Category Archives: Tools

Write A Book: 4 Ways Scrivener Makes You A Better Writer

Write A Book: 4 Ways Scrivener Makes You A Better Writer

Recently on a private forum, after responding to a plea for help with the suggestion, “use Scrivener, the program makes you a better writer,” I’ve received questions about that statement.

My first response was to giggle. Ah — NO, I’m not a shill for Scrivener’s developers. You won’t find any affiliate links in this post. Nor do I know anyone in the company, but I have immense admiration for the developers.

So, how does Scrivener make you a better writer?

I believe that Scrivener is worth every penny of your investment in its purchase, and more. Your mileage may vary of course, but I know that before Scrivener, writing a book took me three and four times as long.

If you need to write a book, you need Scrivener

Scrivener’s beta version arrived in 2005. In that year, I switched from using Windows machines as my primary computers to Macs. It took forever to make the decision to switch.

At that time, I was writing about PCs for computer magazines, as well as doing ghostwriting for a global publisher, so I still needed my Windows machines.

My contract for the large publishing house meant that not only did I write chapters for them for various books, I worked as a ghostwriter and copywriter for them as well.

My life was chaos. I spent 12 and 14 hours a day, just writing. Research took another couple of hours at least.

Then suddenly, at just the right time, Scrivener came out with a beta version — suddenly writing books was much easier.

Scrivener will make you a better writer because it makes it easier to organize your writing projects, and to think.

1. Scrivener makes it easier to organize and think, so your writing improves

Books, whether fiction or nonfiction, morph.

In this post, I suggested writing your blurb (book description) before you start outlining and writing:

Writing your blurb first is important because you need to fulfill promises you made in the blurb. It’s much easier to edit your blurb than it is to edit your book.

Nevertheless, even with your blurb as a compass to your writing, your book’s vision will change before your eyes. When this happens it’s not only disorienting, it can throw you off track. If you’re unfortunate enough to have deadlines for several books at one time, it also leads to a lot of stress.

Scrivener has a marvelous feature called Collections, which helps you to revision (re-imagine) your book, no matter how much it morphs.

An excellent article on Collections:

Before Scrivener, I’d print out a novel, then lay out “collections” of documents on the bed, and the carpet. Next, I’d create index card summaries of every document in every collection. I’d delete scenes and chapters by tossing their documents, and then type up fresh scenes, and lay them out on the carpet. It was chaotic.

2. You can view your Scrivener project from several different angles, so you get better ideas

When it’s time to outline, I start out in the Corkboard view. The Corkboard’s index cards are itty bitty things, so I usually switch from there to the Outline view, and then to the Scrivenings view, to flesh out the outline.

You can start writing at any time.

For example, with fiction I’ll usually write the first scene, and then because the final scene mirrors the first, I’ll write that scene next. Of course, the final scene needs rewriting later, but I’ve mapped out the territory.

You may find that being able to switch so easily between views helps you to keep your project on track, and become more creative.

3. Got an editor, or beta readers? It takes just a few clicks to compile a draft to send them (and you can quickly make changes)

When ghostwriting, I like to send my client or editor a copy of the first draft of each chapter when it’s done. That takes just a few clicks in Scrivener, and the PDF is ready to email to the client, or to attach to a thread in a chat program.

Sending out out ARCs (advance reading copies) is just as simple. A few clicks, and your PDF is ready to send.

4. Inspiration can strike anywhere: Scrivener has iOS and (soon) Android apps

You can get ideas anywhere. I have an “Ideas” folder in each Scrivener project, so I can type up an idea quickly. Occasionally, I’ll be on the sofa, watching a movie, when inspiration hits. It’s easy to open Scrivener on my tablet, and add a few paragraphs to a scene, or correct something in a scene if I realize that the timeline is off, for example.

So, there you have it. I truly believe that Scrivener can help almost any author to become happier and more productive.

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99

Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters.

More info →
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

eBook: $5.99
Series: Romance Writing, Book 1
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction

Love makes the world go round, and of all the genres in fiction, romance, with its many sub-genres, is the most popular.

More info →
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Buy from Kobo
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Amazon Kindle

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Ulysses App: Publish Your Ebooks On iBooks FAST

Ulysses App: Publish Your Ebooks On iBooks FAST

I’m a huge fan of the Ulysses app (Mac). If you’re a Mac user, and you’re looking for a fast and simple way to publish your ebooks on iBooks, check out this tutorial, Self-Publishing for Absolute Beginners.

It sounds brilliantly simple, and I may try it one day. Currently, I’m Amazon exclusive. I’m slapping everything into KDP Select, because of Kindle Unlimited’s pages read.

I’d be silly not to, because I’m making more money from pages read than I am from direct sales. That may change of course, and if it does, I’ll be snatching my ebooks out of KDP Select so that I can publish elsewhere.

Ulysses makes writing and publishing SIMPLE

I adore Ulysses, even though I don’t use it for ebooks. I’m a rusted-on, diehard user of Scrivener for all long-form material. That said, all my short-form writing happens in Ulysses. I’m writing this blog post in it, for example.

If you’re unfamiliar with Ulysses, here are some benefits:

  • Markdown! Markdown is really just plain text, and you can repurpose that text in any way you choose. You can convert the plain text into a well-formatted docs in HTML, PDF, MS Word, and ePub. Markdown means you can…
  • just write. You never need to worry about formatting; formatting happens later, and you can preview your chosen output format as you write;
  • You can also repurpose your material. If you want to create ebooks from your blog posts, you can, in just minutes, by dragging the documents you want to include into a folder in Ulysses. Select all the documents, click, and you have a lovely PDF, instantly.
  • A distraction-free writing environment;
  • Statistics galore — characters, words, sentences etc.
  • Bookmarks and automatic backups, and —
  • You can continue any writing you started on your Mac in your iPad. And vice versa.

I’ve tried just about every Markdown app there is. Ulysses is perfect for the way I write.

If I ever decide to go wide with my ebooks, I’ll be using Ulysses to create fast and simple ePubs too. 🙂

Kindle Short Fiction Domination: Today’s Blueprint For Writing Success And Income (4-week class)

Short Fiction Domination

Want to write short fiction and build a successful career? For the first time in decades, it’s possible to write short stories and make a great income. Each week, for four weeks, you receive a new lesson, in PDF format, via a download link sent to your email inbox.

As we move through the class, you’re not only writing your own short stories, you’re also discovering the Kindle short fiction BLUEPRINT… What to publish, and when, so that your Amazon income steadily increases. Join us. 🙂

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Earn while you learn, with Angela’s Writing Classes..

Kindle Publishing: Book Magic With Apps

Kindle Publishing: Book Magic With Apps

It’s no secret that I love Kindle publishing, especially writing SHORT fiction.

I started writing in the days of typewriters, and have fond memories of my collection of Adlers, Olivettis, and IBM Selectrics. No way do I want to go back to those days. Publishing took forever.

So the idea that I can hit a Publish button, and publish, instantly, will always be miraculous — for me, publishing is always a thrill. Ebook publishing is easily comparable to the first time I saw one of my books on the shelf of a real bookstore, except of course that publishing now is a lot less hassle.

Readers have asked about simple ways to write and publish ebooks. Once you’ve written a book, be it a huge 300,000 word novel, or a 10,000 word short story, you want to publish it without hassle.

Making publishing easier (and publishing more)

Currently my favorite Kindle writing and publishing tools are:

Scrivener: if you don’t use it, you should

I’ve been using Scrivener for a decade. I love it more than ever. I use it for all book-length writing and publishing, including my client’s ghostwriting projects, and don’t know what I’d do without it. I can keep an entire series of books in one Scrivener project, so it’s simple to reference another book from the one I’m writing.

Here’s my best advice to you if you’re wary of Scrivener because you’ve heard of Scriveners’ “learning curve”: just use it. Scrivener’s a huge program, but you can customize it to suit yourself.

You don’t need to use features just because they’re available. The more you use it, the more comfortable you’ll be in the program. Right from the beginning, you’ll be able to forget the tool, and focus on your writing, so just start writing.

Ulysses: it’s all about the words

“Just start writing” brings me to Ulysses, another app I’ve been using for a long, long time, in all its incarnations. However, it’s only in the past few weeks, after the release of the iPad app, that Ulysses has become an integral part of my work flow.

I’m an impatient writer. When I get an idea, I want to write. I resent any tool which gets in my way. Ulysses gets out of your way, so you can focus on words. You don’t even need to save your work, Ulysses does that for you.

David Hewson’s been a godsend, with his ebook on Ulysses. He’s shown me even more ways to use the program to make publishing simpler.

PDF styles in Ulysses
PDF styles in Ulysses

For example, Ulysses’s PDF Styles, as shown in the image above, are useful for sending your work to beta readers, as well as for revision.

Vellum makes it easy to go broad

Time was, you’d publish to Kindle, and call it good. Today however, it’s best to go broad. That is, publish your books across several ebook platforms. Authors report that they’re making sales on platforms like iBook and Nook, sometimes more sales than they make on Amazon. Kindle publishing will always be essential, of course, but going broad makes huge sense.

I’ve heard many good things about Vellum, and I’ll be using it for a new series I’m writing. I’ve read ebooks published using Vellum, and they’re gorgeous. With Vellum, you can easily publish across platforms, without hassle.

Today, you can publish whatever you like

The gatekeepers, literary agents and editors, are gone, if you want them to be. You can choose traditional publishing if you wish. Or you can do it all yourself. Apps are truly magical, when it comes to book publishing. They make publishing easy, and fun.

You can focus on your writing, rather than on publishing. And that’s as it should be. Anyone who’s publishing today is lucky it’s so easy… and I can’t get over the sheer wonder of that.

Story Power: Write and Sell Short Fiction — Short Stories, Serials, and Series

Story Power

If you love the magic of publishing as I do, you’ll love Story Power. Discover short fiction, and sell.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.