How do you take that random thought in your head and get it into book form? It takes several tools. Some apps are free. Most are not. For me, investing in these apps from the start is part of the long game of being an author, especially if you’re planning on writing a number of books.
Let’s start with Scrivener, because this is where my writing process begins.
My brain constantly whizzes with story ideas, and if it’s not coming up with new ideas, it’s dissecting those ideas into more robust stories. Scrivener lets me unpack those ideas. I use Scrivener as the filing cabinet for ideas, scenes and dialogue.
Later, once I have my characters created, my outline written, I come back to Scrivener, to write the book. The layout allows me to write in both scene and chapters, so if I need to move stuff around, it’s easy to do so.
I love Pinterest, but it can also be evil. I can lose myself for days in Pinterest, if I let myself go. But it’s such an amazing took for character development. For example, I may have a visual in my head of what a character looks like and using Pinterest helps me define them. I can find everything from hairstyle, to colour of eyes, to clothing style. All of this helps me bring my characters – and their quirks – to life.
I mentioned this tool in my post Creating Complex and Believable Characters. It’s a quirky tool I use, to create the visuals for characters. It’s fun and sometimes a distraction, but it helps to get the idea out of your head and on to a page.
ProWritingAid is a godsend to me. As their tagline says, it IS A grammar checker, style editor and writing mentor in one package. BUT, it doesn’t just find grammar and spelling issues, but also clichés, overused words, run-on sentences, etc. I spend WEEKS in this app once I have my book drafted. ProWritingAid helps to clean the mess up. I won’t share anything I write until it’s been through this process.
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5. Microsoft Word
I’ll be honest, I have a love/hate relationship with Word. But I hate Pages and I hate Google docs more, and since I have been using Word professionally for so long, it’s easier to use what I know and battle the demons.
Why do I still use it then? Because there is one tool that, as a writer, I cannot deny is one of the most powerful in my toolbox of wonderful tools. Word allows me to LISTEN to my book. Do you know how many mistakes, how many ramblings I’ve cut down, just by listening to my writing? This part of the process is undeniably necessary.
Canva is another tool I love, but also one I could lose myself in.
I use the Pro version of Canva for a lot of things. As a writer and publisher, I create book covers for eBooks, post images for Pinterest and blog posts. I also use it extensively for marketing materials. I also use Canva for creating interim book covers.
When creating book covers for paperbacks and hardcovers, it’s a lot more complicated. That’s when it’s helpful to hire a book cover designer. You can do it yourself. I did for Camino Wandering and will continue creating covers myself, because I’m creative like that. I use Affinity Publisher, but I’ll leave that for another post. Like I said, it’s more complicated.
With my book written, edited, polished, and the cover created (in Canva), I’m ready to publish. I am ready to move this work from manuscript to book.
I use Vellum to do this. I quick note here, it only works on Macs. (Sorry PC users, I can’t offer any help with what to use). With Vellum, you add your cover, internal manuscript (a Word document works best I have found), your Copyright material, any Dedication and Acknowledgement pages, Author page, and finally a Table of Contents (for Kindle/eBooks). Vellum provides font and format options too, so you can create the look and feel you are wanting for your book.
Then the magic happens. Vellum takes all that then spits out an ePub, Kindle, and print format, all into a handy folder. From here, you can upload these files to wherever you intend to sell your book. That may be Ingram Sparks, Kindle Direct Publishing or wherever you choose.
Of course, it’s not QUITE that magical. When uploading print books to your print distributor (Ingram, KDP etc), you need to have your cover within their individual specifications. As mentioned, I’ll leave that for another post for those wanting to create book covers themselves.
Check out the post Must Have Marketing & Writing Resources – plus Facebook Groups – For Indie Authors. I think you’ll find that has a lot of handy resources too!
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