5 tools for writing nirvana

As an educator, blogger and wannabe author (Beyond the Mean) I've invested far too many hours of my life "testing" tools to make the content creation and publication process as painless as possible.
I've finally come to the realization that what I'm looking for boils down to 3 headings:
  • I want to be able to use the minimum amount of tools necessary to create my content
  • I want my content not to be tethered to one PC / Mac - that is, I want it to live and be editable via the cloud
  • I want to write in TEXT and not be overly encumbered with formatting / styling options
  • Near WYSIWYG would be nice
  • I want to use MARKDOWN when appropriate and basic HTML tags if needed
  • I want to avoid duplication and editing for different audiences
  • I want to re-purpose my content in multiple locations with zero (or near minimal) input
  • I want to be able to copy / move content from location to location with minimal input
  • I want to maintain a local (and cloud) copy of my content in an editable format
  • I want to be able to publish, unpublish, delete without any concerns
  • I want to be able surface my content where I want it, when I want it.
I want to be able to achieve all the above, whilst simultaneously creating a blog and compiling that blog into an e-book. PDF, Epub and Mobi would be nice.

How to achieve Writing Nirvana
It took me 5 tools to achieve enlightenment:
  • Content created in Evernote (PC, Mac or Online)
  • Content added to a dedicated notebook
  • Notes created for each "chapter"
  • Tagged with "published"
  • New Postach.io blog created
  • Linked to the Evernote notebook used above
  • Appropriate theme set
  • New book created via LeanPub dashboard
  • DropBox set as location of files
  • DropBox is not used directly - just as a place to store output from LeanPub
  • A new Zap is created that copies Notes from Evernote to Dropbox
  • Link the Evernote Notebook used above to the DropBox/Manuscript folder created by LeanPub
  • Enable the Zap, which runs every 15 minutes
How it works
  1. Create content in an Evernote Notebook, using notes titled Chapter1 (2, 3 etc etc)
  2. Use Markdown to indicate formatting (needed by LeanPub)
  3. Add the tag "published" to the note
  4. Sync Evernote to the cloud
  5. When the content syncs, Postach.io adds the blog interface and formats according to the Markdown
  6. When the Zap runs, it pulls the content from Evernote and creates separate files (Chapter1.txt etc) in my DropBox manuscript folder
  7. In LeanPub create a "preview" of my e-book which pulls the content from DropBox and compiles PDF, EPub and Mobi versions. (This is the only manual part of the process)

Using these 5 tools I can create content in one place (Evernote), surface a blog (Postach.io) and output e-books (LeanPub) automatically, thus achieving publishing nirvana.
At present, Zapier only triggers when a NEW note is added to a note book. So when you create a Chapter, it works fine. If you then edit the chapter, only the blog will be up to date. But fear not, there is a simple workaround.
When you edit a Chapter, you need to Copy / Paste the note back into the same notebook. This will create a new note with the same content. Delete the original note and make sure that the published tag is set. Zapier will now pick this up as a new note and trigger the process of pulling content into DropBox.

comments powered by Disqus