Using Slack to Ghostwrite a Book: A Case Study

Add a few apps and make the flexible collaboration hub is ideal for this type of project.

Introduction

For the last eight months Slack has dominated my mind. Ever since signing the contract to write Slack For Dummies, I have been feverishly writing and editing, with the occasional blog post and book trailer thrown in. Of course, I am still teaching my courses and communicating with my students via Slack.

As I write in the book, how people use Slack in one context is anything but standard. In my case, the way in which I use Slack with my students differs a great deal from how I am using it to ghostwrite a book. In this post, I’ll focus on three essential Slack apps: Google Drive, Zoom, and Trello.

Ghostwriting a book involves a great deal of back and forth.

To be sure, native Slack is ideal for the simple exchange of group messages and more targeted ones via channels. Still, Slack’s impressive array of integrations allows for far more than that.

Google Drive

Ghostwriting a book involves a great deal of back and forth. Without proper version control, things may will quickly spiral out of control. To this end, Google Drive is a no-brainer.

Still, foolish are the souls who want constant comments flooding their inboxes. Deactivating comments altogether runs this risk of missing key updates. What to do?

Enter Google Drive. When my client responds to one of my queries or makes a suggestion, Slack dutifully notifies me. If I need to take a break,1 I just enter Slack’s DND mode. Brass tacks: Slack and Google drive allow me to concurrently stay informed and keep my sanity.

Zoom

Sure, you can share your screen in Slack if you’re on a premium plan. Back in July of 2019, however, Slack announced that it was dropping the feature that let you take control of someone’s screenโ€”or vice versa. At times over the course of a ghostwriting project, this feature is essential. Zoom here is a godsend.

Trello

I’ve been railing against Gantt charts ever since my consulting days. In their stead, Kanban boards provide far greater visibility into the status of any projectโ€”and ghostwriting is no exception to this rule.

I created a Trello team and set up swim lanes to track the status of each chapter. For example, I can easily see which chapters I’ve started and which are in author review. Jared from Silicon Valley would be proud (NSFW).

I can’t imagine using private Slack channels to do such a thing. Trello users will yawn at what I just wrote. Big deal, right? Trello isn’t exactly new to the scene.

The beauty lies in stitching Trello together with Slack. Again, this isn’t hard to do with the Trello app. I filter Trello notifications into a separate #trello channel.

Simon Says: Slack apps minimize administrative nightmares on ghostwriting.

Ghost writing a book is both rewarding and a tremendous amount of work. Slack and useful a few apps make the process far more manageable.

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Footnotes

  1. Gangster Slack tip: /status Off the grid ๐Ÿ›‘.

philanimated

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