Since I’m independent, this means I have to do almost everything myself. When I’m done writing the story and it’s about to go to book form, that’s also all down to me. If I were traditionally published, there would be others doing the work for me (and screwing me quite a bit out of my royalties and intellectual property (IP) but that’s a different thing). I’m independently published so I have to do the vast majority of the work – for better or worse. By the way, none of this is a “must have”, it’s simply what I use.
Tech I use:
SuperNote A5X – This is to do hand-edits. The old method was print out all my double-spaced pages of a story (which can be about 100-200+ pages per work), staple them all together (by chapter or by brute force – I shall staple them, paper bulk means nothing to me except “slam harder”), sit down somewhere with a pen and go word by word, line by line. I have spare paper on the side in case I want to add extra scenes. Then when I’m done, I type up the corrections and additions, scan the hand-edits in and then shred them because I’ve zero space to put them. That’s a lot of dead trees. Also, thanks to the Pandemic (that is still on-going at the time of this post), physical stuff like paper and printers are not as reliable as prior. The SuperNote is supposed to cut that out, allow me to do hand edits on the e-note device (I made sure to pick an e-note device that would imitate pen and paper. I don’t care about fancy nonsense, just replicate pen and paper). That cuts out printing, scanning and shredding. I had a bit of a taxing time over their stylus because I accidentally took off the screen protector – which I learned I didn’t like much anyways – and they had a ceramic nib (which can hurt the screen without the protector) and I wanted a stylus that erased. That was an entire saga. Either way, SuperNote is what I use. It is hella expensive so definitely do your research if you want to go the e-note route. They have a smaller version, the A6X, which is still pricy. You can choose if you want a protective cover, the stylus (ugh). Mine has a ceramic stylus and the blue canvas cover. ($500, mine; A5X – $415-$569; A6X – $299-$449)
Acoustica 7 (Acon Digital) – This is for editing audiobooks. Just like Affinity Serif, it is a “pay once and you’re done”. I do not want to pay subscription to anything. Especially not to something that should not ever be a subscription. Acoustica has a month long trial period where you can try Standard (Recommended) and Premium. Always start in Standard, so you can see if you actually do need the extra bells and whistles. I learned that I do but Standard is amazing. It has a de-esser (for sibilance, s-noises), a de-clicker (for mouth noises, mouth clicks and crackles), etc etc. I really recommend Acoustica, it is a great replacement for Adobe Audition. ($60 Standard/$200 Premium)
MP3Tag – This is to put metadata on my completed audiobooks. Findaway Voices will do it for me but when it comes to sending versions to my editor, narrator and artist or reviewers, I want it to look like a finished product when they play it themselves on their devices. This means the work has “album art”, track number, etc. (Free)
Calibre – This is for editing and making e-books. I really had a bit of a hard time with it at first and I have a coding/tech background so definitely take your time. Calibre is a little finicky but it works. I did have an epub check site I would visit but that’s down, a site to check and make sure my ebook will pass clearance for online book stores and see where correction is needed. Still looking for a replacement there. Calibre is free to use. (Free)
Serif Affinity Publisher – This is for formatting books into physical form. This is a great replacement for Adobe’s InDesign because it has everything you need and it is a “pay once and you’re done”. I strongly recommend getting the accompanied workbook because it is a step-by-step guide on how to run their program. I used to be massively frustrated by how anything worked on the program, even with help from the internet, but the workbook super helped. They even have a chapter on formatting books, it’s wonderful. This is where I start adding wild fonts and mod the formatting from Word. It is also how I make covers, with the fancy typesets. ($50 software, $50 workbook)
Zen Writer – I love Zen Writer for putting my longhand works into typed form. It’s distraction free and really nice. I don’t want to see squiggles, I want to just get the words on the screen, that’s it. Zen writer does that and gives sound effects, music, and calming pictures in the background. It provides a whole experience. When I’m done, I can download the file or copypasta it into Word. $14 (when I bought it, pay once and done) but worth every penny. ($14)
Libre Office (Free)/Microsoft Word (Not Free) – This is where my works go after Zen Writer. I mainly use it as, well, a word processor. I let spell checker run riot. I do the basic formatting that I would prefer to see in my books, where the indents should go, stuff like that. It’s just the bare bones story, no flair, nothing much. It’s also how I send copies of the work to my editor, cover artist and narrator. It’s how I turn my work into .pdf so that I can do hand-edits. And it’s how I turn my books into ebooks, pumping the word doc into Calibre, or physical books, dumping the word doc into Affinity.
Wacom One Stylus/Lamy Al Star Stylus – Affordable ($30-ish), better than what Ratta Supernote put out, has an actual eraser button, nice handling. I use it on the SuperNote. I also have a pointed nib Lamy Al-Star Stylus (which also has an eraser button) but I prefer the Wacom One. I wish it had a cap, tho (Wacom One, $30. Lamy, $75 (I got mine for $38 but the price went up in several places))
Ultrasonic cleaner – This is for my fountain pen to clean out as much ink as humanly possible because I write sometimes with glitter/shimmer ink, which can clog the nibs, and because my pen isn’t used for long stretches of time sometimes so it isn’t a good idea to have ink crud just sitting there. I want my pen to be get-up-and-go, so I take care of it to be that way. This is an extra tool, not needed. I don’t want to use the running water so ultrasonic cleaner it is. It’s a huge bath of water that I can throw my nib into, press a button, and call it a day ($25)
Honorable Mention: My phone, a Galaxy Note 9. I use the stylus to scribble down story ideas and other stuff on the go. It super helps so I can keep track of ideas as I walk about. I just have to take out my stylus, write on the dark screen without ever having to open my phone and I’m done. I can do story idea, sketches, etc etc. I don’t like to type my ideas, it feels like a disconnect between my brain and the (digital) page.
Honorable Mention 2: My electric, warming hand massager. I’m a writer. I’m getting old. I need to massage my hand and heat it because I’m a writer and I’m getting old. It is a massager that is meant for both hands, the thumb sticks out (which I like), thus it is for the palm mainly. I type. I write. This, I need. It’s also rechargeable and wireless! ($75)
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