Book Review: The Mobile Writer by Julio Ojeda-Zapata

I rarely post book reviews (by rarely I mean “have never”), but seeing as I am trying to revive my blog I decided that this would be something great to share.

Let me be clear, I am not a book nerd. I never have been, but a couple years ago I learned that I love to read. Granted, it took me a while to allow myself to admit that I was actually having fun reading a book, but once I got over that I was golden. Oh, and by a couple years ago, I really mean just over a year ago.

This review is profiling Julio Ojeda-Zapata’s The Mobile Writer, but just as a brief aside, you may be asking: what was the book that got me into reading? I am a bit ashamed to admit it, especially in mixed company, but it was Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks. There. I admitted it. It feels pretty good, until one of you decides to make fun of me for it. Anyway…

As an aspiring writer I have also come to the realization that good writers read about twice as much content as they write. Now, for a long-winded soul like me, that only means I have a ton of reading in my future. I am nowhere near reading twice as much as I write, but this book was a small step in that direction.

Julio Ojeda-Zapta is one of my favorite tech writers that many have never heard of. That is due mainly in part to the fact that he is one of the few tech writers that still writes for a print newspaper. That’s right, some people still get their technology news from dead trees. This was news to me as well (I kid, sort of). I first learned about him from Leo Laporte’s TWiT podcast where Julio has been a guest panelists several times.

Julio has written several technology books including iPad Means Business and Twitter Means Business. His latest book The Mobile Writer is currently only available on the Amazon Kindle store, but he has suggested that print and iBooks versions are coming as well. Although there is no real benefit to reading this as an e-book, I still recommend grabbing the book now from the Kindle Store. Just to clarify, by “no real benefit” I mean features like interactive content or embedded media. I actually really enjoyed reading this book on my iPad Air. Before the Air this wasn’t always the case, but with the reduced size and weight the experience is much better. Plus, this book is almost exclusively mobile-centric, as the title suggests. So it’s just a great experience reading it on a mobile device. Not to mention the e-book is much cheaper than the upcoming print version will be, I’m sure. You can download The Mobile Writer from the Kindle store for just $2.99 (hint, hint: this is a steal).

The Amazon description actually sums the book up fairly well.

Get real writing done with iPads, iPhones, Android devices, Chromebooks, and other mobile hardware (including Microsoft Surface). Learn how top journalists, authors and public-relations professionals write using an array of mobile gadgets. Get recommendations on the best mobile hardware, software (apps!), and accessories.

Julio dives deep into the ends-and-outs of the mobile writing space. That’s one of the things I love about his writing. He can be very exhaustive and informative at times, but I never got bored or overwhelmed.

I must admit, as an avid writer as well as an iPad user, I am very familiar with writing on mobile devices. I actually went into this book thinking that I wouldn’t learn anything. Although I was familiar with many of the topics covered in the book, I actually learned a thing or two.

Julio does an amazing job profiling apps for every single mobile platform that is popular today. He even makes some recommendations for writing apps under Windows and Mac which I found to be a nice surprise.

Although the app recommendations will probably prove very useful to someone new to this space, I loved the “user profiles” that are included. Most of these read like case studies of individuals that are prominent mobile writers. Julio does a fantastic job of profiling users from many different backgrounds.

My favorite user profile was of Patrick Rhone, an author and blogger. I have read several of Patrick’s pieces online before and even listened to his podcast, but I didn’t know about his interesting writing workflow. Not to spoil the book, but Patrick actually does most of his writing from an iPad or an iPhone without a keyboard. That’s right, without a keyboard. He claims that although he is a bit slower on the iOS virtual keyboard it makes him a better writer. Granted, I’m not sure I will ever be able to write a full-length article with just an iPhone, but more power to you Patrick! I still find this to be incredible.

Julio stresses that our mobile devices are some of the best writing environments imaginable and I totally agree. Although I am not going to be tossing my Mac anytime soon, I love writing on my iPad from time to time. Especially with the improvements with the new iPad Air, it’s hard not to sneak off to a coffee shop with just my iPad and my Bluetooth keyboard.

iOS is my platform of choice, but Julio covers other platforms like Android and Chromebooks in-depth.

I found this book to be an extremely quick read. I purchased it right before I came home for Christmas Break and after only two days of reading for an hour or so I finished it. This is a great book if you’re looking for some tech content to read on a road trip or even on the upcoming long weekend.

Final Verdict: 4.5 ♥s out of 5.

There was nothing not to love about this book. It’s cheap, an easy read, and very informative. If I had to pick one thing that I didn’t love it was the lack of media. Maybe I’m used to reading iBooks and other interactive books, but I would have loved some pictures to go along with the app profiles or setup pictures for the user profiles.

After all, this is a book. I’m still a kid, I guess, complaining about the lack of pictures.

For those interested, I am planning on detailing my writing workflow in a future post. Julio actually details my favorite writing app prevalently in the book.

Stay tuned for more book reviews in the future. No guarantees on timing though, I’m a very methodical reader (read: uncommitted).

Oh, by the way, I wrote this entire review on my iPad Air. Using a Bluetooth keyboard, of course.