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If you are like most people, then you probably don't back up your computer nearly as much as you should. When it comes to your cookbook, it's time to actually start doing proper backups. It would be a devastating feeling to have months of work lost because you couldn't spare the few minutes it requires to back up your files.
In general, we recommend that you do a full system backup of all your important files. Bloggers and authors accumulate photographs, unpublished blog posts, business and accounting files, contact lists, email archives and many more important files. Ensuring that these files will not be lost is critically important. There are many ways to backup your computer, and they are outside the scope of this course, but PC World has a good guide for PCs and for the Mac you can use Time Machine or other solutions.
In addition to full system backups, there are several tools and methods we recommend using to help manage your files. We use both full system backups and these individual tools to fully manage both our backups and our work flow.
Dropbox is a cloud-based backup service that you install on your computer. It then replicates your files online. You can choose the files specific files backs up or do the majority of your computer. You can also access old versions of documents, in case you need text you had deleted from your cookbook, and it can restore deleted documents. We use Dropbox to backup the majority of our computers.
For more information on setting up Dropbox you can view this guide for the Mac and this guide for pcs. This is a helpful guide on automatically backing up your "My Documents" on your pc or "Documents" folder on your Mac.
Another way we manage our book writing work flow is by creating backup documents before major rewrites or changes. If we are working in the file "Baking-Book.doc" we may end up with multiple files such as:
We always work in the base "Baking-Book.doc" file then before we undertake a major rewrite or change we will just save a copy with the file name appended with "Pre-" and the name of the change. This allows us to freely change the file, knowing that if we need something as it was before, we can easily find it in the old file and copy and paste it to the new one.
Make sure you always keep a copy of your files off site. This can be through something as simple as Dropbox or even just mailing the file to yourself or a Gmail account. If you back up your files on a USB drive or external hard drive, make sure you take a copy somewhere away from your house in case of fire.