Tag Archives: word

The Magic of Jutoh

jutohAs I said about Scrivener in my previous post, Jutoh is also a software program that can make you cry with joy or frustration…probably both. In both cases, I had to spend a lot of time on Youtube, forums, and the help page in order to figure it out. Other than the fact that they’re both extremely useful, the similarities end there.

Jutoh is a program designed to take your already written book from word processor format to ebook format, and it does its job well, including links, artwork, font, drop-caps, etc. You can write within the program, but I wouldn’t generally suggest it. My only exception to that might be game design. When I put together my game module, The Hologames, for Sojourner Tales, I outlined the game elsewhere but because of the intra-document links required, it worked well to do the writing within Jutoh.

jutoh sampleThough I don’t generally use the program to write, I’ve never seen a program that can compile ebooks better, especially if you want some professional touches. To the right, you’ll see an example of a book manuscript in progress. This is the way it will look in epub format. This is a rough version, and I’m not finished with it yet, but it should get the point across. I can use graphics in my title or with my title, drop caps are a cinch, I can customize page breaks, etc.

When I’m done assembling my chapters, copyright page, title, contents (all linked, of course), glossary, author page, etc. I hit the “Compile” button and it puts everything together in the format of my choice: epub, mobi, ODT for smashwords (yes, this is a little different), and a number of other formats. I find that running my book through Jutoh then sending it back to Word in odt even makes for a cleaner document to prepare for pdfs and paper publishing markets.

Loading a document to createspace or kobi can be a fairly easy process, but often there are mistakes that you won’t see until your readers point them out to you. After compiling, Jutoh has another handy button, “Check.” Though problems that don’t really exist might come up, it tells you that it’s not likely a real problem. And real problems always come up. Wouldn’t you rather deal with them before you send your book out to the world instead of finding something you need to fix months after readers’ annoyance.

Last, but certainly not least, is the “Launch” button. With the download of a couple of other free software programs, Jutoh allows you to view your finished document in mobi, epub, and other formats. I can’t tell you how many mistakes I’ve caught just by looking at my book as it will appear to readers. It may be aggravating to fix, but it’s nice to get that aggravation over and have the confidence of a well-done product when you launch.

Last year, I won the first-ever IndieRecon Live Total Package Book Award. I credit much of that success to Jutoh. I put in a well-written novel, and Jutoh helped me knock out a great looking format. The combination allowed me my blissful moment of fame.

How about you? What’s your favorite way to get your book out into the world?

Bio: Colette BlackAuthor Pic
Colette Black lives in the far outskirts of Phoenix, Arizona with her family, 2 dogs, a mischievous cat and the occasional unwanted scorpion. She loves learning new things, vacations, and the color purple. She writes New Adult and Young Adult sci-fi and fantasy novels with kick-butt characters, lots of action, and always a touch of romance.

Mignon Fogarty: Well-Used Words

A guest post by Mignon Fogarty

It’s a huge thrill for a wordie to come across a particularly well-used word; it’s like a little inside joke shared with the author. It’s not necessary to place these Easter eggs in your writing, but if you can, it’s quite fun for you and a certain segment of your readers.

Take “maudlin” for example. Any of your characters can be maudlin, but it’s a freakin’ home run when a nun is maudlin! The word is derived from Mary Magdalene’s name because in Middle Age art, Magdalene was always portrayed as weeping and downcast. As with so many English words, the spelling morphed over time–from “Magdalene” to “maudlin.”

“Anathema” also has religious origins and is particularly well used to describe something devilish or church-related. Today, anything hated can be anathema, but the word comes from a Greek word used to describe something cursed or devoted to evil. In the 1200s, the Catholic Church had a few different kinds of excommunication, and the harshest–proclaiming someone damned–was called anathematization.

If you write about Medieval times, you may want to use the word “bailiwick.” Today it describes someone’s area of expertise, but in Old English, a bailiwick was something like the bailiff of the village–the overseer.

“Egregious” also has interesting origins; it comes from a root word meaning “flock,” as in a flock of birds. The “e” is a remnant of a prefix that means “out,” so “egregious” means to stand out from the flock, which makes sense when you consider that a disruptive bird would stand out from the flock, just as someone who exhibits egregious behavior would stand out from the crowd. If you can smoothly work “egregious” into a sentence about the behavior of animals (or people) in herds or flocks, it’s a win.

“Galvanize” is related to electricity, “gall” is related to liver bile, “haughty” comes from the French word for “high,” and “inchoate” is related to plow animals. The examples go on and on.

I started being particularly aware of words with interesting origins when I began researching etymology for my 101 WORDS book series. You can develop your own list of words to use in interesting ways by browsing a dictionary or signing up for word-of-the-day lists and jotting down promising words in a notebook or computer file.

Mignon Fogarty is better known as GrammarGirl and her newest book is 101 WORDS TO SOUND SMART (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksaMillion, Indiebound, Powells)

A Writer’s Software Arsenal

The enemy of every writer is the same: the blank page. We each have different weapons that we use against this common foe, but being a programmer by trade, I tend to use software in my arsenal. Being my first post, I thought it would be a good idea to list some of the common software tools that many authors, including myself, use. Just to note, these are all my own personal recommendations and I have not been influenced by their publishers.

The Word Processor

Microsoft Word: ~$149.99 with office. (https://office.microsoft.com)
Openoffice: Free (http://www.openoffice.org/)
Google Docs: Free (https://docs.google.com/)

A common theme you’ll hear when writers give advice is to use what works best for you. It doesn’t really matter which word processor you use, as long as you have something you can use to write with. When you write, you should use something that is familiar to you and lets you work with very little thought on how it goes down on paper. If the line that appears under misspelled words throws you off your game, disable the feature. You can always run a spell check at the end. Just write!

Plotting:

Wikidpad: Free http://wikidpad.sourceforge.net/

When I first started plotting my books, I would create a lot of files in Microsoft Word and put my thoughts down there. As my novels grew larger, my system began to fall apart. Another author suggested wikidpad to me and it has been a huge time-saver ever since. It has a small learning curve that takes a little getting used to, but once you’re familiar with it, things begin to fall into place. As you plot out elements, you can quickly link to other elements and world elements. This can easily turn a convoluted mess into a well-structured system. The price is hard to beat as well.

Backup

Dropbox: Free http://www.dropbox.com
Carbonite: $59/year http://www.carbonite.com/

Computer backup services have been around for a while but still tend to go unused by many writers. Some claim that they don’t want their unpublished works stored somewhere online, while others just haven’t taken the time to set it up. As with any type of insurance, it’s not a problem until something goes wrong. I personally keep all my transcripts on dropbox. The advantages are numerous. I can access my documents from my home or work. I can start writing on my desktop at home, and finish from my laptop in a café with no worry of how to transfer it between the two computers. If I’m at a conference, I can pull out my iPhone and instantly pull up a transcript to show off, or even email to potential agents or publishers. One other feature I like about Dropbox is that it will keep a revision history. If you have a bad night and delete half the document in a fit of rage, you can go back and pull up a prior version, restoring the lost chapters.

I will continue to look at other software that may be useful to writers to battle the blank page. If you have ideas or suggestions, please leave a comment, and I may look at them in future posts.