Software/tools for self-publishing books

dcblog profile image David Carr Originally published at dcblog.dev ・1 min read

I've recently published 2 books with Packt publishing which was an interesting experience but now I'm looking to start self-publishing.

My question is what software would you recommend/use for authoring books?
I used Microsoft Word with Packt. Now I'm looking the following software looks promising:

  • Ulysses App
  • Bear App
  • Google Docs
  • Scrivener

I'm thinking something web-based may be best then I can write on any device.

Each of these has epub export formats not sure whether I should care about the export options before I have even started writing?

Ideally, I'd like a tool that can create a table of contents that links to the chapters, can export to epub, and can help in making a manuscript file.

Would love to hear what other people have used.


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trendschau profile image
Sebastian Schürmanns

Hey David, just a little follow up, I am working on an ebook generation for my flat-file-cms typemill.net right now and it will be out in about 4 weeks. Firs version will be a pdf-export, epub will follow. Here is a little preview: github.com/typemill/typemill/issue...

trendschau profile image
Sebastian Schürmanns

Hi David, I did not use those tools or workflows myself but I know some web based plattforms like fiduswriter.org (more academic) or novlr.org (payed) or the wordpress based pressbooks.com. There are also technical setups (mostly with pandoc) that can do the job, or you can check self-hosted software like bookType or the newer PubSweet (both plattforms, PupSweet is more like a modular publishing framework). There is the famous leanpub, of course, but I am not sure if you can export and publish elsewhere. Other (academic) platforms are described in this nature article: nature.com/articles/d41586-020-009... There are also some experimental tools like paged.js, that generate printable books from html.

BTW I am working on a small selfhosted cms that should generate books in near/far future (like pressbooks), but the book generation is not there yet, so it won't help... (typemill.net).

Excited what other people will recommend....

dcblog profile image
David Carr Author

Thanks, I've used leanpub before it's a great tool. I may end up using that but thought it would be interesting to see what the options are. What I like above leanpub is you can use the web-based editor so you can just write.

I hated writing in Microsoft Word so definitely don't want to go that route.

Novlr looks like a good tool I may have to give it a try.

Just had a quick look at PressBooks looks very interesting, prices look reasonable too.

Thanks for the suggestions.