At the end of July Evernote and Fastpencil announced a partnership which will allow Evernote users to publish their note content to a PDF or ebook ready for distribution.
“This is an exciting partnership because it allows millions of Evernote users the opportunity to publish their work seamlessly through the FastPencil platform and push their book out in multiple formats,” – Steve Wilson, co-founder and President of FastPencil.
Fastpencil is a cloud-based publishing company which offers web-based software for formatting books and writing projects, conversion into PDF or ebook formats, and distribution channels through to Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook and Apple iBookstore.
This is the Fastpencil webpage supporting Evernote integration. It includes some information, and a signup link.
- If you do signup, read the terms and conditions which includes a 3 year exclusivity clause for partners Voyage Media in shopping for book adaptations, and reading your (presumably fiction) book.
- Fastpencil offers free signup and use of the free writing editor and conversion to ePub or PDF formats. But if you want to distribute to retailers, you will need to purchase one of the many publishing packages, ranging from $249 upwards.
- Fastpencil also offers author services for distribution, cover design etc, some at a top-range cost.
- And as with most other publishing companies, any sales of your book will provide Fastpencil –and other channels – with a cut from the selling price.
There are many options to look into once you do decide to self-publish if you decide to go either the Evernote-Fastpencil or an alternative route. Alternatives without the Evernote integration include Lulu, CreateSpace, Smashwords or Blurb, many of which offer free distribution but you’ll need to setout interiors and cover designs etc for yourself.
From the Evernote side, you simply will need to signup for Fastpencil, and import in notes or a full notebook into your Fastpencil project. From there, you will have further editing functions to produce a PDF or ebook.
The Evernote blog post on this news uses a recipe book example, which I find interesting. As a pro Evernote user, I have a huge notebook stack of recipes collected, and I share that with my family members, who both have Evernote also. There have been times when I’ve been asked as a Mum for recipes to support a school recipe book fundraiser or the like. Collecting all those recipes into Evernote, then publishing through to a sellable PDF or ebook makes a good usecase for this integration, however again, you have to consider distribution channels and costs.
What’s this mean for Writers Using Evernote?
Obviously this is a good step towards publishing your work if you’re a big Evernote writer.
I have some reservations, however, over this ease to publishing. Evernote users easily clip content from the web – it’s made for that. But if those users are after a quick method for then publishing content and making money from it, then there are potential copyright and IP original content issues that the author at Fastpencil will need to consider.
On the positive side, this integration through a publishing company may be the first indicator of a new niche for Evernote itself. From one of the press releases on this:
“Evernote is a powerful writing tool and this relationship further reinforces this,” – Chris Traganos, director of developer relations. “This integration provides writers and creatives with an effective way to publish their life’s work from Evernote with FastPencil.”
I personally don’t, as yet, consider Evernote to be a full writing system. There are no quick methods to format header styles, and add hyperlinks. Structurally, Evernote’s just not on par with organisers like Scrivener: you can’t order notes, or set them into sections other than in a notebook.
All of that will currently need to be done – and then some – within Fastpencil. Or you can do as many other Evernote users (including myself) do – and copy the note text and paste into Scrivener or similar. Scrivener allows you to convert files into all manner of ebook or PDF files for publishing yourself.
Ironically, the ability to create PDFs from Evernote notes or notebooks with the press of a button must be one of my own biggest items on my Evernote wishlist.
But the integration with Fastpencil is certainly a step towards full writer features associated with Evernote, and hopefully some indication of future developments or partnerships.
#Evernote4Writers: This post formed part of an ongoing series to blog a book, “Evernote for Writers”. The posts from this series, offering a guide to using Evernote as a writer, can be found under the tag: E4W, #Evernote4Writers,or #E4W. An index will be provided from the top menu.