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What We Wish We Knew When We Started As Indie Authors, With Orna Ross And Dan Parsons: Foundational Self-Publishing Podcast

What We Wish We Knew When We Started as Indie Authors, With Orna Ross and Dan Parsons: Foundational Self-Publishing Podcast

Today on the #AskALLi Foundational Self-Publishing podcast: What we wish we knew when we started as indie authors. To celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the Alliance of Independent Authors, ALLi Director Orna Ross and Production Manager Dan Parsons discuss all the things they wish they knew when they first started out as authors.

Topics range from community and professionalism to marketing, productivity, business models, and health. Plus, they will touch upon some of the big changes that have shaped the industry since the dawn of the self-publishing renaissance and the 2012 Kindle Gold Rush.

Dartfrog BooksThis podcast is brought to you by specialist sponsor Dartfrog Books. ALLi Partner Member DartFrog Books provides indie authors with opportunities for bookstore placement and promotion to more than 27,000 book clubs. Their self-publishing, hybrid,  traditional, and single-service publishing platforms are designed to engage authors of all types, at every stage of their journey. We'd like to thank Dartfrog for their support of this podcast.

And, if you haven’t already, we invite you to join our organization and become a self-publishing ally. You can do that at http://allianceindependentauthors.org.

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Today on the #AskALLi Foundational Self-Publishing podcast: What we wish we knew when we started as indie authors, with @OrnaRoss and @dkparsonswriter. Click To Tweet

Show Notes

About the Hosts

Orna Ross writes and publishes historical fiction, inspirational poetry, and nonfiction guides for authors. She is director of the Alliance of Independent Authors.

Dan Parsons writes the Creative Business series for authors, bestselling fantasy and horror novels (under Daniel Parsons), and a weekly blog for The Self-Publishing Formula. While pursuing his author career, he has worked for three traditional publishers, managed two bookstores, and listened to an unhealthy number of podcasts. Now he manages ALLi’s book production schedule.

Read the Transcripts: What We Wish We Knew When We Started as Indie Authors

Orna Ross: Hello everyone, and welcome to the Alliance of Independent Authors' Foundational podcast, our podcast for beginner and aspiring indie authors. I'm here with Dan Parsons. Hi, Dan.

Dan Parsons: Hello, Orna. Hello, everyone.

Orna Ross: Hello everyone is right. We are here this evening; we're going to be talking about the things we wish we'd known when we were starting out. And we were just chatting about this before we came on, and we're not going to be talking about specifics here so much as attitudes, approaches, mindsets, ways of going about the business, because both of us agree that the thing that happens at the beginning is you're carrying a lot of assumptions that you don't even know you're carrying about what publishing is, what production looks like, what the experience of self-publishing and putting a book out is; we've got all sorts of kind of forethoughts and assumptions, and very often they're not particularly accurate. And so, we're going to discuss a few of the things that we both, either or both, held when we were starting out, and suggest slightly more work friendly, I suppose, ways of approaching it and ways of thinking about it.

So yeah, as ever, if you have questions, just pop them in the chat and we'll try to get to them.

But, yeah, let's go back to the beginning. Just tell folks a little bit, Dan, about your start. How did you become an indie author? Where did it all start for you?

Dan Parsons: Well, I actually started out with the idea to become a traditionally published author as many of us do. It was 2012 when I started looking for agents and things, and yeah, I got really bogged down in applying for agents, waiting a few months and then they get back to you, and then sometimes they don't get back to you at all. So, I just thought I'd do the indie author thing to pad out my author CV. That was the truth originally, and I just found that I liked the control. I found that I was getting results a lot faster doing it that way, rather than going down the traditional route, and it turned out that I didn't actually want to go back. I had a few traditional deals early on after that moment, and I actually pulled out of all of the traditional deals because indie just worked better for me. How about you?

Orna Ross: Well, I was born in the dark ages when there was no indie, really. Well, there was a little bit, I did a print publishing run, way back, 20 years ago now, before POD was widespread. Lightning Source was there, but IngramSpark hadn't yet started. Print-on-demand was something quite exotic. And it was a really interesting experience, sold through the bookstores, went into a second print run, and all of that, but actually all the administration around print publishing at that time was just way too consuming, with returns, and invoices, and all of that.

So, yeah, when Kindle happened it was really kind of interesting to me, and it took me a few years to jump on. So, in 2012, when you were setting out to do your agenting thing, I had just decided self-publishing was for me, and we had started ALLi because of course that's 10 years ago, and we're celebrating our 10th anniversary at the London Book Fair next month and online next month as well on the 16th. Put it in your diaries folks and we'll be in touch soon about what's happening around that.

Okay. So, back when we started, I think we both agree that one of the things that we were not fully aware of was the value of the author community itself. So, speaking for me, just to start, I used to read every book written about writing, first of all. And I used to subscribe to Writer's Digest and other writing magazines and, you know, the library was my writing community. It was writers who wrote about writing, because the internet didn't exist and that was it, and it was quite a lonely job in that sense, and you were relying on what the trade publishing industry decided was a good book about writing, and that was it.

So, when actually the whole internet, social media, thing happened around writing and all of these dynamic, and hard-working, and engaged indie authors started to come to the surface, it was incredible, because the wisdom up to then had been, writers just want to sit in a room and write, and actually what happened, what we saw really clearly, was that a huge number of writers actually want to talk to each other. So yeah, what was your thought around community or how did it affect you at the beginning?

Dan Parsons: Yeah. So, a little bit like you, I read early books and things like that. What I discovered when I was going through the slush pile process though, was that it felt very much like you were in competition with other authors, because there were very limited number of slots. So, everyone in the trad space, at least when I was looking at it, was quite protective of staying away from each other. And yes, you'd have writers’ circles, but everyone talked about craft rather than about the business of it, and that's possibly because of the state of the industry at the time.

So yeah, authors from a business perspective were always quite isolated, and because they were isolated and didn't talk to each other, they tended to be quite uninformed, and that's not the case for everyone, but that was my experience at the time. But then obviously with the growth of social media, and the indie authors coming together and talking, we actually spawned the maker movement, which I think Joanna Penn mentions quite often. And yeah, this has been the same across all different creative industries, and it's really accelerated the individual growth of indies.

Orna Ross: Absolutely. Growth in every sense, I think. There is the size of the community, obviously, which we see directly in the Alliance, you know, how quickly it has grown, how many authors are interested in self-publishing and in writing, and so on. But growth also, I think, in terms of the creative act of writing and of publishing. So, it isn't a competition now, it's kind of coopetition is one word that's used for it, but that sort of collaborative thing that happens that drives you to better. So, you don't have to necessarily make the mistakes yourself, you talk to each other about what's happening, and there's an informal mentoring that happens in ALLi, which is really incredibly amazing to watch, and it's not just at ALLi it's in loads of author communities all over the internet, where those who are a bit further ahead on the journey are always reaching back and giving the information to people who are setting out. The older the mentor, not older necessarily, but the mentor who's that little bit further ahead is so generous about making sure that the people who are coming up know what they know, and passing that on, and it's really incredible to watch.

So, for those of you who are starting off, and setting out, and at the beginning, and are full of questions, and don't know what to do next, and feeling overwhelmed, the main thing to say is this is 100% part of the process. That is how you feel. That is how everybody feels. You might think it's just you, but it absolutely isn't. So do ask your questions.

At ALLi, we have a Facebook forum that only members are involved in. It's a very safe, closed space. Anybody can ask any question, as many questions as you like. We don't mind if you asked 20 in a row, it's absolutely fine. Use that incredible resource of the author community, because I wish I had known at the beginning just that, that was there and that was waiting, I wish I had had it when I was starting out and in lonely land, it would have been amazing.

Dan Parsons: Yeah. I mean, if 10 authors all make one mistake each and they're all individual mistakes, just by learning from each other, you can jump 10 steps ahead of where you would have been if you were making them all yourself in a row.

So yeah, the one caveat I will say is, when you go down the learning path, try to aim for just in time learning, which is when you're learning about the task ahead of you, rather than just in case learning, because it's very easy to go down rabbit holes in the community, because as much as everyone loves to share, if you digest all of it, you tend to overwhelm yourself and have to relearn those things later. Whereas you could just apply the information in front of you to the task in front of you and you'll get going a lot faster.

Orna Ross: Absolutely, and everything we do in ALLi is divided across the seven stages of the publishing process. So editing, design, distribution, production, marketing, promotion, and rights licensing, and it's designed to be done in that way so that you meet the need, as Dan says, just in time instead of just in case. That's neat, I hadn't heard that one before. And there is that sort of sense at the beginning of trying to learn everything, making sure you don't miss out on something, like there's a golden nugget of information that if you don't have it, your whole thing is crocked, and it isn't like that. There are so many different ways that you can approach things. There are some things that are “wrong”, but mostly there are lots of different options that are all pretty good and have slight, you know, it's a weighing of risks and benefits.

And often, you can't know in advance, is the other thing you, it's learning by doing as well. You have to do it to see, does it fit your genre? Does it fit what's going on for you? So, yeah, that's really good stuff. Yeah, just in time, not just in case, I like that.

Okay. So, the next thing we were talking about was detachment and professionalism. So, can you explain to people what you mean by that?

Dan Parsons: Yeah, so I think this is a bit of a hang-up that very new authors tend to get on when it comes to things like editing and cover design, and things like this, where they're very invested in the success of their first book, expecting their debut novel to be a huge, best seller, and not realising that you have to get other people involved because you can't be a professional at every aspect of the publishing journey, and you need that teamwork to push forward. So, you need some emotional detachment from that project, and what you also have to realize is that book one doesn't typically make people a lot of money.

There are outliers in the author community where they make these huge five-figure per month sums off one book early on, but for 99% of authors, that's not the case and they actually need to build up a business infrastructure behind that book, either with more books or with a business to actually make it financially viable as a career. So yeah, if you want to build up your business, you actually need to consider the business aspects and not just the art and focusing on book one.

Orna Ross: Yeah. So, book one is an actual syndrome that every author goes through, has to go through, to become an author. You have to have more than one book actually. As you say, there's the one hit wonders but they're so exceptional as to, you know, you can just forget about it. It's not it. But every single author is a bit crazy when they've just published their first book, because it is such a huge thing. It literally is like giving birth, and you think like some mothers, you know, you're deluded, and you think your baby is the most beautiful baby of all time. No. And the best way to get over that syndrome, where there's fierce emotion and fierce attachment, and that attachment actually runs you into all sorts of trouble. It's a big drain of creative energy. So, when you're over-focused on that first book, you're not thinking about the second one, is the first thing. You're very touchy about feedback and reviews, you can get really upset and it can de-rail you, and so on.

Now, I'm not saying, and I don't think Dan is either, that there is necessarily a whole lot you can do about this, except maybe be aware of it and catch yourself when you see it happening, and as we say Ireland, catch yourself on, because it's something to move beyond. It's understandable, 100%, because writing itself, like writing long form is tough, and you do feel like somebody who scaled a mountain. You've got, first of all, this sort of huge adrenaline high, and then after that you've got the crash. And the place from which you operate well as a functioning creative is actually in the middle, in a much calmer sort of zone. So, I think awareness is the main thing to be aware of. Yeah.

Dan Parsons: Yeah, I am just as bad as every other author in this respect, where I remember my first manuscript, I printed it off, I wrapped it in a blanket, and did a social media post as if it was a baby. So, it is actually that feeling. But yeah, I think one of the best tips I can give people on this subject before moving on quickly, is setting yourself a time limit for how much space you allow book one before you start book two. So, you have to start book two soon after to know that you need more books to come out, otherwise, you'll get too hung up.

I think I spent a year or two on that first book, just trying to push it and market it, with not a lot of results, because I didn't have anything for readers to lead on to, which if you set up the business behind it, you'll have much better success.

Orna Ross: Yes, and also from a marketing perspective, with one book, you don't have the overview of your genre, usually, and you don't have a keen enough awareness of what the reader is getting from that book, or getting from you as a writer, until you move on a bit and you begin to get a clear or a kind of vision of your own value in your genre, what makes you different, what makes you stand out from others.

We have a question here just on this whole thing of professionalism, how critical is the ability to touch type to be a writer? Should that be the first thing I learn?

It was the first thing I learned. I went off and taught myself how to touch type, but that was in the pre-word-processor days, never mind pre-speech-to-text days. So, now you can speak your words into a word processing program. So, touch typing, I would say, is not as essential as it was at all. I would not spend a lot of time on that, I think, if I was starting out now. What do you think, Dan?

Dan Parsons: Yeah, I mean, as someone who's got an Olympus voice recorder and Dragon Dictation, so I have experimented with that a little bit, it is remarkably accurate now. So, I think mine works at 95%+ accuracy, and I'd say it's probably 98%. So yeah, you will get the odd word that will be slightly off what you meant to say, and it's possibly a little bit worse for me with the welsh accent, but it's fairly accurate.

So, if you are not a particularly fast typer, one, you don't need to be, because as long as you're fairly proactive and efficient with your time, you can still write a book reasonable quickly. Or if you don't want to go down the typing route as much as you need to for a first draft, then you could go with dictation because it is very effective.

Orna Ross: Yeah. So, it's not something you'll regret, touch typing, having said all that. I'm really glad I have that skill, but I wouldn't, if you're at the beginning with an awful lot to learn, it may not be your number one focus. The most important thing, I think, at the beginning in terms of writing is to establish flow. So, to get yourself your time and your space organized in such a way…as a book author, as a writer who creates books, you're entering the world of what's called long form, and so long form can't be written in a short amount of time, just by definition. It has to be written across time, and the most effective way to get through the book reasonably quickly, without too much redrafting, is to set up so that you are writing a bit very, very regularly. I mean, I would say ideally every day in small chunks, but that doesn't necessarily work for everybody. But to set up your time so you know when you're writing time is, and to set up your space so that you have complete focus while you're in that space; all the notifications are turned off, the family knows not to disturb you, all those kinds of things, and getting into the flow of writing.

So, you have to go deep, it's deep work and you need the time and space around it. And then making a sort of an agreement with yourself from session to session. So, Hemmingway, I think it was, used to say stop in the middle of the sentence, knowing what the end of the sentence is, so that the next day, you sit down, and you just pick up from that sentence, and in doing that, the point is that there's a carry-over from the previous session. So, you're not kind of reinventing having to go back in there each time. So, I would think establishing that sort of flow in your way of being is much more important than learning to touch type.

Dan Parsons: Yeah. One thing I will say to that though was, Hemingway also said, ‘write drunk', so I'm not sure if it was his choice that he got to the end of the sentence.

Orna Ross: He said a lot of things, but yeah, I do like that tip, it really worked for me.

Dan Parsons: Which one?

Orna Ross: The one about stopping in the middle of the sentence. Never write drunk, it's bad enough writing in the middle of the night and waking up and seeing brilliant notes that you wrote in the middle of the night, and it's absolute gobbledy gook, but drunk writing is poor writing, generally speaking. But I did like that other tip, which was about stopping in the middle of the sentence, because there's something about it that the next day, just bang, you're off again.

Dan Parsons: Yeah, if you give yourself a word-count limit as well, that's really good, because you know you have to get into the flow state to get to a thousand words, for example. So, if you're just doing 200-300 words, you may not have actually got out of the jarring early phase of trying to break into writing. So yeah, if you give yourself a longer word-count goal per day, it can help you get into flow state.

Orna Ross: Great. So, we might do something specifically on flow soon, because it's something that comes up a lot. But today yeah, we're talking about what we wish we knew at the beginning. So yeah, I guess to summarize the last topic, it's essentially to say that, thinking about yourself as a publisher as well as a writer, from the start. So, thinking about when you take off your writing hat and put your publishing hat on, you think about things in a very different way. So, bringing that in to make realistic plans, to have goals, to plan forward, to aim for consistency, and also to get help and to outsource stuff that you're not good at. All of that will help to develop the kind of detachment you need so that you don't get stuck in one-book land.

Dan Parsons: Yeah, and if you're thinking like a publisher, this is another thing that we wish we knew from the start, is the importance of branding. So, what a lot of us do, following our creative muse, is often we'll genre hop from one book to another, and we won't stick to one series. And I am a classic example of this, I think my first four books were in three different genres, and they were four different series openers. So, it's classic for a lot of new authors to do that, and if you have a publisher, like a lot of traditional authors do, the publisher will be the people who will focus you on one series, so that they're saying you should really finish this series before you move on to something else. But as indie authors, we have complete freedom, which can be both a good thing and a bad thing. But the one thing we need to focus on is, you need to build a consistent brand as quickly as possible, and the best way to do that is to stay in the same genre, or in the same cinematic universe, is the Marvel term for it, or you know, in the same series.

So, yeah, focusing on branding, you may want to keep all of your books for a certain genre under one pen name, and then possibly create a different pen name for a different genre, because that can really help fast track you. Even though you will have fewer books per pen name, books within that pen name are more consistent, you'll get better reviews and the right customers being driven to the right books.

Orna Ross: Absolutely, and there are two aspects to this, first of all, there's reader recognition. You want them, when they see your cover, to know exactly what you are, what you stand for, and this is another one of those, and that there's linkage between those. And it's also really important in terms of metadata, which is something we've discussed on another show, so that you turn up in the right place and consistently. And the more you are there, just having what used to be called shelf space, a bigger presence in your genre is in itself a good thing. So yeah, don't confuse the reader. You really want them, when they come to your website, when they come to your bookstore, and find you in an online bookstore, you want it to be very clear what kind of book this is, whether it's a book they like or don't like, so they stick around or they zoom off if it's not for them, that's fine. That's exactly what you want. So, you know, getting clarity around all that stuff as early as you can. Now, it's a process, and again it's learning by doing. Just by deciding, okay, branding's important to me, it doesn't just then suddenly, oh yes, the fog clears and everything, and you know what to do.

Very occasionally, just the conversation is enough. Mostly it's a matter of going through the process and realizing, oh yeah, I thought that was in the same genre, but actually it might be in the same broad genre, but it's so far from the niche where I am, and the value, and the things I was talking about being important in the other book, that actually it's quite different. And that's particularly with standalones, because not everybody writes series. I know the advice is to write series, but sometimes a book just won't come as a series, it just is a standalone book. And if you write standalones, everything is a bit more challenging, and the thing is that you become, the author-name becomes the brand, rather than the series. So, it's a different way of approaching it and both are completely valid, the sooner you can know which kind of author you are, the clearer everything gets.

So, I suppose what we're saying, what we wish we knew back at the beginning, how important branding is, and to give it the time to think about it and integrate into your creative process.

Dan Parsons: Yeah, absolutely.

Orna Ross: So, the next thing then that we wish we'd known about is what publishing calls the backlist, which basically means any book that you're not publishing now or planning for the future. So, books that you have written before is the backlist in publishing terms, and it was called that because in trade publishing, and it's still this way, the books that get the attention are the ones that are coming out this season, they're the ones who get the marketing budget, they're the ones that the sales reps are calling into the stores to talk about, the front list books, and publishing income is based on the front list. And backlist was always seen as jam, it wasn't where the concentration went.

Of course, that changed radically when we got print on demand and eBooks, because out of print was no longer a thing. All books are there forever now, and the “backlist” of books that you've written, you can decide you're going to, I am personally, my very first book I wrote 20 years ago, my first novel, I should say, I wrote 20 years ago, I took back from my publishers 10 years ago, and I am this year going to give it a blast because it's that 10 years and 20 years anniversary for me, but also the content has an anniversary, a centenary involved. So, I'm going to give that book attention, and that book will sell far more now, and the fact that it's a backlist book means nothing to me, I can put the attention there as much as I want to.

So, I think, yeah, what I wish I had known, I was very much imbued with trade publishing think, because I came from that background when I came into self-publishing. So, I did a lot of things that I carried over from what I knew about being a traditionally published author that I wish I hadn't done, and this is one of them. I wish I had realized sooner how important it is to keep all of your books going. So, I would stop. I would publicize the book and then I would stop, as they do in a publishing house, and wait for the next one before I would do promotional activity again. And so, yeah, that's what I really wish I had known, that keeping attention on all your books is possible as an indie author, there are automated ways that you can set that up to happen, and it's highly recommended.

Dan Parsons: Yeah. One note I have to add on that front list/blacklist thing is, I used to work for a large book shop chain, and they counted front list books as anything that was published in the last six months, because if it was published after six months ago, and it didn't hit a sales target, then they would return all of the spare copies, but if it was a perennial seller, then it would go into backlist, which was further into the shop where people could just discover it away from the chart wall.

So, the key thing is if you want your backlist to work for you, you have to keep pushing it to make sure it becomes a perennial seller, because they can actually sell just as much as the ones on chart wall, because some of the ones on the chart wall don't make it into the rest of the bookshop, they go back to the publisher.

Orna Ross: Most of them.

Dan Parsons: Yeah, absolutely. A huge amount.

Orna Ross: Yes, and this is the thing that a lot of people don't realize about trade publishing is that it's based on 80%, at least, probably more, failing. So, the publishing house will make money because it has lots of authors, and they don't care which one wins, as they know that they will get a winner in that season, and they're happy with that, and all their budgeting and everything is done on the basis that most of the books won't succeed.

As indie author publishers, we can't have that, we're going to succeed. We are determined. We are going to keep applying our attention I'm on until all of the books are doing well and become those perennial sellers, that's the aim. So yeah, that's something I wish I had known back when I was starting out.

Dan Parsons: Yeah. I mean, everything gets easier when you've got a backlist anyway. So, some things that publishers won't do is give away books for free necessarily, whereas if you're an indie author, you can use it backlist title, send it out for free, and it will bring new readers into your ecosystem to push front list sales as well. So, it can actually help either way.

Orna Ross: Yeah, the more books you have, the easier everything gets, there's no doubt about that.

And then finally, and we could actually do a year's worth of shows on things we wish we'd known when we were starting out, but we just picked this core kind of attitudinal things as the most important.

And the final thing that we both felt was very important is that everything, not only can change, but will change, is changing, right now. So, the idea that there is one way to do this, or one trick that you wish you knew that would solve everything, or one golden ticket, is not accurate. That really doesn't work. So, I see a lot of indie authors trying to, {inaudible}, so when they are having those conversations that we were talking about at the beginning, with the rest of the community, they're looking for a magic bullet, they want a short cut. They want something, and a sure win, and that's not how it works.

Dan Parsons: Yeah, a lot of people will actually dig deep with their heels on one idea if they think that it works, because they've heard that it's worked for another author. So, they will try to perfect that one channel whereas, the reality is there are lots of different ways to succeed in the business, and what I would recommend is if you're going to try an idea, take the 80/20 rule approach. So, try 80% of the effort and then see if you start getting results. If you don't, make it a little bit of a back-burner project and move on to another idea, because things do crop up and fall off a cliff. One month Amazon ads work really well, and another month Facebook ads work really well. There are some channels that take off and some retailers that disappear.

So, just because you're doing well with one thing, doesn't mean that will always be the case. So, you want to keep learning and stay on top of trends and things, because that's the only way to have longevity over decades.

Orna Ross: Absolutely. Yes, the cliche in the community is this is a marathon nauseous sprint sprints don't really work in book publishing.

I mean, they can work on occasional projects or whatever, but as a rule, you're not looking. So, it's back to that kind of more balanced thing we were talking about with the detachment and the professionalism. You're trying to keep balance for what will keep unfolding and keep changing, and you change with it. And I think keeping on top of what's going on, to some degree, just being aware of what's happening there in the background, but always testing it against your own personal definitions of success. That is the wonderful thing about being an indie author is that you can make this kind of march to your tune.

And especially now, we spoke at the beginning about the creator economy and other aspects to your author business that go outside of selling books, you can integrate all sorts of things now from patronage to membership, there are lots of ways where you can deepen your connection with your readers and also make more money from your words. But keeping that awareness and staying on top of things, I think, a general sort of awareness but most of all knowing what you need yourself, and what your readers need, and bringing those two things together. So, yeah, I wish I had stayed more core, when I think about my own author business.

Now, I'm not talking so much, obviously at ALLi, we have an absolute requirement to know about everything that's going on as much as we possibly can, but for me then to kind of winnow through that and to only stay with what is actually right for me has at various points been quite challenging. So yeah, I think keeping the awareness.

And also, I think on this, everything changes theme, when things go wrong, that's fine, it doesn't matter, it's changing anyway. So, you change. As long as you go in with that kind of growth mindset and change mindset, you almost can't go wrong.

Dan Parsons: Yeah. Publishing tends to go in cycles where you have ups and downs, but the more you learn and the more experience you acquire, you can actually trend upwards, even if there are ups and downs along the way. So, as long as you keep learning, you can keep growing.

Orna Ross: That's great. And one more question again, from the same questioner here, which software would you focus on when starting out, as a word processor?

The one we recommend is Scrivener. It's a fantastic book writing software, but there are lots of them. You're a Scrivener man too, Dan, I think, are you?

Dan Parsons: I tend to use Word, just because it's the one I started with, and it is the mode of least resistance, and I feel like anywhere I can take any resistance out of the writing process, it helps. But yeah, I've heard lots of very good things about Scrivener, particularly in structuring for different books, which you don't really have with Word. It's got bugs because it's not necessarily for authors, but yeah, if you find a word processing system that isn't necessarily recommended by other people, but it works for you, I recommend that.

Orna Ross: Yeah. So, this is the perfect example now of what we were just talking about a moment ago, because Microsoft Word, I absolutely adored it when he came out first, because before that literally cut and paste was cut the piece of paper and paste it back onto a page and type it back up again. That's how you did it. That's how you edited, how you self-edited, it was literally a cut and paste thing. So, when word processing came out in the form of Microsoft Word, I absolutely was over the moon, couldn't believe how great it is.

But I have completely moved on from Word. I don't like Word because you just get these long, long reams of texts. I just feel when I'm in Word I'm perennially scrolling up and down, forwards, and backwards. So, there you go, two people who have produced a number of books, who write all the time, like completely different software. So, we can't tell you the best software, we can only make recommendations.

So, yeah, somebody there remembers Word Perfect. Yes. I remember that one, which was before Word, I remember that too. They were exciting days when word processing started.

But yeah, give Scrivener a go, it's not expensive and it's a one-time license, and so you haven't lost a lot if it's not right for you. It's got some good functions, but yeah, as Dan says, the easy thing might be to just hop on Microsoft Word and start talking your words in, and off you go.

Alright. So, that is it for another month from the foundational podcast.

We will be back in April, just after the London Book Fair, or perhaps even there, I'm not sure. Possibly live from London Book Fair, that could be very exciting, could be a tech nightmare, we're not sure. So, we'll keep you posted but until then, happy writing and happy publishing.

Bye, bye.

Author: Howard Lovy

Howard Lovy has been a journalist for more than 30 years, and now amplifies the voices of independent author-publishers and works with authors as a developmental editor. Howard is also a freelance writer specializing in Jewish issues whose work appears regularly in Publishers Weekly, the Jewish Daily Forward, and Longreads.

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