25: How to Choose Book Writing Software

You want to be an author. Or maybe you already are an author, but for some reason, you are dissatisfied with the book writing software you are currently using. Today, I am going to concentrate on software you would use on a PC or Mac, not standalone writing machines like the Traveler by FreeWrite. So which software should you look at? Which one should you choose? Answers to these questions in Episode 25 of Writing Pursuits.

Links:

WritingPursuits.com

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Three Story Method Certified Editor

KathreseMcKee.com

Mailerlite (affiliate link)

YourFirstChapter.com

Atticus Formatting Software Review

Transcript
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You want to be an author or maybe you already

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are an author. But for some reason you are dissatisfied

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with the book writing software you're currently using today, I

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am going to concentrate on software you might use on

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a PC or Mac. Not a standalone writing machine like

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the traveler by free. Right, so which software should you

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look at? Which one should you choose answers to these

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questions. In episode 25 of writing pursuits, Welcome to the

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writing pursuits podcast where authors like you discuss writing, craft,

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author life and book marketing strategies. I'm your host, Katherine

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Mckee. I own writing pursuits and write and produce the

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weekly newsletter. Writing pursuits tips for authors. In addition, I

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am a speculative fiction author. Writing pursuits is for authors

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who drink too much coffee endure judgmental looks from their

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furry writing companions and struggle for words. If you are

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a writer seeking encouragement, information and inspiration. This podcast is

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for you. Let's get to it. Hey, writing proceeds authors

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Welcome back to the podcast. To those of you who

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are new. I want to extend a special welcome. My

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name is Patrice Mckee and I'm glad you're here. Please

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leave a comment, a star rating and follow the show

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to help others find writing pursuits. If you're watching this

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on Youtube, make sure to like and subscribe and tap

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that notification bell. When you start writing your first book.

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It is probably easiest to start with what you know

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for many people, maybe most people that happens to be

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Microsoft word. Word is everywhere literally in every office and

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every business that you care to name. Most students have

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a working knowledge of Microsoft word. If they've been in

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school in the last 15 years, maybe 15-20 years. It

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has a rich feature set limited only by your skills

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and knowledge truly. It's probably more than most people need.

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It can be so much more than you actually need

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when writing a book. The functionality always seems to be

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expanding and the interface keeps changing. Microsoft word is unparalleled

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because of macros in being able to use wild cards

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for find and replace really that's a skill set beyond

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what most people acquire but it can really unlock amazing

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functionality within the software. Every other software is compared to

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Microsoft word. It has a built in editor that is

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very decent. In fact as an editor it is the

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standard mostly because of the track changes functionality. Um and

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they accept changes functionality and also that it interfaces with

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add in editing software like perfect it pro writing aid

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and Graham early. However there are some cons so one

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of the cons is that it is not free for

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most people you have to have a subscription to office

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to use Word and um like I pay $99 I

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think maybe more for office 3 65. I feel like

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it's part of my operating expenses. So I just accept

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it. I do use it every day multiple times a

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day and I generally I generally wear it out Also

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for research notes and background work. It can't go straight

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into your manuscript because that would be just a big

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jumble of stuff. This is one of the ways words

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suffers in comparison to the next application will discuss. You

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will never reach the end of learning word. There is

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always something more that you don't know. There's 10 ways

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to do almost everything. Still some of the things that

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you used to know in older versions you might not

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be able to still do because you can't figure out

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where they've hidden it. So there's that that's a con

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uh tips for using Microsoft word for writing novels from

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the beginning. Used styles on the home tab inward to

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format your chapter headings. Make every chapter heading the very

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same The same style when it is time to upload

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your file for formatting. Everything is so much easier if

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you'll do this one thing, learn about styles and word

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to unlock its capabilities and make your life easier for

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every scene break. Use three asterisks centered without an indented.

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Do not use the tab key, not ever Use the

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margin controls instead my second tip is for every major

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revision, create a new copy of your manuscript. The way

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I do that is I always include the date that

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I start the new manuscript on or the new copy

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on. As long as you are using word you may

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as well take advantage of Microsoft one drive which constantly

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saves your document as you go. So you don't have

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to worry about power fluctuations or anything like that. You're

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going to have the latest revisions that you've made to

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the document. That's one reason to create new copies of

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your manuscript because it's kind of a destructive process. The

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next application is scribner. It's very well known in the

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author community. It's probably the best known alternative to word.

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It works on Mac and Windows. Actually there are two

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different versions and the mac version is so much better

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than the Windows version. Even now, I would say that

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even the new scribner three, this is a con even

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the new scribner three interface looks dated and the compile

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feature is something out of clothes. I think that that's

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very outdated and needs to be fixed. It is a

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typewriter, a three ring binder and a scrapbook in one

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place. So that shortcoming inward goes away. You can keep

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all sorts of notes and pictures and information that you've

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gathered from various places in your binder under various headings

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that you get to decide. Fantastic. If you want to

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describe your characters, you can have a character folder and

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have a little file for each character and you can

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even put in pictures and it's all in one place.

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It's not going to interfere with what you pull out

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of scribner at the end. Favorite features that I love

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about governor, our note cards, the cork board where you

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can rearrange the note cards writing targets seen in chapter

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orientation that happens in the binder that I have always

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displayed on the left side With multiple ways to view

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the organization of your book. Um it has a focus

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mode that you can personalize. Um it has templates for

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manuscripts and screenplays and more for all that. It is

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inexpensive. It's a $45 1 time purchase. Honestly you may

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want to pay for a tutorial after you've let yourself

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stumble around for awhile. For sure work through the tutorial.

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It is not an intuitive interface. So I would not

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recommend scrivener for formatting a book to upload to amazon.

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Some people do. Oh more power to you. But to

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me there's a step in between I usually compiled to

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word document and then go from there. Scribner's biggest contribution

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to writers is during the development phase, your first draft,

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your first revision After that. In my experience, it's best

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to compile your document into a word document. Make that

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word document in your new master file and then use

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the word for future revisions. You just get to a

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point where you don't need all the notes. You just

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need to polish and perfect the document that you're going

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to use as with word for every major revision. Save

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a copy of your entire project to a new name.

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Save the old copy for reference. Ok. And that brings

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me to the last thing that I I like about

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scrivener, you can set automatic backups. So every time you

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get out it saves backup to dropbox never try this

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with google drive, that does not work. And that brings

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us to the next favorite and that would be google

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docs. This episode of writing pursuits is brought to you

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to take their writing to a new level of excellence

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featuring story analysis and diagnostics, guthrie's mckee a three story

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the journey ahead for more information, go to word marker

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edits dot com And now back to writing pursuits. I

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know a lot of authors that start their work in

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google docs. I have written full chapters on my phone

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using google docs when I'm out of the house. One

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of the great things about that is your work is

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sync across devices, it's free, Oh, I love that and

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it is versatile. Your work is instantly saved and it

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does have version control. So all that makes for a

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great package. It also has a decent feature set, It

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is not Microsoft word, but you don't need more than

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google docs provides to write a book. This includes find

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replace and spell checking, plus some grammar checks. Its superlative

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for collaborating on a project. So if you have a

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co writer, this is the thing for you, you can

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both work on it, you can even work on it

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at the same time and you will see what is

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going on. So collaboration is the big thing with google

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docs. If your editor is willing to edit and google

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docs, they can leave comments and suggested edits. It's not

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the same as having track changes but it might be

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good enough. You can work offline, that's kind of nice

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and it's not something you can do with every package.

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Alright? Um it is easy to download your files to

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various formats including word, rich text, open document format pdf

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and pub Akane for some people is the fact that

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you must use the chrome browser to use google docs.

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So that might be a con for some people for

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me it's not a problem. I use chrome all day

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long tips as inward make use of the styles within

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google docs. No tabs do seem breaks the same way

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as you do in word when it's time to format

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your document. Use file, download to produce a file to

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upload wherever you're going to format it. Now, the next

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one I want to talk about is Atticus Writing and

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formatting. They are the new kid on the block. There

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is a blog post, a review for the Atticus software

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on my blog. I would appreciate it if you'd stop

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by and leave a comment. The link for that will

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be in the show notes, It says that it's a

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writing and formatting software. However right now the word processing

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portion of the program. It's kind of basic. There are

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plans for improvement. I want to see that before I

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use it to develop a novel in. I could see

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writing a short story or flash fiction there without a

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problem. Not great for editing either. And um again there

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are plans. So one of the best things about Atticus

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is that it's cross platform compatible. So if you're a

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Linux person, this may be the app for you really

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shines for formatting a completed manuscript ready for print or

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digital After you finished formatting your manuscript. This is an

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ideal interface for proof reading because you're literally looking at

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the proof copy. Atticus has templates suitable for any genre

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and you can create your own book format templates. You

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can use atticus offline. This is important. Also you can

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use it on your phone or tablet and best of

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all it is easy to use so easy. It's a

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little bit expensive since it's not doing the writing portion

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of the program, it is $147 to purchase. But that's

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like a lifetime thing. You'll get all the updates, much

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less expensive than vellum which is $249 us dollars and

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it's less expensive than paying someone to format more than

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one book for you. So if you bought it you

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have it, you can continue to use it. So it's

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great for making every book in a series. Have the

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same look and feel the last one I'm going to

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talk about in any detail is read the book editor

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now full disclosure. I have not tried this tool, I

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have just seen it demonstrated pretty much everything I just

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said for atticus supplies to read the book editor except

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it does not work offline, it is not cross platform

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compatible that I know about. You download and upload your

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files if you want to work offline. So that's a

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drawback. Pretty much gives you a choice between classic and

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romance themes. If free is the name of the game

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and your book doesn't require like interior artwork like maybe

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a cookbook or Children's book would then read the book

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editor maybe what you're looking for. I could really see

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pairing reads a book editor with google docks where the

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bulk of development and revisions happen in google docs prior

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to uploading it to read Z to format your book's

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interior the pluses, you can track changes in reads a

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book editor, it does offer version control collaboration is possible

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and it's free. Can't beat free. There are many other

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applications for writing books including fast pencil focus, writer freedom

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and others. Indeed, any software that allows you to manipulate

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text is fair game, but eventually you need to edit

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revise in format. Keep the entire production cycle in mind

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when you're selecting your tool and there's nothing wrong with

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starting in one and ending up in another. You can

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play around with the software that you choose. The main

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thing is to write. That's all I have for today.

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Until next time. Thank you for joining us today. If

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you enjoyed this episode, please leave a comment and follow

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the podcast. If you're new around here, I hope you

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will sign up for the weekly newsletter. Writing pursuits tips

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for authors. That link and all the links mentioned in

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today's episode are in the show notes at writing pursuits

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dot com. Please join us on Wednesdays for new episodes

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