Tuesday Tune-up: Writing Tools / Programs

I thought I would share my experience with the tools and programs that I use for writing.

Grammarly

I sprung for Grammarly last year. I didn’t always agree with the Word editor, so it was good to get a second opinion. It does make me aware of some of the common mistakes that I make, and I definitely have improved with my punctuation and clauses.

I do get emails like this that make me scratch my head:

OK. 99%? Is nobody else writing?

Money well spent, I suppose, or I paid attention in English class.

Me do good.

When I write, I’ll usually do a page, then go back and turn it on to check, otherwise I’m constantly looking to the right.

Shaxpir

I was looking for a way to organize my drafts and ideas, and Shaxpir seemed to fit the bill. You can create folders, chapters, idea pages, character and setting sheets, and the basic level was free after the 8 week trial of the full program.

Once you put work into it, it saves it on their cloud. I was wary of this but I continued to use it…until…it stopped working.

I tried the community forum but found it a ghost town, and took way to long to figure out how to contact with a CS agent, Finally, someone got back to me saying there was a problem and they’re working on it.

Still waiting.

Luckily, I did not have much new work on it, but enough that I’m not pleased. My NaPoWriMo poems were all written on it; those were all reposted on my blog.

I had moved some older work to it, which thankfully I did not delete any originals.

You know how they say good news travels, but bad news travels faster?

Run!, Run away!

Kindle Create

Pretty easy to make a Kindle ready book for free. But don’t think you can use it for anything else. What you make can only be opened on your Kindle readers (no MOBI here), or uploaded to KDP.

Calibri

Free eBook converter. Upload your word doc. and create EPUB, MOBI, of PDF. Then open what you made and realize that Word docs are not “what you see, is what you get”. It takes some experimenting and googling to get the right formatting (hint: page breaks are your friend – sometimes), but overall it is pretty easy to use.

Just remember, readers can set their font and spacing on the reader to what they want, not what you necessarily had envisioned.

Publisher Rocket

I figured that I was going to write more books, so rather than spend countless hours on keywords, just spend money. It’s just money, right? (I dislike spending money, BTW)

It’s a one shot cost, so I’m set. I used it to update my keywords and to maximize my Amazon ads.

Inkitt

Yeah. Not a program, but worth a mention. I had tried Wattpad last year, but got frustrated with the lack of being able to even mention a piece of your own work. I know it’s to limited shameless promotion, but it got a bit too restrictive.

So I turned to Inkitt to see if I can reach new readers. Not much better.

I tried to weigh the positives and negatives.

Cons:

  • Wouldn’t let me single space my poems
  • Formatting is one size and only has bold and italic options
  • You can import your word doc. but even with page breaks, you still have to manually separate chapters and because of the previous point, no other formatting is transferred
  • Reaching readers. After posting on some of the community boards (which there are very few), I’m still unclear why the book that I published doesn’t show up on the recently published list.

Pros:

  • Hmmm. Haven’t found one yet.

Other tools worth mentioning:

My Brain

Not recommended. Too scattered and full of glitches. Very steep learning curve (Think years. Many.) Some good ideas if you search through the weird stuff.

My Fingers

Visually dependent and index dominated, despite repeated training. Tend to miss “a” in favor of the “CAPS LOCK”. Visually dependent.

-Leon

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

Purchase paperback directly for the author!

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