Hi friend, this is our first post in this blog and so before moving into anything else let me introduce ourselves. We, the futurestica crew consist of me and my friend Deekshith. We are both higher secondary students and have been blogging for more than three years by now.
So, as this post marks the beginning of our endeavours in this blog, I have written it in a way in which I can give some directions and tips to newbie bloggers alongside telling you this short story of our interesting past and the valuable lessons we learned from it. So just read along and enjoy…
It all started as a fascination about science
How we got started is a lot interesting to hear, actually it was when we were all small kids at around 13 years of age. We were very much interested about science and like every other science enthusiast we too have already started trying to understand Einstein’s Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. And then on one day I started reading Stephen Hawking’s ‘A Brief History of Time’ which gave me an insight into the idea of A Theory of Everything.
That was, say one of the things that strongly caught my attention in the world of science. It was something Einstein described as, “An equation not more than an inch long that could explain all possible phenomena in the universe”. I began to learn more about it and on my way I came across the unification of forces, the string theory, quantum gravity and much more. Finally after lots of discussions we made a (even though silly) model of the string theory that could unify all the fundamental forces of nature.
But that was not the craziest thing we did. It was this. We submitted the manuscript to nature.com hoping to get published one day. But no wonders. We got rejected at the first sight. That was no surprise for us but this blunder was in some sense a great breakthrough. We came to know more about nature magazines, nature blogs, nature podcasts and more. So when we got rejected we didn’t bother much about it but instead what we taught was to create a similar network of websites, blogs and publications.
In order to make that happen the first thing we did was this,
We created a blog on BlogSpot
This was our first own space in the internet (apart from social media accounts). In the year 2014 while studying in 9th standard I remember I and my friend Deekshith sitting in front of my computer and registering our first blog under blogspot.com. That was actually the beginning of something large. We used our blog as a place where we would share hot news about science and technology. At that time that was the only thing that we were good at. Mostly our posts were shared content from somewhere else in the internet.
At that time we never taught of writing something for ourselves. After 4 to 5 months after the beginning we had about 100 page views per day (that was actually a great achievement for an amateur). But soon we realized that news sharing alone was not enough to keep our graph going up in the blogging field. So we decided to do something different.
So I gathered the guts and skill to publish my first very own work. It was an article titled ‘Relativity And The Ideas Of Time’. It did not make much difference. Actually the result was that this post had only about half the views when compared to the other shared articles. But that was just a beginning and within a few months we became good at writing news articles like ‘Kepler confirmed 100 new exoplanets’ or ‘Curiosity clicked the first close-up picture of Mount Sharp’. But even then we were just publishing refurbished content and lacked that ability to make creative articles like other professional bloggers. But anyway what we were doing was going good.
Within a few months we realized that it’s time to get upgraded. Blogger (or BlogSpot) was actually a basic blogging platform when compared to others like WordPress or Weebly. So when our total view crossed 6,000 we did this,
Migrated our site to wordpress.com
We created a blog on wordpress.com and imported all the content from our BlogSpot blog to it. WordPress had more attractive themes and designs and also more functionality when compared to blogger. I still remember that our first theme was ’Gateway’, a really nice looking and responsive theme which was very easy to customize. Till then we had used themes like Baskerville, Dyad and Edin. Amoung then I would suggest Edin as the best for beginners on wordpress.com with the second best being Gateway.
I published my first course series in this blog. It was a 1 week series consisting of three posts titled ‘A Beginner’s Guide To Backyard Astronomy’. It was actually some of my best works at that time. By then we realized that we have achieved an average perfection in our blogging and now it was time to get to the next item in our bucket list, a magazine.
At first what we had in our mind was a print magazine but soon we realized that getting it to the press is a bit difficult and costly task. We have just started learning things and we don’t know what sort of impact our publications would make. So in such a situation we finally decided to choose the much easier and almost costless alternative, a digital magazine.
Soon I created some sample designs on my PC using the Microsoft Office Publisher (it is a great tool for beginners when compared to the much complex Adobe InDesign). It was on the month of December 2015, we had planned to release our first issue on the New Year’s Eve. All went as planned and we had our first issue available for download in our website on the 1st of January 2016. But that magazine did not gave the expected results and moreover there was just two of us to maintain the blog, the magazine, social media pages and also all the other offline works.
Things did not go according to the plan and finally we had to abandon the idea of having a monthly magazine. But it was not the end, we taught of doing something easier than a magazine and it was when we came across the idea of newsletters and mail lists.
Started a mail list with Mailchimp
Before starting our blog I have read many guides on blogging by great bloggers and writers like Jeff Goins, Michael Hyatt, Darren Rowse and others. They all frequently mention the importance of having a mail list but I have never taught about it seriously until now. I had previously used FeedBurner on my BlogSpot blog. What it did was just send a mail to the subscribers every time a new post is published. That was not enough I needed a tool by which I can sent custom campaigns. So I went on searching…
Finally from the resources page of Jeff Goins’ goinswriter.com I came across MailChimp. It is undoubtedly the best mailing tool for beginners. You can create and manage multiple mail lists and sent custom campaigns which can be designed according to your wish (they have a great customizer!!!), create subscriber forms as a webpage, popup on your site, an html that can be embedded anywhere or you can even integrate it with your facebook page and moreover it’s all completely free if you have less than 2,000 subscribers. Luckily at that time I had only a handful of them!
As time passed our expertise on writing, designing and other fields grew and finally we decided to go back to something were unable to completely fulfill, the magazine. “Sometimes you may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
Started Transcendence magazine
This was our second try on having a monthly magazine. First we wanted it to be very different and very developed from our previous one. So we decided to give it a different name and that’s when the name Transcendence (meaning: the state of excelling or surpassing or going beyond usual limits) came into our mind.
I went back to Microsoft Office Publisher. The developments in my designing skills made by one year of experience were clearly visible right from the first sample I created. This time we were sure not to quit this no matter what.
When the first issue was released we had just more than 50 downloads but gradually it increased. As of now the magazine has finished five months and still successfully running. It was a great success for us and we started see a future in the blogging and publishing industry. We started to do some serious works,
Self-hosted our website on Bluehost and started working on our first book
The success of the Transcendence Magazine boosted a great level of confidence in us. We decided to take blogging in a serious sense, as the first step we shifted from futurestica.wordpress.com to futurestica.com which was self hosted with Bluehost. This is the first post in our new domain J.
We have also started working on our first book, ‘The Worlds Unknown’. It is a book regarding the search for life inside the solar system. It takes you on a journey to the most mysterious moons and planets of the solar system like Europa and Titan to make you understand the complex workings of these interesting worlds where life might find a way. We hope to get it to the stores by next month so stay tuned…
Finally, thanks a lot for sparing your precious time to read this short past of ours. I believe that every creative will have a very interesting past filled with struggles in trying to make your voice heard in this noisy world and of valuable lessons learned from it. Do you have something similar? Then feel free to share it in the comments below, we would always like to keep the discussion moving and if you liked our story then please share it ( ) because as of what I have learned till now, blogging is a two way conversation. There are no writers without readers and no readers without writers.