We’ve mentioned the e-writing app Scrivener (available for Windows or OS X) a time or two, and some of our commenters have expressed fondness for it. Indeed, even my brother loves it and has been pestering me to try it; he seems to think that lack of Scrivener is all that’s keeping me from writing the next Great American Novel. I have to admit, with the things I’m seeing about it I’m definitely starting to get tempted to try it out.

On The Creative Penn, writer Joanna Penn blogs that she used Scrivener for her latest book, and that it was “a truly life-changing experience”. She lists a number of the benefits and useful features it has, such as the ability to drag and drop scenes into order, consolidate research notes into one handy place, and—what Penn calls a “game-changer”—seamlessly export e-books into Kindle and ePub files.

You can now create your own ebooks by compiling and exporting from Scrivener which is under $50, which once paid you can use over and over again. You obviously need to check your created files carefully but for plain text novels with little complications, this is a no-brainer.

Penn still recommends using professional formatters for books with complicated formatting or lots of images—but for ordinary prose novels, this takes a lot of the bother out of creating self-publishable works, and is also great for providing copies to beta readers.

That’s certainly less expensive than a professional publishing app, and if it doesn’t necessarily provide you with the same fineness of control over everything that those apps do, fiddling with fine detail may not matter to people who just want something that will look all right on a screen. (Of course, I don’t know how much fine detail control it allows, not having used it myself, but Penn seems happy enough with it.)

I think I’m really going to have to look into trying that thing out one of these days.


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