Tools of the Trade

Recently I was asked “what are the tools I use to edit, write, and publish eBooks” by a new client. They wanted to know if I had any special programs that might help them out. Unfortunately, my answer was kind of a letdown.

I prefer to keep things simple. Which leads me to why I use Microsoft Word as the origin document. My dislike for Microsoft goes back decades. I prefer several other writing programs. Open Office is essentially Word but free. By essentially, I mean it is a better program. So is Corel’s word processing program. That one will even let you write an eBook inside the program and publish it in ePub and AWZ3, the current Amazon program.

However, no matter what you write a document or manuscript in, eventually you will send it to someone. Most require the document to be in a Word format or a PDF. Of course, you can convert yours to Word, but I found over the years that traces of programming is often left inside the document and when you take that document and try to convert it to ePub or Mobi or anything else, you run into issues.

Recently I worked on a manuscript that was written on a Mac. Now, every converter says it will convert a Mac document into a Word document. These conversions are often left with small details that don’t work. Details which can take hours and sometimes days to figure out.

As you can see, I go for the K.I.S.S. principle. Keep it Simple Stupid. Therefore, I use Microsoft Word to produce any and all documents. It is the king in word processing at the present time and everything is built around it. I don’t care for it, but I go with the program which makes my life easier from the beginning to the end. What you choose to use is up to you of course. If you find one which is better all-around then please let me know.

The main program I use to edit any manuscripts or documents is me. I do not rely upon editing programs. Often, they will lead you wrong. They are programed to find errors and offer corrections. These corrections are based upon someone else’s idea of the way I should edit. How I and my authors should write.

Here at The Pyrateheart Press we offer true freedom of the press. Encourage it. Which doesn’t fit into most of the editing programs out there. I don’t like editing programs by the way. They make for lazy writing. When a person writes, they often leave a whole host of errors in their first draft. I like this. This style of writing leads a person to truly read their own work and correct it after they have finished the first round.

As they progress through their early edits, what most writers and authors often believe will be a simple grammatical correction search, they are caught off guard by the flaws in structure, plot, subplot, dialogue, etc.

Most people, when you tell them you edit written work, think only about grammar. They think some program can go through your work and find all the mistakes. They do find mistakes, but often some of those so-called mistakes are necessary for the overall work to flow.

This is where I get tough on my clients. If they want to do their own editing, then they need to act like they are an editor. If all they want is proofreading, then they must forget it is their work and attack it with a red pen as harshly as a good proofreader will do.

I suggest they read college manuscripts on writing. On the English language itself. Learn about how to use the different forms of writing. Learn – period. This is what I have done for the last five years. It’s a hard thing to learn about. The English language and its proper use allow a writer to learn how to misuse it as well. How it takes the wrong things to make a story flow, to stand out, to feel right for the period you are writing in.

If there was ever a true saying, it’s this. For every rule in English there is an exception. Learn these and use them. It will be a continuing education I can assure you.

Do we still make mistakes? Yes, but they are so small few find them. We do. Sometimes a little late but we do find them.

Moving towards another part of putting together an eBook is pictures. I hate pictures. I haver tried all the programs from A to Z. Most require a great deal of familiarity with the programs to use them in a manner you are looking for. The familiarity of an artist.

So, instead of using Adobe or Corel or any of the same things in free form, we use Canva. Canva.com is essentially built for laymen such as me. I can take a picture, download, edit it, craft, or create it, and insert it into a Word document with a bit more ease than any of the others.

Which is all I am looking for. Ease of use. If I can take a picture, insert it into a Word document and have it converted properly into an eBook format without fuss, then I am all over it.

I’m Ross, the Editor-in-Chief at The Pyrateheart Press and I’m out.

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