My Favorite Tool for Fiction Writing and Self Publishing
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Almost every time I post an update of my novel on Instagram, I get a lot of questions about the software I use to write, etc. -publishing. However, with that said, I’m pretty sure there’s only one thing you’ll be most interested in, so here it is…
Reedsy Book Editor
I have written all of my books (both mine and those I write for others for clients) using the Reedsy Online Book Editor.
It’s absolutely FREE software that allows you to write and format your book, ready for publication, and I absolutely love it. It has nearly everything you need to create a novel from start to finish, and, once you’re done, it spits it out in .epub and .mobi versions (as well as .pdf and Word, if you prefer), ready to upload to Amazon.
It’s very easy to use and navigate, and while it doesn’t have a variety of formatting options, you’ll find it in some of the more popular software, like Atticus and Vellum, for example (There are only a few different options for fonts, etc., and you can’t add graphics fancy to your chapter title or something), considering it’s completely free, I think it’s a fantastic starting point.
When I was writing my non-fiction book a few years ago, I used Scrivener, which I had to pay for, and which I absolutely hated. I know a lot of writers swear by it, so I thought this might be a very personal thing, but I found it clunky and hard to navigate, so I turned to Reedsy when I started writing fiction, and I never looked back. I’ll probably upgrade to Atticus at some point when I have a little more cash, solely so I can make the interior of the book look a little prettier, but for now I’m very happy with Reedsy, which I once recommended. since I started using it.
Oh, and the best? It lets you set writing goals, to stay on track, and puts your progress in a sidebar, so you can see it as you work. I’m a very goal-oriented person, and I love being able to set a deadline for my book, then have Reedsy tell me exactly how many words I need to write each day to meet it. (You can even count your writing days too: I can’t write on weekends, for example, so I set my writing days as Mon – Fri, and it automatically figures out how much I need to write each day, then adjusts to your output. Like that’s for me.)
Did I mention it’s FREE?
ProWritingAid is NOT free, unfortunately (or, at least, not the full version, which is what I used. I think there might be some limited features you can use without paying, but please don’t quote me on that…). Still, it was worth my investment, so it’s another tool I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
This is a grammar and style checker, whose purpose is to find errors in your writing and flag them for you. This can be anything from a simple typo to more complex problems with grammar, sentence structure, etc, and while there’s obviously no substitute for having your work checked by a professional proofreader or editor, it’s the next best thing. This goes far beyond the types of errors that programs like MS Word, etc. pick up, and I found it invaluable in helping identify mistakes I would otherwise not have noticed.
With that said, ProWritingAid does come with some limitations which is why I always recommend using the human editor as well if you can afford it. Though it does allow you to define what type of writing you’re analyzing (So, not just fiction, in my case, but specifically romantic fiction) I found myself ignoring some of the suggestions he made, especially when it came to dialogue. (After all, most people don’t speak with perfect grammar, so neither should characters, or their speech can sound very formal and unnatural.)
However, there are tons of different reports you can run on your work. I really like sentence length reports, which help me control my tendency to write big continuous sentences that never seem to end (Like this one, for example), plus the ‘repeat’ checker, for all those times my character shifts uncomfortably in their chair, or doing other very repetitive things that make me want to bang my laptop against the wall. Seriously, Amber, FFS.
I’ve used Canva for years: first as a blogger, when I used it to create graphics for my blog and Pinterest, and now as a writer, when I use it for book covers, marketing materials, and even TikTok videos. There is a free version available, which is pretty good; However, I used the paid version, which gives you access to all of the available templates, plus Canva’s extensive library of stock images and videos. I pay £10.99 per month for this, and every time I cancel I always end up resubscribing within a few days, so, yeah, looks like I should stop doing that and accept that I’ll be subscribing for this foreseeable future.
Even though I did my all actually writing on my laptop, I prefer to jot down notes and ideas the old fashioned way, so I insist on having a new notebook for every book I start. I get these from Papier, and always choose the personalized hardback, which I print with each book’s name on the cover. This is by no means essential, of course, as a notebook or any old piece of paper will do the job fine, but, I mean, it good, no? And sometimes good just what you need.
And I think that’s it. I’m sure there are plenty of other tools out there I could use (If you can recommend one, please leave me a comment), but these are the ‘Big 4’ for me, really: one I really don’t want to be without. Well, that and coffee, of course. In hindsight, it probably should have been number one…