August 29, 2012

Transylvania and Things About Transylvania

After a great summer, it's time to get back to the work which is this blog! Over the next few days we will be working to improve Things about Transylvania.

It's not just about Transylvania, but about what you, our readers, need. There is a lot to write about: Dracula is our more popular one, but we want to publish more about Transylvania in general.  We will write about Romania and Hungary and what is going on in Europe, with a Transylvania flavor to it.  Some things won't change.

That this blog will focus on Transylvania and the people and places in this area.

Things about Transylvania won't change, but we hope that it will evolve.  This blog has been around a long while, and it is for our readers that we want to improve this.

August 24, 2012

Transylvania, Romania and Maps and Castles

Most people say that if they ever go on a tour of Eastern Europe, one of the countries they would like to visit is Romania.  This is a good choice, since Romania has so much to offer.  It is also close to many historically significant areas of the last few centuries.

There is a part of Romania that people really ought to go and see, and that is Transylvania, Romania.  This is not only because of its historical value, but it does have some very impressive castles and other places to see.  One of those is Bran Castle, but there are so many more.

Part of the appeal is also that you can find many maps showing the history of Transylvania but also the general history of Eastern Europe.  There are also many excellent published books out there for people to read on the subject.

map of the united principalities of what would become Romania.

After 1600, Transylvania was a part of Hungary

A diverse population meant a lot of religions had Churches in the area.

Post World War I Map of Transylvania, Romania in Greater Romania

Map of Romania Post World War II

August 20, 2012

Publishing, Edits and Transylvania

I think this topic has been on my mind for some time.  Editing is important; after all, we want to put the best published book out there to see success with our writing.  This is most true with a narrowly focused subject such like publishing a book on Transylvania.

Where would we be without an audience?

If we annoy our audience or write and then publish a first draft (which is not "publishable"), then we run the risk of making our readers not want to read our books.  This is one of the reasons for editing, but it should not be the only reason.  A person with some detailed knowledge of the subject is able to point out to the writer any factual mistakes they might have made. 

Take, for example, the picture below. A writer who, in a rush, labels this as a map of Romania before the Second World War would likely lose a lot of credibility if that is published in an e-book.  However, when an editor sees the error and fixes the caption to read "Map of Romania After WWII" (as shown in the graphic) then it is not a loss.  That is why we writers need editors.

Our audience makes us, and also can break us — in this example, they likely already know a lot about Romania, Hungary and Transylvania.

This is why we have to edit, and pay for an editor or three. (I personally think two editors — one for copy editing and one for content checking.)  This is most true when we self-publish a book, otherwise no matter how "ultimate" we think our self-published book is, if it is not edited, then we have a problem.

And our audience will tell us.

We owe them a book that is well written before it is published, and this means proper edits; this means a better published book.  In the long run, our readers will thank us. We need edits to create a better published book and its reputation will then build itself.  This is true of any book, and I've seen it first-hand with In Search of the Lost Ones.

The better the edits, the more likely that the book is a better purchase for our audience, and this means a bit more money in a writer's pocket.  Paying for editing might sometimes be a hard pill to swallow, but in the end producing a better book is much more important.

August 15, 2012

Why Does Transylvania Need Count Dracula (Or Is It About Money?)

Why does one part of a large country need to be a huge attraction to get people to come and see the rest of a land that most people really ought to see?  Hundreds of books have been published about Transylvania, and most people know the general area where it is located.

Admittedly, though, they know its location because of one writer, Bram Stoker, who wrote a now famous book called Dracula.  Would people know more about this place if he had not published this book?  More than likely they wouldn't.  People aren't sure about where Transylvania is at the best of time.

In terms of money Bran Castle is one of the most popular destinations to visit in Transylvania, but why does Transylvania need Dracula? Or, better still does Dracula need Transylvania?

Because the person, or the character, makes the area money, a lot of money.  They need both to continue to survive.

Many Transylvanian cities are UNESCO heritage sites and they do attract a lot of tourists, but Bran Castle is one of the most visited places in Romania.  It is near to the city of Brasov and also close to the capital city of Romania, Bucharest, so there is a good chance that tourists form the idea that this is what the rest of Romania, and much of Transylvania is like.

But there are many parts of Transylvania that are very metropolitan and are unlike these historically focused places.  This means that while some areas have money coming in, a lot of other places do not.  There are still areas which are picturesque and ancient and have not changed in years, and these are the areas that get focused on in books.

Why does Transylvania need to have Dracula and not Vlad Tepes?  In the end, it is because he is a tourist draw.  Vlad Tepes does not make money, but because a writer who lived in Western Europe and had never set foot on Transylvanian soil wrote a novel based on a man who died centuries before.

Vald Tepes, Kings and Queen of Romanian aren't creating money for the people of Romania, but in Tranyslvania the money flows where Dracula had "lived." Bran Castle was one of the Romanian Royal Family's residence, but it creates jobs and income because of the money it earns with "Count Dracula."

The almighty dollar wins again.

August 9, 2012

Maybe Publishing a Book on Brasov Is a Good Idea

There are a lot of words left to write about Transylvania, and I am sure that focusing on one city would be very interesting, and people I am sure would enjoy reading about it.  This is a niche market, but the books on specific cities in Transylvania are few and far between.  Brasov for one is a fasinating city with a wide cast of famous, and not so famous people.

Mostly, I believe that there is an interest in both the city of Brasov and the person behind the myth of Dracula- Gothic lovers will rejoice at seeing the Black Church- a church which owes its name to the fire of 1689 which nearly destroyed the town.  In other words, given the difference in subject matter with my previous book, there is more than one market for Transylvania.  It will take a lot of writing and research to do this with care.

It was also known by the name of Kronstadt by the German population of Transylvania- this being one of their 'seven castles' in their name.  Although the Germans were the ones to originally found the city- now there is only a small population of Germans who live there, but there is a much larger Hungarian population there. The Romanians who live in Brasov are the majority with at least 90% identifying as Romanians.

There are hundreds of old places to see in this old fortress city, and much of Brasov is the way it was hundreds of years ago.  The most famous landmark, Bran Castle is close to Brasov as well, which makes it a prime tourism city.

There are so many reasons to publish books on Transylvania, (both the culture and the history of the area) and many of them are written because it caters to an audience that most authors would enjoy. The price that the writer faces is that most people don't want to spend as much money to buy a book as the author needs them to to earn a living publishing on a topic such as this.

This topic is small, but with several hundred cities to choose from this may be a small place to start as a writer who is writing about Romania, and Transylvania.

August 2, 2012

A Point of View of "Old Tranyslvania?"

I was re-reading the book Transylvania by Bowen Riley, and it struck me that I should look at to see what others have said about it.  There are three reviews on this book and, for the most part, I agree with what the reviewers said.

One reviewer makes the point - and is supported by a comment - that the images are of an older Transylvania that can still be found, and that the book, Transylvania, leaves the reader with the impression that the land is still like this. (These are the photos of Bran Castle and a small village outside of a major city.)

Yes, there is old world charm, and I would agree with anyone who suggests that there is an intentional maintenance of this charm in order to draw tourism dollars to the area.  However, I also agree that there was some careful selection of the photos that were included in this book- the author is showing the "older" world to a newer audience.

I think that it would have been best to show a bit of the newer side of Transylvania as well in this book, or at least, have a second volume planned.  This is equally as important if you are a writer who writes about Romania and its ever changing land.