Scrivener, my goto writing app

I am finding myself using Scrivener, the writing application from Laureatte and Latte, for more and more of my writing. For a writing application I suppose this is good news, and to be expected. However, I bought Scrivener to write fiction, and now I am finding it useful for almost every piece of writing I do.

I suppose it is the way that the application can be configured in so many ways, many of which I still haven’t got my head around, that make it so versatile. Being a productivity geek, list writer and index card user, I find the virtual cork board a wonderful tool. The variety of export functions from html, epub to standard text formats, means that my finished work can be ready for its purpose. I am able to plan, develop, write and then publish my content all from one application.

I am using Scrivener for fiction, non-fiction reports, research, blogging and general idea development. The list is growing too, as I find out more about the application. I thought it was worth the cost just to write fiction, but now I am using it for most of the writing I do, it has become one of my best buys ever.

Just to balance things out, Scrivener has got a lot of functionality and it can be daunting to get your head around. But, I am a geek, and one of the joys of geekdom is playing with a piece of software and discovering what it can do. There are a lot of tutorials online and that helps, but just to warn you, it may take a while to feel comfortable using it. They do offer a free trial version though, so if you want to see what it can do, you can have 30 days at no cost.

If you want an application that will help the process of writing, then Scrivener could be for you. It was originally a Mac app, but there is a windows version available, and with a free trial available, what’s stopping you form giving it a go and creating something wonderful!

E-book trends to look for

There’s an interesting post about trends in the e-book arena that I’ve linked to below. They give 10 trends to keep an eye on. I think the main one, from a publishers point of view, is how an author can now ‘publish’ without the publisher. All publishing houses need to look at what they can bring to the table. The following are the most likely, but how many ‘new’ authors will feel the need for them?

  • Editorial expertise
  • Marketing
  • Advances

Do let me know if you have any other ideas in the comments.

Online Colleges


Amazon become publisher of distinction

The recent hiring of Larry Krishbaum show Amazon realise there is money in publishing their own books. They are moving beyond selling other people’s books and offering self-published authors shelf space too.

But will this cause a conflict of interest? Can someone offer publishing opportunities to everyone and yet act as a gate-keeper publishing to a high standard?

It seems the publishing industry becomes a little stranger each day.

Why did the freak buy a book?

In a very interesting post Michael Hyatt shares research on why customers of his company Thomas Nelson buy books. The research is really interesting and makes a lot of sense. The most interesting point is that price is actually low on the list… well last to be exact.

The problem is, his list just doesn’t resonate with me. I have never bought a book based on the list his research shows. In fact, if anything the over-riding factor as to when I buy a book is related to price. Can I afford this or not?

The author is the key

One thing Michael notes is that the author is not on this list. This is because the author, if well-known actually becomes the title. If someone is well-known and respected they become more important than the title. Although a good title and the rest of the list will still help, especially when deciding which one of their books someone will buy.

The celebrity cult

We live in a culture that is celebrity obsessed. I have tried to fight this. Honestly I have. I refuse to watch Pop Idol and other celebrity pop-culture shows. If an event is publicised because ‘x’ or ‘y’ is going to be there, I instantly turn off.

However, when I looked at the books I had bought, and why, I discovered something that chilled me to the bone. The main reason I bought books was because of the author! Give me a Seth Godin, Tim Ferris or Stephen Covey and I was there. Anything that had David Allen’s name on and it would be on my wish list.

Well that’s non-fiction and that makes sense, surely I would only buy books that were recommended by others and were the ‘right’ books to buy. But I was the same when it came to fiction.

Social media and the new celebrity

As for fiction I was the same, from Asimov to Iain M Banks and King to Herbert, I was hooked to the cult of what was widely regarded as pretty good. And there is the nub of the matter. To become widely regarded. Actually, the widely is step two. Step one is to become regarded.

Once you’ve discovered the most well-known in your particular genre and exhausted their catalogue, you need more. One way to find more is through the social net. The greatest gift Amazon has given us is the review. Okay, you need to weedle out the author’s girlfriend and the publisher’s niece, but once you’ve done that, you can discover authors who are actually quite good.

Why did the freak buy a book?

So why did I buy a book? Because you said it was good. Tell me, tell others, review.

Publishing predictions for 2011

I think 2011 will see the fall and rise of the publisher. If publishers take note of what is happening and embrace the changes that have been creeping up on them.

Ever since the emergence of desktop publishing we have seen more and more creative people publishing their own content. To be honest it has been going on for a long time in zines and other cheap publications, thanks to photocopying. But with the advent of social networks and digital formats these publications can now be distributed with ease.

For the first time in history an author can create content and distribute it direct to their readers. This is the digital revolution, and it is here… now.

So what role can publishers have in this direct to reader scenario? Well there are two areas that they need to address.

Publisher as service provider

Any good author knows that they need a good editor. Authors can write a good story, they are ideas people who can craft these ideas into an engaging narrative. But they need to be shaped and honed into the final, focused and grammatically correct books that they should be. A decent publisher can provide this as a service to the author, and together they can provide a product that neither could create on their own.

Publisher as brand

A publisher can draw an audience to themselves if they have a defined and strong brand. Publishers will need to make sure they have clear and obvious lines of publications for readers out there. A publisher who, for instance, has a number of good horror books on their list, will draw horror fans to their brand. As this happens, authors will see that that particular publisher has a fan base that they could write for. All this is emphasised in the socially networked world we now exist in.

As we head into 2011, I think it will be publishers who are able to offer both of the above, that will continue to play a role in this publishing revolution.

But then this is only my opinion, what do you think?