Poll

What is the software that you use the most to write your book with?

Microsoft Word
LibreOffice/OpenOffice
Scrivener
Apple Pages
Google Docs
Markdown text editor
Other (Mobile app, transcribing, etc.)

Author Topic: Which software do you use for writing your book?  (Read 9621 times)  

Offline Al Stevens

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #125 on: March 12, 2018, 03:00:32 PM »
I bailed on Scrivener, which I'd used for several novels, after it trashed my files. When I looked into how to recover, I found a file system that is, in my opinion, fragile, poorly designed, and a train wreck waiting to happen. That was several years ago. Since Scrivener offered very little I couldn't achieve with other programs and since its compile function was less than intuitive, and less than comprehensive, I made the jump. Perhaps it's improved since then. Many people like it and have had no such problems with it.

Now FWIW I use a combination of OpenOffice Writer, Alkinea, Scribus, and Sigil.

Offline mscusse

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #126 on: March 12, 2018, 03:16:25 PM »
I use Scrivener at the moment, but that might change. It's rather confusing.

Offline Pelenor

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #127 on: March 12, 2018, 03:44:12 PM »
I'm interested in trying Vellum, however I do not have a Mac. I read that it's possible to use it with macinthecloud service and am curious if anyone has?

Offline It's A Mystery

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #128 on: March 12, 2018, 09:04:00 PM »
I'm honestly amazed more people aren't using Ulysses!

Offline Doglover

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #129 on: March 12, 2018, 11:38:38 PM »
I use Word. It's easy to format, easy to save, easy to lay out and even tells me if I've made a typing error. I never understand why anyone would want to use anything else. I'd like to try the pretty fonts in Vellum, but I don't have a Mac.

When I started this a few years ago, there was a certain faction which insisted that e-books had to be done in html. How ridiculous is that?


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Online DonovanJeremiah

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #130 on: March 13, 2018, 05:05:10 AM »
I'm honestly amazed more people aren't using Ulysses!

When they moved to a subscription model, they lost me.

I don't mind paying one time for something but I can't afford all the subscriptions these days just to write and publish.

Offline It's A Mystery

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #131 on: March 13, 2018, 05:12:11 AM »
When they moved to a subscription model, they lost me.

I don't mind paying one time for something but I can't afford all the subscriptions these days just to write and publish.

Fair enough. I find it's easily worth the $39.99 a year as it has sped up my process so much.

Online DonovanJeremiah

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #132 on: March 13, 2018, 05:14:14 AM »
Fair enough. I find it's easily worth the $39.99 a year as it has sped up my process so much.

Don't get me wrong, I loved it. Like crazy loved it. But with other subscriptions I have and need for other work, it's an expense I can't afford.

No doubt when the money frees up, I'll be back to it. It really is a wonderful little app.

Offline Doglover

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #133 on: March 13, 2018, 07:02:04 AM »
Never heard of Ulysses (well not that one, anyway). I shall look it up.


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Offline Doglover

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #134 on: March 13, 2018, 07:04:02 AM »
I see it is another for Mac, so that's probably why I've never heard of it.


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Offline Al Stevens

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #135 on: March 13, 2018, 07:33:50 AM »
When I started this a few years ago, there was a certain faction which insisted that e-books had to be done in html. How ridiculous is that?
A few years ago it wasn't ridiculous at all. It still isn't if you know how and have the tools to support it. It's a way to get the most efficient .epub.

Offline Doglover

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #136 on: March 13, 2018, 07:38:49 AM »
A few years ago it wasn't ridiculous at all. It still isn't if you know how and have the tools to support it. It's a way to get the most efficient .epub.
Nope. Show me where the end result is any different from anything else? When I started, Amazon were telling people to upload a .doc or .docx file, yet these experts were still pushing html. I suppose they thought it made them look learned.


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Offline guerin

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #137 on: March 13, 2018, 10:02:59 AM »
I use Word. I've been hearing great things about Scrivener but my intial tests with it have been disappointing. The formatting system is cryptic at best.

My biggest issue is how many different formats do I want to generate for my books. From the replies in this thread you can see people who start in Scrivener, export to Word for their editors / proofreaders, and then format with another SW tool. This gets to be a problem when you find an error in your final review and have to go back and change it. Do you change it in all the different format versions you have?

I think it really depends on what you write. I write fiction, and I can format my books for eBook conversion almost 99.99% in Word. The conversion and final layout is simple for me. I just maintain the original Word document and re-convert if needed. It takes less than a few hours.

That being said, it only took me a year to come up with a system that works for me :)

Offline Linn

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #138 on: March 13, 2018, 10:33:35 AM »
It's a way to get the most efficient .epub.

That's for sure. I write in Pages and export to epub, then edit the html from there. I absolutely love writing in Pages. Unfortunately I don't love the epubs it exports.


Offline Al Stevens

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #139 on: March 13, 2018, 10:57:33 AM »
Nope. Show me where the end result is any different from anything else?
Yep. File size, for one. Most converters bloat the CSS for tagging paragraphs and headings, some don't even use styles, coding the full rendering information on every paragraph, and some insert many needless tags--spans, for example. The whole thing can be done much more efficiently and the smaller the file, the less the publisher pays in download fees deducted from royalties.
When I started, Amazon were telling people to upload a .doc or .docx file, yet these experts were still pushing html. I suppose they thought it made them look learned.
Experts don't always share their knowledge just to impress the unwashed masses. Sometimes they just want to be helpful. And, quite often, their generosity goes unappreciated and is even denigrated. Oh, well.

Offline Stevej37334

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #140 on: March 13, 2018, 07:38:50 PM »
I use open office and save it as a word doc file so it can be uploaded. I'm sure there are easier ways, especially for paperbacks, but I've stuck with what I'm familiar with so far.
 

Offline Crenel

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #141 on: March 13, 2018, 09:40:09 PM »
Yep. File size, for one. Most converters bloat the CSS for tagging paragraphs and headings, some don't even use styles, coding the full rendering information on every paragraph, and some insert many needless tags--spans, for example. The whole thing can be done much more efficiently and the smaller the file, the less the publisher pays in download fees deducted from royalties. Experts don't always share their knowledge just to impress the unwashed masses. Sometimes they just want to be helpful. And, quite often, their generosity goes unappreciated and is even denigrated. Oh, well.

+1
You can find books by me (Stuart Whitmore) on my author web site.

Notepad++ is awesome!

Offline Doglover

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #142 on: March 14, 2018, 01:15:42 AM »
Yep. File size, for one. Most converters bloat the CSS for tagging paragraphs and headings, some don't even use styles, coding the full rendering information on every paragraph, and some insert many needless tags--spans, for example. The whole thing can be done much more efficiently and the smaller the file, the less the publisher pays in download fees deducted from royalties.Experts don't always share their knowledge just to impress the unwashed masses. Sometimes they just want to be helpful. And, quite often, their generosity goes unappreciated and is even denigrated. Oh, well.
And if it is real knowledge, as I have learned from many experienced people on this board, I am grateful, humbly grateful. I'm talking about those who rejoiced in rubbing their html knowledge in the faces of others who may be scared to death of the very mention. And it's not necessary.

If someone were to ask how to do something and the answer is helpful, it is thankfully received. If someone asks how to format and upload an e-book and is told 'it has to be done in html, no other way', how is that helpful? I built a sixty page website in CSS and html, and I have no wish to do it again.


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Offline Edward M. Grant

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Re: What software do you use to write your book?
« Reply #143 on: March 14, 2018, 10:03:24 AM »
I've been using Scrivener 5 to 7 days a week for 8 years and haven't had it corrupt a file once.

I had Scrivener blank out scenes more times than I could remember in the couple of years I was using it. I'd open the document I was editing the previous day, and the scene I had been editing suddenly had no words in it.

Which wasn't a big deal as I knew where to go to find Scrivener's .rtf file with the text and copy-and-paste it back into the program. But it's one reason I stopped using it and went back to LibreOffice.

The bug seemed to be that it stored two copies of the text (.rtf and .txt) and the two would somehow get out of sync.

Edit: oh, and I also use WPS Office on my iPad while travelling, but that always requires some munging of the files when I copy the text back to LibreOffice.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 10:07:35 AM by Edward M. Grant »

Offline Jacob Stanley

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #144 on: March 14, 2018, 10:22:43 AM »
I've started writing mainly on my new Chromebook.

The software I'm using for drafting is an online distraction-free word processor called Writer: The Internet Typewriter. It has quite a few features once you dig in, gives you a very simple interface to write in, and seems very reliable so far. For me it's a much more comfortable place to write than google docs. I create a new file every week were I dump all my writing on all projects. I keep it all jumbled together for the sake of getting a weekly word/page count tally, and I use markdown to create headings so I can easily separate the different pieces later.

I have a very confusing and messy way of putting a draft together... Hundreds of little snippets of text--some whole scenes, others just fragments of scenes. So i needed a place to store all the bits and pieces where I can organize them and move them around. Scrivener is the obvious choice for this, but I wanted to stick with my chromebook as much as possible. I tried several things and finally settled on Workflowy. It is an online service, sort of like Evernote, for creating lists inside of lists. Each individual list item can have a note attached to it, with an unlimited amount of plain text. Since I use markdown for adding italics and such in my writing, plain text works just fine for me. Workflowy is great because you can drag and drop your snippets around and reorder them in just about any way you can imagine. In that regard it's just as flexible and easy to use as Scrivener, if not more.

I also have a lot of redundancy... Everything gets backed up to Evernote, and I've also been using a Scrivener file connected to dropbox that I import my words into at the end of each week, but I'm thinking about cutting the cord on the Scrivener part. I need to find something that I can use to get project wordcounts, which is the only thing I'm lacking that Scrivener gives me. I'm looking at a few different sites and services.

The one downside to my current approach is that there's a whole lot of copying and pasting text in a bunch of different places. Right now I'm adding every snippet I draft in the Online Typewriter to Workflowy as soon as I finish writing. If I add another service for tracking project-wide word counts, that will be a second copy and paste. And then there's the weekly evernote backup, which is an additional round of copying and pasting.

Most likely I will import everything into Scrivener at the end to do my ebook compiles, because that's what I'm comfortable with, but I may stick with cloud tools for everything until the very end.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 10:37:44 AM by Jacob Stanley »

Offline Kyra Halland

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #145 on: March 14, 2018, 01:09:56 PM »
I often use Scrivener to organize scenes (and I occasionally use Liquid Story Binder, when I want to put all the research notes in one place.  LSB is so flexible that it's a little complicated and intimidating, and it isn't being updated, so I don't recommend the program).

Since I hand-code my ebooks, for that I use Notepad++.

I adored Liquid Story Binder. So much fun to use, and so flexible, and it just worked the way my mind works. But as Windows kept getting updated and LSB didn't, it got glitchier and glitchier on my computers. I still have it, it just doesn't work well anymore. If the developer would rewrite it from the ground up so it works again, I would stand in line to give him my money.

So I've been using Scrivener, which works well, I've never had it lose anything though I've heard horror stories from other people (I don't do automatic backups; I do all my backing up manually). But after LSB, it just seems so... regimented. I've never felt quite comfortable with it.

I used to hand-code my ebooks, and still will for smaller projects, but with my limited physical and mental energy, I had to switch to something else. Now I use Draft2Digital's formatter, since I distribute through them anyway and I had to make a Word doc for Smashwords anyway (D2D is my main distributor; I use Smashwords for their store and a few other things) and it seems to work pretty well. Anyway, I use Notepad++ for my coding, too.

yWriter, but no surprise there.


I always looked at yWriter and hesitated because I don't write in chapters. I know a chapter can be a scene, but the extra step from chapter to scene kind of got in my way. Then it hit me, a chapter doesn't *have* to be a chapter! I've been studying a lot about story structure, and realized that a chapter can be a segment of the structure, like the Opening Hook or the Inciting Incident or the All Is Lost or whatever. So I downloaded the latest version and now I'm playing around with it, outlining a new project using the chapters as the parts of the story structure, holding the scenes that go in those parts. It seems to fit my way of thinking a little more comfortably than Scrivener does.


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Offline Al Stevens

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #146 on: March 14, 2018, 07:58:11 PM »
I'm talking about those who rejoiced in rubbing their html knowledge in the faces of others who may be scared to death of the very mention.
You are characterizing the motives of others (rejoiced, rubbing) in ways I do not recall having noticed. If I saw them I probably just ignored them.
I built a sixty page website in CSS and html, and I have no wish to do it again.
I don't blame you.

Offline dgcasey

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Re: What software do you use to write your book?
« Reply #147 on: March 14, 2018, 09:33:46 PM »
I started using Scrivener a few months ago.  It's a brilliant program.  I still use Word for short projects (picture books) and notepad for ideas.

I tried Scrivener a few months ago, but couldn't find enough reasons to want to pay for it. I still have 21 days left in the trial period and don't see myself using them.

I'm cheap and like software that's easy enough to use without a user's manual, so I use LibreOffice Writer.
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Offline dgcasey

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Re: What software do you use to write your book?
« Reply #148 on: March 14, 2018, 09:40:32 PM »
I've used both and prefer LibreOffice. The differences between the two are few, but IMHO LibreOffice is different where it really counts.

I think one of the biggest reasons to choose LibreOffice over OpenOffice would be that development on OO stopped years ago. So, the last version of the program is a few years old and there won't be any further updates to it. And LO was developed by the same team that did OO, but they have just carried it on and have made it quite the nice piece of software.
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Offline dgcasey

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Re: Which software do you use for writing your book?
« Reply #149 on: March 14, 2018, 09:45:52 PM »
I use Scrivener at the moment, but that might change. It's rather confusing.

That and it has way more features than I'll ever need. All I need is a program that allows me to put words on the screen and format the document for publishing. I don't need trees and roots and world views and such.
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