I’ve been using some free software for converting my books into the format required to publish them on Amazon Kindle. It’s called Sigil and it’s very good. I wrote an article about it on HubPages and there was a ton of interest so I thought I’d go into a bit more detail about what I use to write.
The Software I Use For Writing
Sigil is great but it isn’t terribly easy to understand at first. Take a look at my article on HubPages if you are interested in finding out more. Then, if you decide to go ahead, check out my friend Tom Oberbichler’s free tutorial on how to use Sigil.
For basic writing I use Word. Any version. It’s great. I don’t think we appreciate how good Word is sometimes! It has a built-in word count, excellent spellchecker, good find & replace, wonderful Styles and very good facility to make a table of contents.
For general writing, Word is just fine.
That said, I also use Scrivener, which is a super-duper writing program. My first copy came with a computer magazine, free. I was so pleased with it that I paid a little to upgrade it to the lastest version. It is very different to Word, it doesn’t look like a word processor at all.
It’s best feature is the Corkboard. It actually looks like a corkboard and you get to stick virtual index cards to it. It helps you organise your thoughts and you can drag the cards around to change their order.
It is available for Mac & Windows. I have both versions – that’s how much I love it!
You don’t have to have Scrivener to write – I managed for years with just Word – but if you are making money from your writing and intend to earn more, Scrivener is one of those investments you won’t regret.
I’d also recommend Scrivener to wannabe writers. I haven’t used anything else like it that can motivate me the way Scrivener does. To see a novel coming together is wonderful and it looks so great on Scrivener.
There is a feature where you can set yourself daily wordcount tasks. As you write, a progress bar shows you how you’re doing. It’s wonderful, you feel like giving yourself a pat on the back when the bar hits green!
For making notes on-the-go, I use Evernote, Simplenote and the in-built notes that come with the iPhone. On my iPad (an old one, got a great deal!) I will actually write while out and about. I took my car for a service the other day and had an hour and a half wait for it. I was so glad I had thought to take my iPad with me. I got the best part of a short story written, so I was very pleased.
I use an Office app, which I then upload to Dropbox so the documents are available on my computer. Dropbox is one of the best things I ever signed up for. It is cloud storage, so whatever you save to it is available on every device that you install it on. It’s completely free unless you want a huge storage space, and even then it isn’t expensive. It has saved my bacon numerous times – especially when I was teaching, as sometimes a memory stick would fail, but I could log onto Dropbox and download my presentation or notes or whatever. Super useful.
The Software I’d Like
Kindle Ritual is on my wishlist. It was only released last month and I haven’t had time to try it out so haven’t bought it yet. I like the fact that it comes with a WordPress theme and an ebook cover creator. It also has a load of video training included.
I don’t like the fact that I can’t find any independent reviews on it. The publishers are selling it via Clickbank. Clickbank is a reputable affiliate marketing site, which means that lots of people sign up to resell things on there. So you get hundreds of blogs and minisites all over the place promoting one particular product. In this case, Kindle Ritual.
That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You don’t get thousands of people buying rubbish products – the bad reviews would soon hit the net and people would be warned off. So all the affiliate marketers realise they are onto a good thing if they are promoting it, they obviously think it’s a winner.
It would be nice to read some completely independant, unbiased reviews of it though.