Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

What is my website’s popularity?

Want to find out how many people are viewing your website? Or even who put links back to your website from their personal sites? I got a few little places and tips you can use.

Google Analytics
This is the best one yet to view how your website is doing with popularity (do you like me?). You have to copy/paste some code to your website, but it’s worth the bit of effort.

WebStatChecker
WebStatChecker is pretty cool as well. Just type your domain in, and click on the underlined hyperlink number for the Yahoo Backlinks. But for Yahoo Backlinks, the below method will pull the same results.

Advanced Search Operators
You can use this method that’s in all of the major search engines. For example, in Google search box, I would just type: linkdomain:zhollis.com, and it will give me a list of sites who have my site linked on them. I can type it in Yahoo, Ask.com and search.aol.com. But for Bing (this is also MSN search engine), I had to actually enter and search for my site name FIRST, then press the “Advanced” option menu. It used site:zhollis.com, which I didn’t want; so I did -site:zhollis.com (see the negative sign says “exclude”, meaning “Don’t look for this”) and also retyped zhollis.com to see if it will displays sites containing zhollis.com without finding my actual site. It looked like this [-site:zhollis zhollis.com]. It didn’t bring up much 🙂 .

HeadKeys
Headkeys gives you an idea of the popular Key Words your website is using that people will search for and possible click to come to your site. Not sure how this will help, but it might tell you how strong your site is with the key words people normally search for.

Reverse Internet
Reverse Internet can give you some ideas of who is linking back to you as well.
It didn’t show much for my websites though. But I tried a different website and it displayed a lot of information. So that’s why I’m listing it on my blog.

That’s about it. Go ahead and try some stuff out and see which ones work for you.

Happy Narcissism!

I’m not PC Literate…Can I still Self-Publish?

If you’re not very PC Literate and you want to Self-Publish, then… well….

I really, REALLY tried to find a positive answer for that kind of question, and I couldn’t find one for you. 🙁

UPDATE (November 19, 2011)!!! I’ve now concluded that you can go to Smashwords and they can give you a list of companies that would format your book for you. Then Smashwords would upload to all the different formats and platforms. Easy Peasy! Otherwise, you’ll have to find services like I’ve stated below, and still learn how to personally manage your business…which is what it is…a business.

WhatsAPC

Unless you have a lot, and I mean A LOT, of money to pay five (5) or six (6) other people to do all of the work for you…then I would head to a local community class and take some PC courses.

There were a few different discussions on the Absolute Write Water Cooler Forum site about people who don’t have much PC skills, or asking for help in this or that area. And the same answer came back again and again.

You have to learn it.

You need to try to save as much money as you can by learning and doing what you can for yourself. That’s the first word in self-publishing…self. You have to do it yourself.

And please read the below one hundred times

Please do not undertake Self-Publishing in a light manner.
Writing IS the easy part.
There is a horrible stigma among authors and readers looking down on those who self-publish because they put together a terrible book. It makes all self-published authors look bad.

That’s basically what someone stated in the forums and I’m reiterating. It needs to be as professional looking as you can make it. It’s a label on yourself, and you really want yourself to look good, right?

So yes, there’s A LOT of time of trying to put just the beginning steps of self publishing, in line, which I listed on my Blog Page: My Steps To Self Publishing. And I’m STILL doing things to perfect and add my books to places. It’s been three (3) years and I still haven’t started on my marketing, which I think I’ll do on one of my next novels that I publish. It might not take you that long, however. Life caught up with me…being a new parent, commuting, more responsibilities at the job…etc. etc. So, it’s taking me some time to get to the right spot.

But as I take my steps, I’ll jot them down for you. In the mean time, get going and take some PC classes. You’re gonna need the skills to help you through this.

And also, Be Careful out there! If you want to pay someone, then be aware of companies who make their money, NOT from selling books, but from the authors themselves. Checkout any company you want to use at SWFA’s website of Preditors & Editors

Until Next time!

My new buddy… yWriter (tips and tricks)

I wanted to share some tips and tricks of yWriter. Stuff I’ve learned and had to research and find out to make my life a bit more easier, though yWriter is making it is easy enough (and more fun) for my writing.

Importing from MSWord
Prepare your MSWord Novel for importing into yWriter. Doing these steps would make things a bit easier.

  • Open your MSWord novel/project
  • Make sure there’s a chapter, the word “Chapter 1” for each chapter. If you’re using Headings to automatically number your chapters, these are okay, but the words/titles beside the chapter will not be pulled over to yWriter. I recommend just put the name of the chapter on the next line down.
  • Do a search for the word “Chapter” throughout your entire manuscript and make sure to replace them with a different made-up like {achaper} or something like that, and put it inside brackets–MUST USE BRACKETS. You can then highlight the first Chapter imported into yWriter; go to SEARCH > GLOBAL SEARCH AND REPLACE and look for that particular made-up word {achaper} and replace it with the word “chapter”. I use the brackets so that there would be no mistaking it. It won’t replace any partial words anywhere else in the novel. For instance, as the software states: If you use HAL to replace BAL, it will also change HALF into BALF
  • Put a * * * ( three asterisks with spaces in between) before each scene. A scene is anywhere that you have a double-space to show a passage of time or a change of scenery. Put the * * * in every place before your scene. NOTE: In MSWord Click CTRL+H, and in the “Find What” box put three ^p or two ^p to find paragraph marks. Then in the “Replace With” field put ^p^p* * *^p. For those area where you want to keep the * * *, replace those with # # # instead. yWriter ignores the # symbols. You can use yWriter and do the SEARCH > GLOBAL SEARCH AND REPLACE and change it back to asterisks once the novel is imported
  • After the asterisks, make two RETURNS/PARAGRAPH spaces and Type a line for the scene description
  • Then make another RETURN and Type a line for the scene title
  • Go to FILE > Save AS, and make sure to save the document as a RTF
  • Open yWriter5, click the PROJECT> IMPORT INTO NEW PROJECT > IMPORT A WORK IN PROGRESS
  • Choose the RTF file of your novel/project
  • yWriter will import the novel and then prompt you for new project file name
  • Open up each scene and highlight the Description that you typed after each * * * in MSWord. Then RIGHT-Click and select “Cut selection for Scene Description”. This will take the highlighted words out of the scene and put it in the “Scene Description” field automatically.
  • Highlight the Title of the Scene and RIGHT-Click and select “Cut selection for Scene Title”, and you’l have your “Scene Title” in its field

AND YOU’RE DONE!!

Quickly make Characters, Locations and Items while you type.
Or this can make things quick while your read through an imported document. Simply highlight the word, RIGHT-Click and make your choice

  • Create character from selection
  • Create location from selection
  • Create item from selection

Then go to the tab for the selected item and update the description

Automatically add characters for each scene
In the Main View, click the Scenes pull-down menu and select “Automatically add characters to scenes”. You can do this for locations and items as well. I do this all the time as I go back and forth to scene to update my lists.

How to write in full screen mode in yWriter
I didn’t see it at first, but there is a way to write with a larger screen to have your work just flow as you write in yWriter. Just Right-Click inside the Scenes area when you have it opened and select “Full screen text editor”. It doesn’t have rulers, but you can select “Full screen test editor with margins” if you want to have the writing area in the middle with white space on the sides. Click the ESC button on your keyboard to exit out of this mode. You could also, in the Main View, RIGHT-Click a scene (don’t open it) and select “Open content with default RTF editor” which would open your MSWord, and you can edit your scene that way. !! THIS ISN’T RECOMMENDED!! Because you can easily loose your work if you don’t follow these steps EXACTLY when you’re done editing that scene.

  • Save the RTF File. Just click SAVE in the MSWord document
  • Close the RTF File. FILE > CLOSE in MS Word
  • RIGHT-CLICK the Scene again in yWriter and select “Finished with external editor”

!! If you don’t do these steps, all the editing and new work that you’ve done would be lost. !!

How to make a Scene or Chapter Unused
Simply Right-Click the Scene or Chapter in the Main View and select “Toggled Used/Unused”. An Icon will display the state of the what mode to remind you.

Don’t want Chapters?
You can make something else, other than a “Chapter” and change it to “Other”, which would work great to make a Timeline using the scenes titles as days/dates/times.

How to Zoom In Text
I didn’t think I could make my text larger or smaller while I typed, because I didn’t see a VIEW menu AND I didn’t want to use the Font size to change my font anyway (that’s on the Main View SCENES > SET FONT ACROSS ALL SCENES). I just wanted to make the text a bit bigger. Well, while I was showing my hubby my new best first, my hubby (my personal internal Desk Support guy) said, “Just hold down your CTRL button and use the scroll on your mouse.” Really? Yep. Really. I was like, “How you know that would do that?” He said, “It’s Windows” as if everyone should know this.

How to make Single, Double Space Lines
Use CTRL+A to select all of the scene
Use the following:

  • CTRL + 1 for Single space lines
  • CTRL+2 for Double space lines
  • CTRL+5 for 1.5 space lines

Set all the Scenes to Draft mode or 1st Edit mode
In the Main View, hold down your SHIFT key and select the first and last scene (this will select all scenes. To select individual scenes, hold the CTRL key). Then RIGHT-Click and click SET-STATUS > DRAFT

Organize Folders
Make sure to create a folder for each individual project. It will help manage things better. For instance, I have a Book folder and under that a title for each of my books. Then I have another folder called yWriter to place that particular book’s project in there.

  • BOOK
    • TITLE OF BOOK
      • yWRITER FOLDER
    • TITLE OF 2nd BOOK
      • yWRITER FOLDER

That’s all my tips and trick for yWriter that I’ve been using and having fun with. You have anymore? Let me know.

Until Next Time 🙂

Template to format your MSWord Novel to Kindle

I’ve put together how my book was constructed for the Kindle. I used the preview in Kindle to make sure it looks okay.

NOTE: Want to watch an Instruction Video for the below that has a template? Just go to Deana Zhollis Writing Tools.

The first step for the html programming I found on Critique Circle. I’m not a member. I actually was looking for something else and found this nifty way of getting your MSWord ready for html. If you use the MSWord converter, it just creates a whole lot of garbage html stuff that you really don’t need. Thus, if I had known this neat and quick way to change my MSWord to html WITHOUT loosing my italics, I surely would have used it instead of copying and pasting each-and-every-chapter into my Dreamweaver (for FREE html software, try out Kompozer. I downloaded it and it works great!), and then I had to compare my MSWord document to the HTML to put the darn formats back in. Not fun. But this now saves me a lot of headaches.

I’ve edited Critique Circle’s instructions to make it more general.

STEP 1

You can convert bold, italics, underline and centered text in MS Word to html formatted text before copy/pasting your text into your html programming/code window. In this way, you will not loose your italics, for example, when you copy/paste. The below instruction explains how to do this with bold and then you can use the same steps for the other formats

To do that, open up MSWord document and then open your find-replace option (CTRL-H), and make sure you are working in a throwaway copy of your manuscript so that you don’t accidentally save over it.

In the find-replace dialog, make sure you have your focus in the “Find What” text box (just click it) and then click on the “More” button, at the bottom of the dialog. There is a “Format” drop-down button. Click that and select “Font”. Now, select “Font Style” and then “Bold” and click OK.

NOTE: There is an easier way. You can press CTRL-B to toggle bold, CTRL-i to toggle italics, CTRL-u to toggle underline and CTRL-e to toggle centered. Just remember to have your focus on the “Find what” box and use the “Clear formatting” or “No formatting” to clear out previous formatting before entering a new one (ex. it might say “Not Bold”, which is not the same as not searching for bold text. In this case you should hit CTRL-B again to clear the bold flag)

Under the “Find What” text box, you should now see “Format: Font: Bold”.

In the “Replace With” text box, enter [b]^&[/b] and click “Replace All”.

This will find every piece of Bold formatted text and encase it with [b] and [/b].

Do the same with italics, underline and center (that’s in the “paragraph” option group). In every case, make sure that the option you had before is no longer selected, so that only bold, italics or centered is shown below the “Find What” text box.

Even if you have text that is italics _and_ bold you use the same method.

Here are the codes you want to put into “Replace With”:

Bold: <strong>^&</strong>

Italics: <i>^&</i>

Underline: <u>^&</u>

Centered: <c>^&</c>

STEP 2:

This part includes the following supported html coding the Kindle needs in order to look properly in their viewer. It will include the following things:

<a name=”TOC”/> for Table of Contents right before your Table of Contents

<a name=”start”/> for Go To Beginning where you want people to go when they first open your book

<a name=”cover”/> for Go To Cover where it will display your beautiful picture/cover of your book

<mbp:pagebreak/> for Page Breaks, which I mentioned in an earlier post

I researched if I needed to put the cover (<a name=”cover”/>) in my book or not. I couldn’t find anywhere where people were leaning more to the “to do” or “not to do”, so I left the cover out in my Kindle version. I can always insert the picture later on if I want. I read somewhere that I could put the cover at the end of the book, so that’s where I put it in the example below.

It also includes:

  • Table of Content in HTML
  • A bullet list in HTML
  • Dropped Case in HTML (The first letter of a chapter enlarged or larger)
  • A Glossary
  • A Prologue
  • About the Author
  • And stuff to put before the story begins (ISBN Number, Dedication, Website etc)

So, here goes my code. Hope it’s helpful.

<head>

<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html;charset=iso-8859-1″ />

<title>{Enter your Title of Book here}</title>

</head>

<body>

<center><h2>{Enter Prologue Title Here}</h2></center>

<br>

<p>{Start the prologue text here}</p>

<p>{And keep on typing it all up}</p>

<hr />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<br />

<p>This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.</p>

<br>

<br>

ISBN 10: {Enter Number}<br>

ISBN 13: {Enter Number}<br>

<br>

{Title of Book here}<br>

Copyright {Date} by {Author Name}<br>

All rights reserved.<br>

Published by {Name here}<br>

http://www.{web address}<br>

<br>

Cover Design by {Name here}<br>

http://www.{web address}<br>

<mbp:pagebreak />

<br>

<br>

To my family and friends who ….

<hr/>

<mbp:pagebreak />

<center>

<hr />

<font size=”+4″>{Title of Book Here}</font>

<hr width=”10%” />

<font size=”+1″>by {Author Name Here}</font><br />

<hr />

<br />

</center>

<mbp:pagebreak />

<center><h2><a name=”TOC”/></a>TABLE OF CONTENTS</h2></center>

<br>

<br>

<a href=”#Ch1″>Chapter 1 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<a href=”#Ch2″>Chapter 2 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<a href=”#Ch3″>Chapter 3 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<hr />

<a href=”#Glossary”><font size=”+2″>Glossary of Terms</font></a><br />

<hr />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<a name=”start”/></a><h2 id=”Ch1″>Chapter 1 – {Name of Chapter here}</h2>

<br />

<p><font size=”+4″><b>E</b></font>lephant went for a swim on a cool day. Begin novel story and stuff here.</p>

<p>Last Line of the chapter is here.</p>

<p> <br />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<h2 id=”Ch2″> Chapter 2 – {Name of Chapter here}</h2>

<br />

<p><font size=”+4″><b>T</b></font>he sun went up and then down again.</p>

<p>Last Line of chapter and 1st part of book here.</p>

<p align=”center”><strong><em>The End</em></strong></p>

<hr />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<h2 id=”Glossary”>Glossary of Terms</h2>

<p><strong>Magic:</strong> Used thooughout the entire Novel to make things sparkle and look pretty.<br />

Examples of certain techniques:

<ul>

<li>Song ability</li>

<li> Animal ability</li>

<li> Water ability</li>

</ul>

<p><strong>Poor:</strong> An individual in a state of despair and desperation.</p>

<hr />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<h2 align=”center”>About the Author</h2>

<p> </p>

<p>Lori Jones is an instructor for elephant painting and dancing

<hr />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<center>

<h1>Other Books</h1>

Elephant? Where are you?<br>

<br>

<strong><font size=”3″>(Coming Soon…)</font></strong><br>

Elephant – Together at Last<br>

Mice and Elephant<br>

<br>

<br>

<strong><font size=”4″>The Tusk Series</font></strong><br>

<br>

Tusk – White and Shiny!<br>

<br>

</center>

<a name=”cover”/><img src=”http://www.zhollis.com/images/TheMadewebsite.jpg” alt=”TheMade” longdesc=”TheMade.htm”>

</body>

</html>

Below Code is for Multiple Books within a Novel. It also includes:

  • Table of Content in HTML
  • A bullet list in HTML
  • Dropped Case in HTML (The first letter of a chapter enlarged or larger)
  • A Glossary
  • A Prologue
  • Book I and Book II (Book II has the Chapter Numbers starting from 1 again)
  • About the Author
  • And stuff to put before the story begins (ISBN Number, Dedication, Website etc)

So, here goes my code. Hope it’s helpful.

<head>

<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html;charset=iso-8859-1″ />

<title>{Enter your Title of Book here}</title>

</head>

<body>

<center><h2>{Enter Prologue Title Here}</h2></center>

<br>

<p>{Start the prologue text here}</p>

<p>{And keep on typing it all up}</p>

<hr />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<br />

<p>This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.</p>

<br>

<br>

ISBN 10: {Enter Number}<br>

ISBN 13: {Enter Number}<br>

<br>

{Title of Book here}<br>

Copyright {Date} by {Author Name}<br>

All rights reserved.<br>

Published by {Name here}<br>

http://www.{web address}<br>

<br>

Cover Design by {Name here}<br>

http://www.{web address}<br>

<mbp:pagebreak />

<br>

<br>

To my family and friends who ….

<hr/>

<mbp:pagebreak />

<center>

<hr />

<font size=”+4″>{Title of Book Here}</font>

<hr width=”10%” />

<font size=”+1″>by {Author Name Here}</font><br />

<hr />

<br />

</center>

<mbp:pagebreak />

<center><h2><a name=”TOC”/></a>TABLE OF CONTENTS</h2></center>

<br>

<br>

<p>BOOK I: </p>

<a href=”#Ch1″>Chapter 1 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<a href=”#Ch2″>Chapter 2 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<a href=”#Ch3″>Chapter 3 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<br>

<p>BOOK II: </p>

<a href=”#Ch1_1″>Chapter 1 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<a href=”#Ch1_2″>Chapter 2 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<a href=”#Ch1_3″>Chapter 3 {Name of Chapter}</a><br />

<br />

<a href=”#Glossary”><font size=”+2″>Glossary of Terms</font></a><br />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<center>

<hr />

<font size=”+4″>BOOK I</font>

<hr />

</center>

<mbp:pagebreak />

<a name=”start”/></a><h2 id=”Ch1″>Chapter 1 – {Name of Chapter here}</h2>

<br />

<p><font size=”+4″><b>E</b></font>lephant went for a swim on a cool day. Begin novel story and stuff here.</p>

<p>Last Line of the chapter is here.</p>

<p> <br />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<h2 id=”Ch2″> Chapter 2 – {Name of Chapter here}</h2>

<br />

<p><font size=”+4″><b>T</b></font>he sun went up and then down again.</p>

<p>Last Line of chapter and 1st part of book here.</p>

<mbp:pagebreak />

<center>

<hr />

<font size=”+4″>BOOK II:</font>

<hr />

</center>

<mbp:pagebreak />

<h2 id=”Ch1_1″>Chapter 1 – {Name of Chapter here}</h2>

<br />

<p><font size=”+4″><b>S</b></font>arah found a wonderful shade next to the elephange</p>

<p>Last line of Chapter here.</p>

<mbp:pagebreak />

<h2 id=”Ch1_2″>Chapter 2 – {Name of Chapter here}</h2>

<br />

<p><font size=”+4″><b>W</b></font>ater fell down from the elephant into her eyes</p>

<p>Last line of Chapter here and last line of the entire book. Hurray! You’re finished! Good job!<br />

<br />

<br />

<p align=”center”><strong><em>The End</em></strong></p>

<hr />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<h2 id=”Glossary”>Glossary of Terms</h2>

<p><strong>Magic:</strong> Used thooughout the entire Novel to make things sparkle and look pretty.<br />

Examples of certain techniques:

<ul>

<li>Song ability</li>

<li> Animal ability</li>

<li> Water ability</li>

</ul>

<p><strong>Poor:</strong> An individual in a state of despair and desperation.</p>

<hr />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<h2 align=”center”>About the Author</h2>

<p> </p>

<p>Lori Jones is an instructor for elephant painting and dancing

<hr />

<mbp:pagebreak />

<center>

<h1>Other Books</h1>

Elephant? Where are you?<br>

<br>

<strong><font size=”3″>(Coming Soon…)</font></strong><br>

Elephant – Together at Last<br>

Mice and Elephant<br>

<br>

<br>

<strong><font size=”4″>The Tusk Series</font></strong><br>

<br>

Tusk – White and Shiny!<br>

<br>

</center>

<a name=”cover”/><img src=”http://www.zhollis.com/images/TheMadewebsite.jpg” alt=”TheMade” longdesc=”TheMade.htm”>

</body>

</html>

Okay. So, that’s what I used for my three (3) books for formatting. I hope this helps you guys out there with formatting from MSWord to HTML a little easier.

Note: the image html would look more like:

<a name=”cover”/><img src=”[imagenamehere].jpg” alt=”[ImageNameHere]”>

To see what it will look like, click <<here>>

Until next time…

Smashwords…Here I am! And…here I go…to Researching Writing Software

I’ve took the time to reformat my books to Smashwords submission process. They require a Microsoft Word format using Bookmarks and Hyperlinks for the Table of Contents. So now I have four (4) versions of my book: 1) HTML format, 2) Kindle format, 3) PDF format and 4) Smashword format.

It’s taken months in between to figure out where I wanted to send my books and if I wanted to do the formatting for them and when to do all of it.

I’m hoping a standard format will come soon, because it’s been a pain to re-format my books to each, individual publisher’s requirements. Maybe the standard might be epub (something I just recently found out about a few weeks ago while researching on the web to find some kind of software that, with a push of a button, it would recreate my books to whatever format the publisher wanted).

ePub

What is ePub? Well, from what I found out, ePub is short for “electronic publication” and it’s a format that allows eReaders like Barnes & Nobles Nook and Sony Reader to read it. A list of devices that support the ePub format is at wikiMobileRead. What it is, is a creation of XML files (mostly XHTML) all zipped up together. It basically makes a file for Every-Single-Chapter of your book. Take a look at a picture of it at addictivetips.

I’ve looked occasionally at MobileRead.com to see what the programmers have to say about all these different “e” stuff, and that’s where I begin to hope for a STANDARD eBOOK FORMAT.

There was one particular forum that someone was asking for a software that produced multi-format ebooks. One person replied stating: “…I have to consult my notes each time I do my conversions, to keep the differences in format conversion processes straight. If I worked in large volumes, I could see it driving me crazy…

He went on to talking about keeping up with sooo many formats:

…my biggest concern would be how well this tool could adapt to changing format standards (or how they were used by the end-user) over time. And with multiple formats to be concerned about, any little change in one of a half-dozen formats (or how an e-reader reads them) could require major rewriting of the tool.

A suggestion: Another way to look at this might be from the other end of the conversion process, that is, the reader end. As opposed to a universal SW (software) tool that converts and exports from one standard format (say, XHTML) to multiple formats, maybe there should be a set of clear guidelines for the e-reader of whatever HW/SW type to import and convert 1-2 standard formats to their proprietary format. In other words, rules that dictate how the elements in the original standard format must be read on the end-user’s e-reader, and the e-reader itself does the conversion.

The advantage to this plan is that it does not require the SW tool to adjust every time a new e-reader or doc format comes along, which can be costly and logistically challenging for the standards body, at best. Instead, it is up to the e-reader to conform to the guidelines.

This still allows the consumer the ultimate freedom, that is, to decide which e-reader they want to use based on features. And all that your group needs to be concerned about is the standard format, and the conversion guidelines, and you’re done.

Yeah, I know, I quoted a lot, but I liked the way he put his thoughts out there on a multi-format ebooks. To create a one-for-all type of software to convert everything would be a nightmare for programmers, thus it’s better if everyone just came to an agreement on ONE FORMAT.

ePub Conversion Software

So, then I research the MobileRead forum for software that would help you create the epub format that… uh…I didn’t have to buy.

I came to this listings:

  • Calibre
  • eCub
  • ePubHub

Calibre seems to be the most popular. Adobe InDesign can do it too. A list of other software on “How can I create ePub files from my books?” is at LexCycle.

And why was I looking at ePub? I mean, I already sent my books over in the other acceptable formats for the publishers. So, I don’t need to do the ePub thing (which I haven’t); but I really just stumbled into it.

WRITING SOFTWARE

Storyist

Well, I was first looking for that darn software that can convert my book to all the types of format requirements that all the different publishers wanted. I ran across Storyist that has now added the conversion export for the Kindle format. And as I researched if I wanted this thing, and decided I did want it since it looked like it had so many neat features to keep all your data for your research and files that I make when writing a book (like character listing, a location listing with a field to type the description for each place and also helps me to keep track of them), I found it that it’s only on the Macintosh computer! Then I saw StoryMill, but that was another Macintosh software.

Scrivener

Then I found Scrivener, which, at first was another Macintosh software, but now it can also be used in Windows sometime in 2011 (the above link has a beta download). However, Scrivener doesn’t have a timeline feature, but it sure does have some neat corkboard stuff (look at a YouTube video of it). More on Scrivener down below…

Liquid Story Binder XE

However, Liquid Story Binder XE looks pretty good too, but it seems to be a lot more complex, and I’ll get so absorbed with all the features, and not get any writing done.

PageFour

Then there’s PageFour which looks to be simple and something very easy to use; the same as

WriteWay

or WWV), but WriteWay has a few more features. What I really didn’t like is that certain parts of the software isn’t available unless you pay for it. There’s a standard version and a professional version. It’s the only writing software I saw do that. And the price was really up there. It is quite similar to …

WriteItNow

WriteItNow, which doesn’t look as nice as WriteWay , but I loved the idea of the relationship chart.

StoryWeaver

I saw StoryWeaver, but the look just wasn’t there for me (you gottah scroll all the way down to get to see the pictures on the website).

Dramatica Pro

Dramatica Pro just had too much other stuff (mostly on characters and such) than story, and it costs WAY too much on how the screenshots looked (Liquid Story Binder XE “looks” more like a $200.00+ software than Dramatica Pro).

NewNovelist

NewNovelist looked very nice and it reads your story back to you or you can talk you story into it (says the webpage). I remember years ago when the speech stuff was introduced and it wasn’t very good, but like I said, that was over a decade ago. Things might have improved today (which it has…more about that later down the way).

Pricing as of Feb 2011

  • PageFour ($34.95)
  • Liquid Story Binder XE ($45.95)
  • Scrivener ($45.00)
  • WriteWay (Standard $24.00/Professional $49.00)
  • WriteItNow ($59.95)
  • StoryWeaver ($29.95)
  • Dramatica Pro ($209.95)
  • NewNovelist ($49.99)


FREE STUFF

You know me, gottah research to see if there was some free stuff that might be equivalent to what’s on the buying market.

I found a freesoftware called Jer’s Novel Writer Screenshots, but again, it’s for Macintosh .

Another free software is called StoryBook, but it doesn’t seem to have the actual “writing” function. It’s mainly to help you organize. I didn’t see a main workspace for writing your novel. It’s a great tool if you want to keep the writing and the characters/outline separate though. More on StoryBook below…

I found RoughDraft, but it’s not being updated anymore.

And then there was yWriter, which looks really good for a free software. The video in YouTube definitely explained a lot for me on this software. And this YouTube Video was hilarious (Evil Prompts!!) and was so true to what I wanted, and also mentioned yWriter. So…. I downloaded it.

More on yWriter

I went in and put every scene of my book Creations that I’m currently working on into yWriter. I currently only have 11 Chapters and about 2-8 scenes in each chapter–that took me several hours. I didn’t quite know what a “scene” was, but I figured anywhere that I put double paragraph space to represent time passage or a change of scenery or anywhere I put ***, that’s where I had a scene. A very NEAT thing about importing an entire MSWord document into yWriter is that if I had put a *** break throughout my entire document, yWriter would break out every scene automatically for me (I didn’t find out about this until AFTER I inputted everything in manually), and it would beak out the Chapters if it had the word “Chapter 1” for instance in it. If I opened a scene and it had “* * *”, I could choose “Split scene on ‘* * *'” option, and there you go. It makes a new scene from the stars. I didn’t know if it worked since it looked like it blanked my entire scene out, but when I closed the Scene window, it had the next scenes already in the list. You do have to retype the descriptions and titles for each scene though. But, when I copied and pasted my book Creations into it, I had to do all of that anyway.

More on Scrivener

After playing around with yWriter, I decided to give Scrivener a try. Heck, it’s free for right now anyway with the beta testing. I figure I would take a look. I installed it and it told me it would expire in a week, where then I have to go and re-download another beta updated software. That’s cool. I just wanted to take a look.

It mention a tutorial that would take 30-45 minutes. I was like, ok, I had the time for that. Hmmm. This is a Beta, so you can’t expect very much in instructions. I mean, there was no pictures. Written instructions can only do so much with describing what you should click and where you should look. I found myself re-reading instructions 5-6 times before I accidentally found out what it was trying to tell me. Needless-to-say, it took me about two hours to get through. And when I wanted do a “show-and-tell” and tell my husband about the software after I finished it, I forgot most of what I went through.

Back to yWriter

Bottom-line, going through Scrivener made me appreciate yWriter even more. I didn’t really need a tutorial for yWriter. I just jumped right in. If I wanted to find out more, I did a search for it later. Doing Scrivener tutorial also told me how the other software programs I mentioned Above would need a learning curve as well, LOTS of learning, especially Dramatica Pro

I had so much fun with yWriter, I decided to download StoryBook. Well, just like I thought, I couldn’t find, anywhere, where I could actually write my story. I thought I had missed something, but I didn’t think I did. If I did, please let me know, because I didn’t find it anywhere.

However, in yWriter, there is a way to write in a full screen (Just Right-Click inside the Scenes area when you have it opened and select “Full screen text editor”). There’s also a way to make a Scene or Chapter unused simply by Right-Click and select “Toggled Used/Unused”. An Icon will display to state what mode it’s in. You can make something else, other than a “Chapter” and change it to “Other”, which would work great to make a Timeline using the scenes. Hmmm..I think I’ll just make another post just about yWriter. But as you can see, I’ve chose yWriter as my tool of choice! It’s easy, I can jump right into it, it’s free (though I loved it so much, I donated), and it’s simple.

WOW! A long posting today, huh. It took me several days to get this all in and looking at stuff. But it was fun.

Until next time!

Gonna go play with my yWriter 🙂 My Bestist Friend

Tweeter button Facebook button Youtube button