Writing About Writing: Tools of the Trade


“At last it is done!” I don’t remember what character in what movie said that but it was both passionate and tinged with madness, which is a bit how I feel right now.

Open Source Tools for Independent Authors is a short, FREE book on how to use free and freely-available open-source software to take your book from idea to published, complete with cover if you want it printed on paper.

The star of the show is OpenOffice (in whatever flavor) but the co-stars are only half a pica behind it. I detail how to use named styles, linked sections and templates to generate specifically-formatted files for the different publishing sites and services from one single source. This cuts down on editing mistakes and repeated content. The templates pull content from the content file, ‘other books’ lists from a single file and book-specific content from a book data file.

Plus there’s more! The GIMP and Scribus are featured on making covers and, in the case of the former, how to do very basic image manipulation and screen captures.

The supporting cast includes Artha and Golden Dict for looking up words and synonyms, Calibre for ebook formatting and Trelby for writing scripts and screenplays.

There are lots of illustrations and, I hope, clear-to-understand instructions on how to use these most excellent software packages. They, and the book, are FREE.


This is the only place it’s available for now because I want to keep it in its original (PDF) format. If you’re an independent author and you don’t have a ten-thousand-dollar budget, check it out.