On Fridays, Write Publish Sell features guest posts from the members of the Write Publish Sell group. Join us at http://facebook.com/groups/writepublishsell!
Today, we’re pleased to have Michelle Cornish sharing top four tools for authors. Thank you, Michelle!
Without These Tools I Wouldn’t Be Calling Myself an Author Today!
By Michelle Cornish
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to write a book. Even in elementary school I remember thinking how cool it would be to write a book one day. In 2016, I decided it was time to stop saying, “one day” and just do it! It was like someone flicked a switch inside me. My day job as a public accountant was very stressful and for months I had been trying to sell my practice. I felt like writing was my ticket to another world but as a busy mom and business woman trying to keep it all together, I was extremely limited on time. There are four tools that I credit for the completion of my book: My smartphone, Rev.com, Google Docs, and Microsoft Word.
For me, a person who doesn’t even make calls on my phone!, to say my smartphone was one of the tools that helped me write my book is huge. Once I created an outline for my book, I got really overwhelmed about actually finding time to write. I didn’t see how this could possibly happen when all the extra time I had was at night after my kids went to bed and my brain was already fried from the day.
I started writing my book in September. My days usually involved about 80 minutes in the car between dropping my kids off at school and daycare and driving to the office. I had been using my phone to listen to webinars and audio books on my drive. One day I thought about using the voice recorder on my phone to dictate my book based on the outline I created. At first it felt really weird talking to my phone and there were a lot of “ums” and long pauses while I thought about what I wanted to say but as I recorded each chapter, I started to feel a great sense of accomplishment.
It turned out I could record a chapter of my book in only about ten minutes of recording time. As I finished the chapters, I uploaded them to Rev.com and had them transcribed. The service at Rev.com was amazing. Sometimes I had my transcription back in half an hour or less and I felt the price of $1/minute was very reasonable.
One day, I discovered Rev.com had a smartphone app. This simplified the process even further. I no longer had to upload my recorded files to Rev.com. I could record the chapter in the Rev.com app and once I was finished recording, I simply selected the “transcribe” button and my recording was automatically sent for transcription. It was super simple and I still experienced the excellent speed and service I had before.
Once I received my chapters from Rev.com, I copied them over to Google Docs where I started editing them. I loved this process because I felt like I got a little extra editing in thanks to the roughness of dictating and transcribing. I had to make things flow a lot better, remove the “ums”, and check that proper grammar and spelling were used.
I love that Google Docs can be used anywhere. I could edit my book at home or at the office and I didn’t have to worry about making sure I had a file saved on a jump drive (and with me at all times). Every time I accessed the Google Doc, I knew it was the most recent version of the file.
Google Docs was also really helpful when it came time for me to collaborate with beta readers. I simply made a copy of my Google Docs file and gave the beta readers access to it with the right to suggest comments so they could add their feedback directly to the document.
The editor I hired preferred to use Microsoft Word to edit my book. It was really easy for me to copy the manuscript over to Microsoft Word from Google Docs. My editor simply used the “track changes” feature in Word to make changes and add her comments then she sent the file back to me. From there, I could accept or reject the changes which made updating my manuscript really simple.
Another benefit of using Microsoft Word was that my book’s formatter also preferred to have the manuscript in Word. All I had to do was add a few more lines to indicate where each chapter started and the file was ready for the formatter.
With all these tools at my disposal, I was able to write and edit my book in a little less than five months all while running a business and trying to keep up with my kids.
Michelle Cornish is a recovering CPA with a passion for writing. Her book “Keep More Money: Find an Accountant You Trust to Help You Grow Your Small Business, Increase Profit, and Save Tax” was written as a result of meeting many people online who needed an accountant but didn’t know how to go about finding one (or why they should). Michelle’s current project is a thriller titled “Murder Audit”. When Michelle’s not writing, she’s hanging out with her two boys and husband in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada.