210: Tools I Am Using To Write My First Self-Published eBook

My goal is to self-publish an eBook on Amazon by April 15, 2015. Writing is the first step to self-publishing a book and having a system and tools that you know and love to use will make the whole process smoother and more enjoyable.

My new self-publishing blog is at writethelife.com

The Tools Mentioned in this article:
Scrivener (Primary Writing Tool..Too many features but awesome)
Google Docs (Business Writing & Fallback)
Dropbox Paper (Fun & Cool)
Workflowy (Outlining…Magical)
Byword (Markdown for Blog Posts…Fast)

For Note-Taking & Organization:
Evernote (Digital Filing Cabinet)
Apple Notes (Standby for note-taking)

For Grammar & Editing:
Grammarly (Chrome extension, handy)
Hemingway (Web tool)

The Tools for Writing:

I love software and tools and I have nearly every popular productivity tool, but when I need to focus and get something done, I use tools that make the job easy and efficient for me and I want to be able to access my work across all devices. I like simple and do not need the bells and whistles of most apps, I need them to work quickly when I open them and not get in my way. I also like friendly user-interfaces and pretty designs.

1. Scrivener (Writing).
Scrivener is my primary writing tool. It is a feature-rich piece of software available on Macs or PCs and there is a great iPhone & iPad app so I can write from anywhere.

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Scrivener is used by professional screenwriters and novelists and authors and playwrights and poets, who write for a living. It can handle a book with ease as it was built for it. It has way too many features and formatting tools for me, but I love the ability to stay organized and just write.

I use Scrivener to write the scripts of my podcast, the lesson plans of my tutorial classes, blog posts and now my eBooks.

Cost: $50
Link to Scrivener

2. Google Docs (Writing)
I am a big proponent of G Suite and use Google Docs for all of my business writing documents like proposals and marketing and promo pieces.

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I find Google Docs very light and easy to just open up a document and start typing that I often find myself writing in Google Docs over Scrivener and then when I’m done I just copy and paste in Scrivener to keep things organized. If I am in Chrome or checking Gmail I usually open Google Docs when inspired to write and I like this flexibility.

Cost: Free
Link to G Suite for Business ($5/month)

3. Dropbox Paper (Utility Tool)
I include this tool because I absolutely love it for all sorts of nerdy and design reasons and if you are a big Dropbox user, this tool may be of interest to you.

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It’s built right into Dropbox now and it’s just plain awesome to write or create lists or checklists and is great if you are collaborating with others. Just a good tool to know about if you are a writer or creator or Dropbox fan like me.

Cost: Free
Link to Dropbox Paper

4. Workflowy (Outlining)
This is the tool I use to outline ideas and flush out a class. It is simple and lite and I have loved it since Day 1.

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I do not use it all the time, but when I do I always love it. I love the ability to create an endless outline and it always stays clean and tidy because you can drill down the steps and hide or show what you want. It’s called workflowy because it is so easy to get in a groove and crank out ideas and I really can’t say enough about how good of a tool this is to organize chapters in your book or class and it’s free.

Cost: Free & Paid Upgrades
Link to Workflowy

5. Byword (Markdown for Blog Posts)
I use this Markdown tool for anything I post to WordPress (blog posts and show notes). Markdown is an html coding language that allows you to quickly format blog posts that look good on the web.

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Markdown seems a little nerdy and complicated at first, but it’s incredibly simple and fast. Byword is one of many great tools for Markdown and it’s free and syncs to iCloud.

Cost: $11
Link to Byword

The Tools for Note-taking & Organization:

I am not as organized as I want to be, but I never stop trying to develop easy solutions for me to capture ideas and resources and be able to access them quickly. The easier it is for you to jot down an idea that pops in your head or remember a good article, the easier it will be for you to create or write a book.

6. Evernote (Digital Brain)
I have been using Evernote on and off for 10 years but have finally cracked the code and I’m going all in on using it as my digital brain.

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I use Evernote for saving all of my bookmarked webpages and I have been using it to capture my topic ideas and my to-do list. Evernote is my filing cabinet and Scrivener is where I will write the book.

Cost: Free & Paid Upgrades
Link to Evernote

7. Apple Notes (Lists & Tasks)
I still use Apple Notes for many tasks because it is really simple and I have used it on my Macs for years, so I have been using it in conjunction with Evernote.

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I write the notes for my daily quick tips in Apple Notes because it syncs instantly across all devices and it’s just so light and easy.

Cost: Free
Link to Apple Notes

The Tools for Editing:

8. Grammarly (Grammar & Punctuation)
Very helpful tool that uses artificial intelligence to check for grammar and punctuation errors.

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It is a free tool that you can download as a standalone app or use the Chrome extension only which is what I tend to use most. Grammarly is subtle and works in various places such as when you are writing emails in Gmail or you can simply copy and paste text right into it and it will check your grammar for you. Simple and powerful tool that I did not think I would like, but have come to rely on it.

Cost: Free & Paid Upgrades
Link to Grammarly

9. Hemingway (Sentence Structure)
This is similar to Grammarly in that it is an editor that you can use in the browser or as a standalone app to download.

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I use it in the browser at hemingwayapp.com. Simply copy and paste in text and Hemingway will mark it up and highlight it and give you ways to make your writing better. It’s also a great tool if you want to see stats about your document such as how many words, letter, sentences, etc. When it comes time for editing, it is always a good idea to have several eyes look at something, so using Grammarly and Hemingway along with people I trust is how I will edit my eBooks.

Cost: Free & Paid Upgrades
Link to Hemingway

Bonus: Popular Alternatives to Try

10. Ulysses (Scrivener Alternative)
If you have tried Scrivener and not a fan, look at Ulysses. I have tested it and it’s beautiful and intuitive to use.

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I would probably use it if I was not satisfied with Scrivener. Scrivener feels utilitarian and old-school, so I kind of like that. Ulysses is modern and simple and a solid writing tool.

Cost: $44 for Desktop Version
$25 for iOS App
Link to Ulysses

11. Bear Writer (Evernote or Apple Notes Replacement)
Another beautiful app that I have used and really like.

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It is a note-taking and writing app that is nearly perfect, but it’s just one more app that I do not need and I would have to pay for the upgrade and just not worth it to replace Apple Notes even though it is much nicer.

Cost: Free & Paid Upgrades
Link to Bear Writer

How about you?

What are your favorite writing and note-taking tools?

Can I Help You?

I create content and help people figure things out.

I make podcasts and videos that teach people how to make better content.

Check out my YouTube Channel

My name is Mike Murphy, I’m a one man band and podcaster.
Learn. Create. Move Forward.
@mikeunplugged on Twitter or Instagram

Written by

Podcaster, Tutorial Maker & Problem Solver. I Help People Figure Things Out. Email: mike@mikemurphy.co Podcaster Support & Content Creator @Simplecast.

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