If you’re new to writing fiction, the process of publishing your novels seems hopelessly complicated. Recently a friend who’s writing her first novel asked about the best self-publishing apps. I can only tell you about the apps I use, and find truly valuable.
Self-publishing apps for novelists, from book idea to publication
“All you need is Word, right?” my friend asked.
Yes, that’s right. You can write your novel in Word, save it in DOCX format, and publish it on Amazon — read about Amazon’s preferred formats here:
Amazon says: Most DOC / DOCX files convert well to eBooks. However, some files with complex formatting may not convert as well. Use the previewer to make sure your book converted successfully, especially if it has graphics or tables.
So if you have Word, you’re good to go. 🙂
Why use other apps? As I told my friend… much faster, much, much easier, and prettier…
Self-publishing apps to help you to publish faster, and more easily
Scrivener is the one app without which I’d truly be lost.
I’ve written several posts about Scrivener:
- Scrivener helps you to start writing your novel;
- Scrivener ends the chaos which leads to procrastination;
- Scrivener makes revision and editing easy.
The challenge with Scrivener is that new authors tend to see it as just another word processor, and Scrivener is NOT a word processor. It’s a writing studio if you like, but it’s also a database. Since Scrivener is a database, rather than a word processor, the program handles all formatting as output.
Scrivener converts your manuscript into MOBI and EPUB (the primary self-publishing formats) with just a few clicks.
The best advice I can give you for getting to grips with Scrivener is:
- Read the excellent tutorial;
- Start writing in Scrivener without worrying about anything except your words;
- Expect to feel a little lost for three weeks. Persist. A little discomfort now will turn you into a Scrivener master, and will (I promise) make writing and publishing a pleasure.
My next essential app is Write Or Die. I have a full-time job, so I need an app which ensures that when I write, I write. While it’s not for everyone, it works for me. Try it.
Finally, I love Scapple, which is made by the Scrivener folks. I’m not a huge outliner, so Scapple helps me to develop characters and ideas.
A self-publishing app for prettier ebooks: Vellum
For my first few novels, I used Scrivener to compile the manuscripts into MOBI and EPUB for publishing on the ebook retailers. It works brilliantly — no complaints at all.
Then someone told me about Vellum, and I had to have it.
Why? It makes very pretty ebooks.
What can I say? I’m shallow. And I obviously like playing around rather than writing, because using Vellum means another step before I can hit the Publish button on Amazon. (By the way, Vellum is Mac-only. )
“Can I hire someone to format my novel?”
My friend asked. Yes, you can, but why bother? If you use Scrivener, you simply hit the Compile button. A few more clicks, and you have your book formatted brilliantly.
If you’re a bare-bones purist, you can just upload your DOCX file to Amazon.
What’s your favorite self-publishing app? Share in the comments — I’m always looking for apps which make self-publishing faster.