking from Vezelay. It is supposed to be non fiction, but in my opinion is more like fiction!
    All three were by Australian authors.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  16. HedaP

    HedaP Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I’ve just finished reading ‘Two Steps Forward’. I read the whole lot mostly because it reminded me of my teenage years when I read everything I could lay my hands on. It is just like an old school Mills and Boon or maybe a Georgette Heyer. I had to read to the end to get to the happy ending! Contrived is the word that comes to mind but it was about two routes that I would like to walk, the Le Puy and the Norte.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
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  17. sharon w

    sharon w Active Member

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    Camino Portugues 2009
    Via Podiensis, Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre 2012
    Cammino di Assisi 2014
    Via Podiensis, Camino del Norte, Camino Frances(Astorga to Santiago) 2015
    Aussie Camino 2016
    Well I have walked both the Le Puy and Norte routes and I feel that the book could have been set anywhere as none of the places are really represented in the book. Even though it is fictional, the fact that the man had to pay an enormous amount for his credential and the woman nothing, annoyed me. As if this would happen.
     
  18. omar504

    omar504 Veteran Member

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    Why do people think yet another camino book is necessary or even wanted?...I got up early,I walked,I got blisters,I queued up for a bed..etc etc etc etc
     
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  19. sharon w

    sharon w Active Member

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    Camino Portugues 2009
    Via Podiensis, Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre 2012
    Cammino di Assisi 2014
    Via Podiensis, Camino del Norte, Camino Frances(Astorga to Santiago) 2015
    Aussie Camino 2016
    Agree omar504. Better to sit and read your diary if you write one. Just read a book about the Camino. Won't mention the name. However, it took me 5 minutes to read. My friend bought it and we were both disgusted by the fact this person even thought the book was worth selling. It even has a lie in it where it says the mist cleared and the person was standing on the edge of a steep cliff on the way over the Pyrenees. I never walked on the edge of a steep cliff whilst crossing the Pyrenees!
     
  20. WldWil

    WldWil Active Member Donating Member

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    2016 Fromista - The other half
    Interesting thread. I am almost finished with my Camino story. I love to tell stores and have a big benefit of building a website for an editor and publisher. Thus it will hopefully be that much better presented.

    The why is a bit like the walk. It certainly isn't for the money or to just talk, but to share a story hopefully well told.
     

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