I often get asked about the tools I use to write and publish my books.
These are the main tools that I use for writing and publishing my books. They have evolved over time and as they continue to evolve I’ll update this page.
I cannot emphasize enough how amazing and powerful Scrivener writing software is. It’s so amazing, in fact, that it can be intimidating at first.
But fear not! There are tutorials available when you purchase the software and also others on YouTube to help you along. In fact, here’s a great introductory video from the company that makes the software.
Scrivener is so powerful and amazing that it should cost hundreds of dollars, but it can be yours for the astonishingly low price of US$45.
Learn more at the Scrivener website: LiteratureAndLatte.com
Formatting Ebooks and Paperbacks
When I first started to self-publish my books, formatting them for both ebook and paperback versions was a huge pain. And even after tons of work, especially on the ebooks, they never looked great.
And one very cool feature of Vellum is that you can try it before you buy it. You can download the software at the Vellum site for free. Then you can play with it, getting used to its features and making sure you like it (I can’t see how you wouldn’t!). Only when you need to finalize your files into EPUB, MOBI or PDF format will you be charged. (Sorry PC users, Vellum is only for Apple. But if you use Mac In Cloud with your PC you can use Vellum.)
Publishing a professional, polished manuscript is SO important. I have a non-negotiable approach to working with other professionals to make sure my books are held to the same standards as traditionally published books.
When my manuscripts are ready to be polished, I turn to copyeditor extrordinaire Jennifer McIntyre. Jen is a member of the Editors Association of Canada, and a superstar copyeditor. She is someone I trust my books with implicitly. (FYI, copyediting means correcting grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and problems with syntax.)
I worked with several copyeditors before I found Jen. They were all fine, but Jen is a gem. You can learn more about her work here and about more about what copyediting is, and other editing services she offers, here.
Above all, writers need to tell a story that satisfies readers. That’s the bottom line. If your story doesn’t work (i.e., provide satisfaction to your readers) it won’t get recommended to other readers.
How do you write a satisfying story? Well, like anything, storytelling is a learned skill. And my favorite resource for learning that skill is a book called Story Grid by Shawn Coyne.
My dear friend Valerie Francis is a Certified Story Grid editor. She can take your muddled manuscript and help you turn it into a book that is deeply satisfying to readers. One that will get recommended over and over again.
You can learn more about her story editing services at her website.
Book Cover Design
Book cover design is extremely important for your book’s success. When a reader is searching for books in an online store, you have about 1 second to convey that your book is professional and therefore worth reading, and also that it fits clearly into the genre the reader likes to read in. Not an easy task.
Streetlight Graphics is a cover design and book formatting shop that I saw several authors recommend. I tried them out on that basis and have been happy ever since.
Working with Glendon at Streetlight Graphics is painless and simple (unlike many other experiences I’ve had with cover designers). He is professional, fast and always ads extra elements of beautiful design to my book covers that I would not have thought of myself.
Also if you don’t want to format your ebooks and paperbacks yourself, Streetlight Graphics will do that for you as well.