The Right Tools: What do I need to write a book?

I created my first successful product in just 10 days. I realized the creation process is as valuable as the product itself and I want to share it. Welcome to the Making-of The Mini-Guide for Writing a Super Complete Post in 20 Minutes.

This post is part of the new series on my blog, the Making-of The Mini-Guide! (All the chapters are here).

The Right Tools: What do I need to write a book?

To write a book you need pencil and paper. Maybe an eraser. That’s all you need. So if you have that or more, you can write a book.

I think, sometimes, we’re expected to have the best quality in our tools, since it’s our profession, since we’re using them everyday. But, I beg to differ this time, the approach I have with tools is the same I have with audience.

Work with what you have. If it’s not the best tool, but you have the tool, make the most out of it.

You shouldn’t wait to have the best tool to start working.

I must confess there were countless days where I really though my blog would be updated more often if I had a MacBook. Or that my selfies would be greater if I had a Canon. Or that my books would be sold more often if I know more about photoshop or any design program (more about this in the next chapter, I promise).

But guess what? I’ve never had a MacBook and I’m actually updating less. In fact, I had no computer for a month and I had to write from my phone, and that didn’t stop me. And it’s good.

My selfies are not greater with a Canon. I got one. A digital one. But I still took my selfies with my frontal VGA camera. And they’re not greater. And it’s good.

My books were not more sold because of their design (I know, I’m still shocked about this one). And they’re selling. And it’s good.

It is what it is. If you have something now, work with that now. If you don’t have a computer and have a typewriter, well, use that typewriter. From pencil and paper up are the right tools to write a book.

Never think that because you don’t have the tools the cool kids have, your work has less value.

Here’s the thing. When you buy a book, you’re not buying the tool it was made with. You buy the words and what those make you feel.

I had doubts about my tools at first, but then I remembered that my audience wanted to read my knowledge and wanted me to help them to save time writing. They couldn’t care less about the tools I used to write this book.

I have the same feeling about my university tools, I don’t know why sometimes I feel like if I had more recent tools or more expensive tools, my grades would be better. But when I realize what I really use in the hard work, you’ll notice none of that matters. I just need a marker to my books, a pen to draw or calculate stuff, a pencil to make tests. And that’s basically how I get a grade. No need of fancy stuff.

If a tool does the work, then so be it.

You’re not the stuff you use, your work is made of brains. Tools ONLY make it easier, but not get it done. Brains get it done.

I know you may have better tools than mine, or may have worse but done a better job. That’s because our minds work differently because of what we’ve lived, and not because of the tools. Remember, tools are made with one purpose and that purpose is for every tool. Pencils draw lines and that’s their purpose. But you may draw a square and I may draw a circle. The pencil did their work, but it was our brain doing the magic.

The tools that made it easier to create this book were: a 15″ HP laptop, a sketchbook, a Kindle Keyboard, an HP printer, a box of pens and pencils and a Canon camera.

But what created the book was my experience of living at Mexico for several years on my own, the system I created for me to write quickly while living abroad and the time my fingers needed to translate the idea in my mind to a readable text in Google Docs.

This post is part of the new series on my blog, the Making-of The Mini-Guide where I share everything I know about writing books! (If you want to read all the past chapters go here).

The Mini-Guide for Writing a Super Complete Post in 20 Minutes was created under the Small Product Lab July 2015 hosted by Gumroad. I’m forever grateful with Gumroad and Small Product Lab for those 10 days.

If you want to read the next chapter of the Making-of The Mini-Guide when is ready, join here:http://kath.pw

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Email on Mobile Devices by MailChimp

I must be the only person who waits to read her email on the computer. I know everything is mobile today. So, I know I needed the best insight to write the emails I usually send the most mobile friendly possible.

I found the Email on Mobile Devices guide on the MailChimp Resources and the time couldn’t be more perfect.

I got in the email game way after… four years after I started blogging… I had to learn how to do it and how to do it the best way possible. It’s not that emails are difficult to send. It’s that the people getting those emails were using more devices than just a computer.

My first smartphone approach occured on 2009. But I didn’t feel the smartphone boom until 2011… and I started my spanish email newsletters on 2012… I needed to learn all about email newsletters and also learn about the multiple devices getting those emails. That learning curve was kinda big… and to be honest, I’m still learning since I’m testing more platforms every day.

To give you a little heads up. I was living in Mexico when I read this guide. It seems like it’s a minor detail but it’s not. I was trying everything I could to make my blog work. But I had to tried excellently because I had no time to waste and no space to mistakes. I had to study, work and save money for the next month bills. So, reading a very specific short guide with nice hacks and detailed how-tos was priority.

This guide accomplishes that and more. It tells you what’s the best thing to send, how to be kind with your reader about their time, their sleeping hours and the colors they’ll see when they open your emails on their phone… if they opened it at all.

While I read it, I learned about the good manners in emails if you’re writing emails at night (which is my case because I’m a night owl), also about the images size if I’m embeding one and a lot of tiny details that I haven’t think of when I wanted to start just writing emails.

Like communication in small screens, industry numbers (just in case you’re still wondering if you need to take care of mobile communication), researching behaviour around mobile email, behaviours in general, best practices for mobile email, design (in a very human way, no technicalities whatsoever), the present of mobile-email research and a lot of resources if you want to dig in.

As you can imagine, I read this guide totally free in the Resources section of MailChimp.

If this was 2012, I’d tell you that you only need to read this guide if your audience is very IT but, come on, today even our dogs have smartphones. If you want to build your audience with the help of an email list, this guide is a must.

Email on Mobile Devices by MailChimp.

This guide talks about the best practices about emailing to mobile devices and what to think about writing an email. Since it’s not just writing anymore, you have to think more about some other details like designing, colors, resizing images, devices and email size (yes, this is important).

It’s important for anybody who wants to build their audience with the help of an email list to read this guide because explains about the details you haven’t think of there were important.

It’s imperative to read this guide as soon as possible because, guess what? Our world is mobile already. Most of your audience will read you through their phone and if you’re just starting out on email marketing, you might have a rough time trying to figure out for yourself all the details this guide already explains.

This guide can be read almost anywhere, since it’s a .pdf archive.

The book can be read online or you can download it to read while you’re offline.

Eventhough this guide is made by MailChimp, you’ll get a lot of insight whether or not you’re using MailChimp. This is a study they did, it shows numbers, data and conclusions about email on mobile devices and then, they turned these data into best practices. Best practices which you can use in whatever platform.

This guide is free.

If you’re planning to take your audience to the next level or just a data junkie, you’ll really love this guide.

Favorite quotes from Email on Mobile Devices by MailChimp.

  1. Even more astonishing, in the fourth quarter of 2011, more iPhones were sold than babies were born. Rumor has it that many of those babies entered the world with a mobile device in hand.
  2. The iPhone was favored by people who identified themselves as designers, communicacion managers, and small business owners. Android devices were favored by people who identified themselves as IT people or developers, and two budget-conscious participants.
  3. Most people use their phones as an alarm clock, so the common morning action is to turn off the alarm and hit the email icon.
  4. If you send newsletters in the late evening or very early morning, you might want to rethink that bright purple and yellow graphic you’ve been using as a header graphic, as that would be a jarring visual for a reader who’s just waking up or getting ready for bed.
  5. They most often forward an email to a friend with comments added. The second most common method of sharing is tweeting links in the email, or tweeting the campaign archive link to their followers. Once you click a “tweet this” button or link in an email, there are just two steps: log in to Twitter, then share the link. Twitter also makes it very clear exactly what you’re tweeting, so there’s no guess work.
  6. As always, engaging content is the most important part of your email. Spending time writing or curating content that your readers will enjoy and fostering a relationship based on trust are essential parts of any great email campaign.
  7. People are more likely to read your links, follow through on your calls to action, and visit your site if your website is built with responsive design in mind, or if your newsletter looks like it’s designed for mobile reading. In fact, 25% of the people we interviewed about mobile email mentioned responsive design.
  8. Speaking of thumb-friendly, avoid a bunch of links in close proximity, as this makes selecting the proper link frustrating on a small screen.
  9. Gmail often only loads a partial email, cutting the content off at 102KB with an option to download the rest of the email.

You can read this guide here: Email on Mobile Devices by MailChimp.

I’m sharing everything I know about books here: http://kath.pw

MailChimp for Bloggers by MailChimp

Can you imagine being used to deliver your posts through certain service and then knowing that service will shut down in a few days? That’s exactly what happened to me.

I felt anxious, most of my readers were Google Reader users. I needed to find something to deliver my content and, somehow, that led me to MailChimp.

Now that I remember, this is why I started an email newsletter.

MailChimp is a service of email marketing and almost any company who has something to say and somebody to say it to can use it.

I use it to deliver my content in a monthly basis since Google Reader was shutted down. And, as it was a new service, I thought about adding the newsletter to appeal more people and make the moving out/moving in a little bit more interesting.

But I thought about the newsletter until I knew what MailChimp could do for me. I studied first.

I visited the MailChimp Resources and read almost every guide that I thought it was perfect for me.

As I said earlier, almost anybody can use MailChimp but how can a musician can use it? How can a marketer? How can a blogger? How can a company? Eventhough we’re talking about the same platform, the approach is different. And since I’m a writer, a blogger, a content creator and all things about writing… the perfect guide for me to study was MailChimp for Bloggers.

This guide can be read for free. And it’s made for people who have a blog and want to deliver content through email. ❤

MailChimp for Bloggers by MailChimp.

The first two books about MailChimp were about why you need to have an email marketing plan and how to manage an email list. There were super general topics but now is what an email marketing platform can actually do for people who write and how to do it and what it means.

If you ask me, I think a blog cannot live for itself anymore. A blog needs an email list and social media. This is why this guide is so important. Because a blog has a better chance to survive with email and social media.

This guide talks about how to grow a blog, build an audience and a couple of tutorials every blogger needs.

It really doesn’t matter if you’ve been blogging for years or just started. I think you’ll benefit from this.

This time, you’re really lucky because this guide has been updated. Which means IT IS available in the MailChimp Resource and you can download it in more than just .pdf format. It’s available as .pdf, .mobi and .epub ❤

The edition I read talked about increasing audience engagement, build your email list, set up an RSS-To-Email campaign, customize with merge tags, work with templates, socialize your campaigns, track and report. I bet the new edition has more tips and tricks.

This guide is priceless but costs nothing.

Only read it if you’re interested in growing your blog, learn about how to deliver your content through email to your audience for their comfort and develop a relationship with your audience. ❤

Interesting quotes from MailChimp for Bloggers by MailChimp.

  1. You could send exclusive content to your mailing list, like special articles or sales. You could inform them about updates and news that may be outside the scope of your typical blog postings, or new items for sale in your online store.
  2. The bottom line is this: When people sign up to receive updates from you, they’re saying “I’m interested in what you have to say”.
  3. We think email and RSS work beautifully together, and we recommend that bloggers allow their readers to choose how they consume new content.
  4. Social media is great for networking, quick updates, and linking to articles, while email campaigns are better for delivering content and providing in-depth updates.
  5. Social. A lightweight and totally free addition to WordPress, Social handles a lot of the heavy lifting of making your blog seamlessly integrate with Facebook and Twitter. You can associate your accounts with your blog and its users, and when you publish a post, it will broadcast through those channels. Mentions, retweets, and @reply comments are then conveniently aggregated in one place.
  6. You’ll want to check out our Instagram integration. And if you are one of the many folks who “organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web”, our Pinterest integration is worth investigating.

You can read this guide here: MailChimp for Bloggers by MailChimp.

I’m sharing everything I know about writing books here: http://kath.pw

The Acceptable Audience: How many followers should I have before start creating?

I created my first successful product in just 10 days. I realized the creation process is as valuable as the product itself and I want to share it. Welcome to the Making-of The Mini-Guide for Writing a Super Complete Post in 20 Minutes.

This post is part of the new series on my blog, the Making-of The Mini-Guide! (All the chapters are here).

The Acceptable Audience: How many followers should I have before start creating?

None.

I really think you should start creating whether you have or not an audience.

That’s what I did. Yes, I had a blog and yes, I had followers but all of them were spanish followers. So, no one of them was really interested in buying an english guide to write posts quickly.

I had 3 people in my English list. And to be honest, I think those 3 email addresses were all mine because I was testing the Gumroad platform.

I sent an email letting those 3 people I’ll start creating a guide for writing quickly.

But then, I shared in Social Media the message of the creation and that’s the moment the magic happened. 6 people joined the first day I shouted out about my creation.

I know it seems very few. But I don’t see it like that at all. Those first 6 people who jumped in the very first day I announced the mini-guide became my acceptable audience. But I’m very conscious that they appeared until the moment I started creating something.

When you dance, people dance with you.

If I had waited until the next waltz, I would’ve partied alone.

I didn’t wait until having a certain number of people who I could call my acceptable audience. And certainly, I was doing nothing that attracted an acceptable audience. But the minute my creation process started, that creation attracted an acceptable audience.

Do you know what was my first thought when I saw those “+6 new followers”: Wow, I had almost no one yesterday, and now I have 9!

So, don’t wait until having an acceptable audience to start creating.

What I really think you should do is to share as soon as possible when you start creating something.

You shouldn’t wait until you have certain amount of people interested, you should share what you’re creating to be of people’s interest!

This post is part of the new series on my blog, the Making-of The Mini-Guide where I share everything I know about writing books! (If you want to read all the past chapters go here).

The Mini-Guide for Writing a Super Complete Post in 20 Minutes was created under the Small Product Lab July 2015 hosted by Gumroad. I’m forever grateful with Gumroad and Small Product Lab for those 10 days.

If you want to read the next chapter of the Making-of The Mini-Guide when is ready, join here: http://kath.pw