How I wrote the #iPadOnly book with Michael Sliwinski

Posted on Posted in #iPadOnly, English, Working on MY iPad

When my friend (and co-author) wrote this post on friday on how we wrote the #iPadOnly book together, I decided to copy the format and tell my side of the story. Here is my post (I basically copy Michael’s format and even some text, so if you read one and then the other one you will get the contrast easier…

We just finish my first co-authored book with my friend Michael Sliwinski. It’s called “#iPadOnly – The first post-PC Book. We cover how to only use your iPad to work, play and do everything in between” and it’s going to hit virtual (and not-so-virtual) bookshelves in a little over a week. This post is a quick summary of how the book came to be, how we both wrote it (living on different continents) and some of the cool things of the process!

I begin writing about #iPadOnly on my blog

I love my iPad. It had been my main machine since 2011, and I believe it can be the main machine for many people. It is not a problem of capabilities, or performance but workflows. So I begin writing on the topic and had in my wish list to write a more formal book about it. I also was sure that the topic deserve a book, but I wasn’t ready yet, at least not by myself. I was in the process to do other projects but then I receive an email from Michael that said:

“Hello Augusto, I’m not sure if you already realize this, but we’re writing an #iPadOnly book togheter. What do you think?”

When I receive that email I tough:
– It will be cool to actually write this book
– It will be cool to work with other productive person and learn a trick or two
– This will be a really collaboration project, there is no easy way to sit in the same room
– I will be able to learn more about remote business (since my business is like that, I just don’t have Michael’s knowledge and experience, yet)

So obviously, I said yes.

We got together on FaceTime and each of us bring our best to the table; the rest, as they say, is history. Here’s how we wrote this book:

1. The communication and weekly reviews

I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana and Michael in Europe. We “met” on FaceTime and we decided to do regular, GTD-style weekly reviews together every Friday at 6 am EST (my days starts at 4:00 am, I even wrote a book about it)

Michael propose that we used Nozbe and I agreed. I have seem Nozbe from the side for years and even that my system has live on Omnifocus for many years, I was curious, so I jump in and was so surprised by the collaboration features of Nozbe. This is not my first book, I have wrote, translate and publish eight books, with six more coming out before the end of the year. Collaboration was so easy using Nozbe.

Sometimes we used Skype, mostly because there is not voice FaceTime (it will be available for some in the fall with iOS7) and iMessage when we need it a faster answer.

I am grateful of how easy was to communicate with Michael, our years of working remotely or on the go, make this part so easy.

2. We wrote in Byword using a shared folder in Dropbox

I came up with the first outline of the book, because it is how I like to write, I create an outline and then it transform itself to the actual book. Michael agreed on that approach and we decided to fill it up. Initially we tried to use Google Docs – actually Google Drive app on the iPad to write as it allows real-time collaboration… but the app is (at least on the iPad) not ready for that kind of work. Also I like to write on Black background and white font (I get less tired and can write longer), so we move to my app of choice, Byword.

After we wrote everything, it came the process of make the book a book and not a series of texts. My first language is Spanish and I also speak English. Michael first language is Polish, and he speak at least Spanish and English. So make the book in an universal language was a challenge. We did a good job, gluing it all together and then we started the long process of editing.

Since this wasn’t my first book, I knew that the easiest part was just done, writing the first draft. Editing is the hardest and longest part of a book, in my experience, I think for Michael this was a surprise.

3. Editing with Nozbe and Byword

For editing we wanted to go back to Google Docs again, to be able to edit the same files in real time… after 2 days we realized our mistake and went back to simple text files in Dropbox.

We’d set up tasks in Nozbe – if someone was editing chapter one, they’d add a task to Nozbe and comment on their progress there. Once the task was done, the chapter was “free” for the other person to dive in.

Michael learned that: “The editing part was really tough.” In my opinion it is exactly the editing that make you wish that you have written instead. We work hard until the book got a flow, and it flow well. When we began the book, I tried to explain Michael’s the Flow Well concept, but it is hard to understand (and explain) if you have never wrote a book before. During editing he got it.

After we shipped the book to Lori, the Productive! Magazine editor (She is the first native English-speaking person in the bunch so she’s doing the real heavy-lifting editing.) She is making our flow, sound in real English.

4. Having a co-author rocks

I am grateful of Michael and the fact that he co-author this book with me. I learned so much about writing, #iPadOnly, workflows and much more in the process. Agatha Christie used to say:

“I’ve always believed in writing without a collaborator, because where two people are writing the same book, each believes he gets all the worry and only half the royalties.”

I am glad to report, that at least in this case, she was wrong! I never felt that I was having the whole workload or worry, so I will be happy with half of the royalties.

We wrote a little over 50,000 words on the subject and we think you will love it and even find a trick or two. We say it’s the first ever post-PC book as it really shows you can use the iPad as your only and the main machine.

5. Writing a book is hard

Michael learned this, he was forced to wake up earlier to write. I had learned this already. After all that I have written, continue being as hard as the first one. I think, at least for me there is no hope.

Coming to you on June 27 – the first real post-PC book. The Spanish version will follow soon . We think you’ll love it. It’s full with practical advice, our experiences and the whole definition of the #iPadOnly concept and new paradigm shift we’re experiencing nowadays with the whole “mobile first” movement.

We work on our iPads. You’ll learn how we do it, how you can do it, how anyone can do it. Just have a look at the table of contents

One thought on “How I wrote the #iPadOnly book with Michael Sliwinski

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