Publishing with Evernote: Blogs, Books, and More
Evernote is certainly a powerful platform for managing the content that modern knowledge workers create. But did you know it can also be the publishing platform for the content you create? Learn how Evernote Business Certified Consultants Stacey Harmon and Kristi Willis use Evernote to publish the Get Untethered Blog. And, learn how you can publish a book directly from Evernote in this #GetUntethered video replay.
Original Air Date: December 2014
[3:59] Distraction-Free Writing in Evernote
[5:35] Social Sharing Feature
[8:12] Public Links
[12:50] Evernote powered blogging platform, Postach.io
[16:45] How Postach.io works
[Stacey] Welcome to this holiday edition of the Get Untethered hangouts. I am Stacey Harmon, and I’m here with my co-author of Untethered with Evernote Kristi Willis. This topic is very near and dear to our hearts, as it showcases just how powerful Evernote can be.
[Kristi] We’re going to talk about publishing and writing with Evernote. We want to talk about some core skills first. In the latest web version of Evernote, they have really embraced the idea of distraction free writing. I love the new web version. It is a way to not have my notebook list showing, my note list showing, it’s great for quick writing with no distractions. This really helps people get past writer’s block. Such a clean environment.
As a writer, I use Evernote for everything. I collect my research here, I draft in Evernote… but I also use Evernote’s social sharing feature. You can use this to publish from Evernote to social channels. You can take a post that you wrote without it having to be fancy on a website and post it to LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. It uses a public link, so anyone with the link can view it. You don’t even have to have a blog. I do that with a restaurant list since people are always asking about my favorite restaurants! I can share that easily through social sites. You can also do that with Evernote Food. I do that often when I don’t want to take the time to write a blog post, but I want to share an experience. It’s my “quick trip” tool. I do this a lot at farmer’s markets and food festivals so I can do it quickly without creating a formal blog post.
[Stacey] Our theme here is getting our content out into the world. They make it native in Evernote to do that. You can always use public links in other ways; I no longer give printed handouts at presentations. Instead, I create a note, copy a public link, and share it with my attendees. Those public links are also “browser agnostic” as I like to say, and anyone can access that. Also, what’s great about public links is that I can go back to the source note, modify, sync, and all of my attendees will have live updates.
I also would like to mention that I certainly draft blog posts in Evernote. After the post is drafted, I use a templatized format for back end settings on Squarespace, our website provider, then we copy and paste the blog post into Squarespace and follow the formatting options listed in the template.
[Kristi] I just remembered that I have a recipe in IFTTT that causes any published article on my blog to also be saved into Evernote. Not only do I have the draft in Evernote, but also the final post. That leaves Evernote as my back-up.
[Stacey] Now we’re going to show you how to blog directly from Evernote. This uses a partner integration with Postach.io. So my personal site is Squarespace, Kristi uses WordPress, and GetUntethered is actually published with Postach.io. It is a website based on an Evernote notebook. It’s super simple, brilliant, and if you’re not blogging now as an Evernote user, there’s no excuse not to start after this demo.
If you look on the blog right now, you’ll see a live blog post. This next screenshot shows the note that the blog post was published from. The header is the same, the images are the same, and it has pulled directly from Evernote to the site. The way Postach.io does this, is as soon as you create an account with them, they create a notebook in your account. Each of the notes in that notebook is either a post or a page. Using tags, we’re able to designate whether the notes are active on the site. Postach.io also supports multiple authors, markdown syntax and URL redirects. It also allows you to auto-share your posts onto social media.
The process to getting a Postach.io published is as follows: create an account on the site, a new notebook will be created in your account, then you create a note in the notebook, tag it with “published” to post a blog post, or you can create a navigation page using the tag “page.” Using the “share” tag will share them to your social channels. Sync… then voila! Your site is live!
To create a new site: go to Postach.io, give your site a name, connect a notebook, be sure to authorize your Evernote account, then you’ll be able to edit your new blog. You can give it a subdomain here, or other advanced options like rerouting your domain names, etc. There are other settings to configure, like how many posts per page. On this screen also, you can choose logos and header images as well. On the sharing page, you can connect your social accounts. You can also change themes. Their themes are great; one great thing about Evernote is their beautiful design. Postach.io also has some great themes. Then there is a source code element as well for people who can tweak the technology.
The great thing about Postach.io, there is no excuse not to blog! This shows how I can use the Web Clipper in conjunction with Postach.io. If I want to clip this item to my wish-list, I can tell it to send this to my Postach.io notebook, add the tag “published,” save it (or sync) and it will be live on my site right away!
[Kristi] I talk to people all the time who are interested in starting a blog. They might be intimidated, though, about the technical process. Postach.io though, allows me to take a picture, tag it as published, and then have it on the blog immediately. It is that easy to get that content up. There is nothing holding you back! Tumblr is pretty easy, but this might be even easier.
Like any blogging platform, there are challenges. Stacey, what would you say the lessons learned have been with Postach.io and Evernote?
[Stacey] Well, you want to keep it simple. It’s not a complex formatting platform. Keep your images resized before putting them in there… the more simplistic you can communicate your ideas, the more powerfult hey can be. Don’t expect the platform to do as much formatting.
[Kristi] Resizing the images is great. Also, putting the images in a table gives you a bit more uniformity. Make sure your images are sized correctly.
[Stacey] New question: how easy is it to create a link from GoDaddy to my blog?
[Kristi] I think he has paid for a dedicated domain name, and you would do that here in the details section.
[Stacey] They will walk you through the process. That could be a simple redirect at GoDaddy. They will help you get through that on the phone or with their support documents. Part of it will be in Postach.io and part of it in GoDaddy. It’s a one time, techy set-up.
[Kristi] The second question from Paul is interested in how you deal with two Postach.io sites, Stacey?
[Stacey] You can always add a new site, which creates a new notebook in Evernote.
[Kristi] One place to go, but two notebooks in Evernote.
[Stacey] I have two Postach.io notebooks, one for GetUntethered, one for my wish list.
[Kristi] I mentioned in a previous hangout, one book isn’t enough. I started a new book on my food side. Lillian and I are working on a cookbook. We’re self-publishing, so I was looking for a way to do that… and about that time, Evernote announced a partnership with FastPencil! FastPencil is an online self publishing house that also offers editing help as well. I don’t know everything about the app yet, but I will do my best to walk you through it.
Even if you don’t use FastPencil to publish, Evernote is a great platform to help draft your book. We’re using it to plan, develop, edit/revise, share, organize, and publish! We have created different kinds of notebooks based on whom we’re sharing them with.
Using FastPencil, you can publish print versions and e-book versions as well. The basic DIY version is $249, which is a pretty good price based on what you can get with the service. Once you’ve created an account, you start a new project. There’s lots of support available here, as well. It will ask you if you want to upload or write/design/publish here. I clicked the top option, gave my book a name, and then down at the bottom you pick how you want to import it. You can import from a blog or from Evernote. Each note is treated like a chapter in the book. Each note is separate, and then we can combine them. Right now, FastPencil only works with personal notebooks.
You can also only select a few notes instead of all notebooks. There is a limit to how many notes you can import, but I hope you don’t ever have that many chapters to your book! Very straightforward process. Once it’s in FastPencil, you can do all of the editing, adding graphics, formatting, etc. It’s a really easy interface to be able to pull in notes while still using the distraction free interface that is Evernote. When I’m ready, I can pull the work in. I don’t have to use Adobe InDesign or be a graphic designer. The interface is pretty straightforward, it looks a lot like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. I wish we would have known about this for Untethered with Evernote!
Our process for that was drafting in Evernote, then pulling it into Adobe InDesign to be formatted… much more complicated! Jorge has a great question: can I use this to publish instruction manuals? Absolutely!
[Stacey] Regarding that, if you put an image in a note, it will pull that in, right?
[Kristi] Yes! You might want to double-check the sizing, again, but yes. I don’t know how many languages FastPencil supports. Good question. FastPencil does have some pre-designed templates that you might want to use instead of making those yourself.
[Stacey] This is such an exciting opportunity! It eliminates those hours you spent in InDesign.
[Kristi] You will still have some formatting to do, but it is much more like a word processor rather than a graphic design tool. Like I said, this is a new tool, so look out for a blog post with lessons learned after we finish the book! There is a lot of support here though for first time authors. It’s also available for free Evernote users as well. When you pay for FastPencil, it takes care of your ISBN and all of that stuff. It also creates multiple versions of your book (print and e-book). Part of their platform is to help you publish it to multiple sites as well including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, etc.