If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know the highlight of the year to this point has been the release of Get Organized Digitally!: The Educator’s Guide to Time Management. Writing a book is a large project, and seeing the successful completion is satisfying.
Is writing a book something you would like to do but you feel overwhelmed by all that’s involved? In this post, we’ll look at the important role Evernote can play for you.
It All Starts With an Idea
Ask an author about the idea that began a book. You’ll likely hear about some event that sparked the idea. And that’s the key. A book starts with an idea. The problem is ideas come at the most random times and in random places. If we’re not careful, that good idea slips away.
Create a Notebook
If you have an idea for a book, go to Evernote and create a notebook. That “book” could even be a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation. Create a note inside that notebook and pour your ideas into it. You’ll refine it later…but you can’t refine something you don’t have.
Who Will Publish It?
The space here is far too small to list possible publishing companies and names of contacts and sample pitches. All of that could be an entire book in itself. You’ll find much of that as you read relevant articles, listen to podcasts on the subject, and talk to published authors. The information is plentiful.
The question, however, is how you are going to trap that good information so you can find it when you need it. Create a note for each publisher you are considering. As you come across requirements for pitches, you’ll have a place to put that information.
As you correspond with publishers, you’ll want to save what you send to them and what they send to you. Forward that information to Evernote. With a paid Evernote account, you get an email address that allows you to forward any email and have it create a new note within Evernote.
From Ideas to Polished Prose
Nobody sits down at a blank screen and just starts writing a book, at least nobody I know. Ideas come at random times and in random places.
In the “old days,” an author might keep a good supply of index cards at hand. A new idea meant pulling out a blank card and putting that idea on it. Put the cards in order, and there’s the foundation for the book.
In Evernote, create a note for each chapter you foresee. As ideas come, open the appropriate note and add the idea. Using voice input is especially easy. Open the note on your phone, tap the microphone key on the keyboard and start talking.
What About Images?
I learned with my first book that images are created separately from the text of the book. In the finished manuscript you submit, you’ll have notations such this: <Insert Figure 5.3 about here.>
What has worked well for me is to create a PowerPoint deck for the figures and images. I create a slide for each image and inset a text block along with the image indicating the number and title of that item.
In Evernote, you can plan what figures you’ll include. Evernote even allows you to add a sketch to a note. Sketch your intentions with your finger to serve as a reminder of what you want the finished product to look like.
Put It in Order
In your notebook, you have a note for each chapter. Periodically, improve each note. Cut and paste your ideas so they start to appear in a logical order.
Now Start Writing
When each note contains a fairly detailed outline of what you want in the chapter, it’s time to write. I have always used Microsoft Word. You’ll want to create a document for each chapter. Your final submission will also be a separate document for each chapter.
Start by a copy/paste of the contents of the Evernote note into the Word document. Then, start editing and turning the ideas into sentences.
When You’re Done Writing, You’ve Just Begun
When you put the last period on the last sentence of the last page, a little voice inside says, “Done!” You’ve simply completed one part of the project. Granted, the writing is the most important part, but you’re looking at another six months to a year before you’ll hold a copy of the book in your hand.
So, What’s Next?
What comes next is lots of back-and-forth communication with your publisher. You’ll be introduced to different people. Each one helps with a part of the process.
You’ll want to keep up with the name and contact information for each person. Save email correspondence to and from these people. Evernote is the place to do that.
There’s a cover to design, and the publisher will help with that. Provide your ideas and let their designers put together some options for you to view. Save all the options in Evernote.
A professional proofreader will go through your manuscript with a fine-toothed comb. You’ll have correspondence between the two of you that you’ll save.
Light at the End of the Tunnel, or a New Tunnel?
You have a date when the book will publish. But that date doesn’t mark the “end.” Instead, it’s an important date in your marketing.
How are people going to know about your new book? The publisher is working with many authors, so you can’t assume marketing is being done for you.
Many podcasters are looking for guests. You’ll gain ideas for podcasters or people in traditional media you’ll want to contact. Start a note in Evernote where you’ll list the contact information.
When you get a commitment for someone such as a podcast host, create a new note. Add the contact information. Start listing questions you would like to be asked along with an outline of your answers. The host will likely have a few questions they ask all guests. Put those in the note and craft your answers.
Add correspondence between you and the host into the note. When the segment airs, put the URL for it in the note as well.
You Have a Story to Tell
Inside each of us is a story. Don’t allow that story to remain untold because of a long and detailed process. Writing a book doesn’t have to be that hard. Evernote gives you a way to trap the smallest details regardless of where ideas occur.
What’s your story? Create a notebook in Evernote and start a notebook and an adventure.
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