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Evaluating Apps for My Next Book

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
1 min read

I wrote a few years ago about the apps I was using to build the A Lesser Photographer book. The challenge was compiling the 400 or so blog posts into one book.

Since then, I've posted another 500-ish blog posts. That makes about 900 blog posts to edit and compile for the next edition of A Lesser Photographer. Is there an app for that?

The problem is that there's too many apps for that. And I've been testing them all.

I gave the most attention to Ulysses, since that's what all the cool kids are using, including Shawn Blanc who created a great course on the app that I happily took twice.

Unfortunately, Ulysses still lacks a lot of the powerful features of another app, Scrivener, that made editing all those posts into a book so easy years ago. Scrivener just went through a major overhaul making it even easier to juggle all the addition posts. My app for editing the book is clearly Scrivener.

Designing the book is less of a struggle. I used a young app named Vellum last time, and since then it has grown into the default app for indie ebook publishing (especially fiction authors with high volumes of books). Vellum may be the best app ever created for self-publishers. The fact that they’ve stated they’re not coming iOS means I may never be able to escape old fashioned computers. I swear, if my current laptop died, I’d buy a new MacBook just to use Vellum. It’s that good.

So, the tools for the next version of the book this spring will look a lot like the old tools. But I’ll keep experimenting with new apps (because it's fun) and report back if anything changes.