It started out as an attempt to experiment with content writing on LinkedIn and quickly developed into a 200-page book. And it is almost finished and ready for publication ahead of schedule.
To celebrate my 20 years in Croatia last month, I decided to write a series called 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years on LinkedIn, a platform I had only ever used to post links on TCN.
The reaction was quite incredible. More than 500 likes on LinkedIn (and over 700 on Facebook) for the first article, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years: 1. Business and Dalmatia.
But the more incredible reaction was my red-hot inbox. SO many people contacted me – diaspora looking to return to the Homeland but struggling to find information; diaspora wanting help getting citizenship; people looking to buy real estate in Croatia or to invest; foreigners moving to Croatia in search of information; expats and locals appreciating the story and wanting to share theirs, and Croatian companies with international staff who were trying to find information tools to help their foreign employees acclimatize.
It did not take long for me to realize that there was a niche in the market that could be filled with a book. And when, after the 7th article in the series – 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years: 7. Safety – a Croatian business executive in Amsterdam messaged me on LinkedIn to ask if there was a chance I could turn this into a book. She explained that her company had opened an office in Zagreb and she was desperately looking for a book that could explain the mystery of this flawed but beautiful land to incoming foreigners, as well as some practical advice for survival, in a language that they could understand.
“If I do it, how many copies will you buy?” I asked.
“At least 40, one for each foreign colleague,” came the reply.
And then I saw it.
Rimac, Infobip, and many other Croatian companies are now importing quality skilled labor from abroad. There is a growing trend of foreign labor moving to Croatia. Suddenly I realized that here was an opportunity to do something more than a book on my musings over the last 20 years, but to create the (updatable) bible for foreigners coming to this land. A selection of well-written observations on many aspects of daily life here, but also a very practical guide on how to move to Croatia and cope with the daily grind. I could probably have done it on my own with a little effort, but why bother when you have…
TCN Editor Lauren Simmonds has dedicated much of the last 5 years to producing excellent guides on residency and citizenship on TCN, as well as helping countless people in the expat forums. Lauren is also one of the few people who can explain how to open a bank account and make it sound fun. I was delighted when she agreed to write the bulk of the second half of the book – even more delighted when I read the content. Beyond superb.
So what is in the book, how much will it cost, when will it be available, and where to buy it?
Let’s start with the contents:
Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners
by Paul Bradbury and Lauren Simmonds
Croatia, perfect for a 2-week holiday, but a nightmare for a 12-month living? Or is it?
Meet Paul, who has survived 20 years in Croatia and is loving life more than ever, with an honest appraisal of the good, the bad, and the ugly of full-time living in Croatia. And Lauren, who is going to equip you with all the tools you need to beat the bureaucracy and get the best out of this flawed but magnificent country? As more and more people discover remote work and Croatia, your safe, authentic lifestyle destination, Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners is a loving and practical insight into the realities of life here.
Part 1 – 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years
1. 13 Years Full-Time Living on a Dalmatian Island
2. Dalmatia and Business
3. The Olive Harvest
4. Croatian Wine
5. Business Meetings and Café Culture
6. Raising Children
8. Bureaucracy and Mindset
9. Croatian Language and J*beni Dialects
10. Dalmatian Wikipedia, The Bench
11. Moving Vegetables
12. Three Stages of Learning for Foreigners in Croatia: Love, Hate & Nirvana
13. Running a News Portal
14. Dealing with Online Trolls
17. Getting Sued by a Croatian State Institution
18. The Mighty State of Uhljebistan
19. Croatian Food & Drink
20. Reflections on 20 Years and Embracing Croatia 2.0
Part 2 – A Practical Guide to Living in Croatia
1. Arrival in Croatia
2. Emergency Services
3. National Holidays
4. Getting around on the ground, at sea, and in the air
5. Driving in Croatia
6. Snakes, sharks, and Croatia’s big three
7. Pets – Laws, strays, dog beaches, and Dalmatians
9. How to obtain Croatian citizenship
10. Residence Procedures
11. How to get an OIB
12. Opening a Croatian bank account
13. Health insurance
14. Finding an apartment
15. Working – How do I do it legally?
16. Finding a job
18. International schools and kindergartens
19. Learning Croatian
20. Meeting people, expat groups, homesickness, and more
21. Buying property
22. Comparison is the thief of joy
So where will Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners, be available?
It will be available online on Amazon, both as a paperback and also on Kindle.
We are in the process of finalizing agreements with several major bookstores and souvenir shops all over Croatia.
When will Croatia, a Survival Kit for Foreigners, be available?
The book will be available online on Amazon in both printed and Kindle form next month.
It is planned for the book to be in the shops in Croatia also next month, but there are things beyond our control on this, so we will keep you posted. But in plenty of time for Christmas for sure.
How much will the book cost?
We are still finalizing pricing, but as a guide, it will be in the region of:
Amazon paperback – US$18 and other currency equivalents.
Amazon Kindle – US$11 and other currency equivalents
In bookstores in Croatia – 119 kuna
Or buy on the 7-city Book Signing Tour
We are really thrilled with both the level of interest and pre-sales, but also the willingness of Croatian bookstores to stock the book. Discussions are ongoing, but Paul plans to do a 7-city book signing tour (Lauren and Nik Titanik – who did the cover – will join on the Zagreb event) before Christmas to the following cities in partnership with local bookstores:
Varazdin, Zagreb, Split, Zadar, Rijeka, Osijek and Vukovar.
We will create Facebook events for these, as well as announce them through TCN and social media channels. Paul will also present his Vukovar Card concept in Osijek and Vukovar.
These book signings will be about an hour in the store, followed by ‘Pints with Bradders’ in a nearby hostelry, where you can also buy the book. There will be a 10% discount or free drink for purchases on the night.
Are you a Croatian business interested in a bespoke and branded edition?
The pre-order of 40 copies from the Croatian lady in Amsterdam showed that there was perhaps a market for bespoke and branded editions of the book. After reaching out to some companies and getting a positive response, we have decided to offer this option.
With a minimum order of 100 copies, but also available in 200, 500, and 1000 copies, the bespoke edition would include a chapter on the company (written by the company), as well as a welcome message from the CEO. The company brand will appear on the cover, and there is the additional option of Nik Titanik incorporating symbols of the company into the caricature. A great addition to the welcome back for new employees or a Christmas gift to friends, family, and business partners.
Lauren and I are truly grateful for all the phenomenal interest in the book so far, and we are confident that we will deliver a product to match your trust. Thank you!
If you would like to pre-order Croatia a Survival Kit for Foreigners (we are trying to get an idea of how many to print), please email [email protected] Subject 20 years TCN
If you are interested in discussing a corporate branded edition, please email [email protected] Subject 20 Years Corporate.