Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
As a self-published author, you need to find tools that will help you format the book and get it ready for eBook and print. This is especially true if you want to sell your book on more than just Amazon. Today, I’m looking at the Reedsy book editor for PDF and ePub formats.
It’s a free book editing platform that can help you get started in more ways than one.
While you can use something like Kindle Create for Amazon books, it doesn’t let you format the book for other platforms. So, if you want to publish the book at Barnes & Noble, you need a more flexible tool.
With the Reedsy book editor, you have an easy-to-use app that will help you market your masterpiece in more than one locale.
What is Reedsy?
Reedsy is more than just a book formatting tool. It’s a platform that provides a number of services to help authors polish up their works. Although the services from Reedsy come at a price, the book editor is free to use.
Using an online layout, Reedsy gives you the ability to work on your book from your browser. This can be useful if you plan on traveling a lot or want a safe place to store your novel.
Signing up is free, though the pricing for the different services can vary from one hired professional to another. And there are several benefits of using Reedsy, most of which I cover in this post.
If you need story ideas to get you started, you can also use Reedsy’s Plot Generator. It’s also another one of my favorite online writing tools to get a few creative sparks going.
What Can You Expect from the Reedsy Book Editor?
In this review, I’m looking mostly at the book editor portion of the site. However, I will touch a bit on what Reedsy offers in terms of professional help. I’ll go over that a little bit later.
As I am just looking for free book formatting that will let me export as an ePub or PDF file, that is my focus in this case.
Simple and Easy to Use
First, I need to point out how easy Reedsy is to use. For a web-based app, it has a lot of tools while making everything you need to format a book simple to access.
Compared to other book formatting tools I’ve used, this one has more of a minimalist layout. This makes it very easy to find exactly what you need without spending too much time looking up How-To videos.
Basic Front and Back Matter
Front and back matter are those pages that are separate from the story but still useful to the book. For instance, prologue, epilogue, forward, dedication pages, and the about the author page are just a few.
Reedsy uses a “switch” style activation for these pages with easy access to fill them out. Just turn on the page and write its content.
This is incredibly helpful as you might forget to add certain elements when you self-publish your eBook. Just click the “Edit” for either front or back matter and turn on the page you want.
If you need an additional page, all you need to do is create a new “chapter” and move it to the front or back matter section while changing its name.
Goals & Insights
A nice addition that I didn’t come across when using other platforms is the “Goals & Insights” tab. From here, I can set the target number of words, create a deadline for myself, or configure the days I write to enable better goal estimates.
It’ll also display the word count for the day as well as show a timeline. So, whether you’re writing on your own or hiring a ghostwriter or editor, you have access to productivity metrics.
And since I love data in all forms, this is an incredible tool from my perspective.
Built-in Spellcheck and Grammarly Compatible
Reedsy comes built with a spellcheck ability. When it comes across a word it doesn’t know, the app will give you suggestions or allow you to ignore the spelling.
You can also add the word to your personal dictionary, which I had to do for Textbroker and Photoshop.
As an added bonus, the book editor is also fully compatible with the Grammarly Chrome extension. This is exceptionally useful for me as I tend to use Grammarly’s synonym suggestion feature quite often.
Easy Editing Tools
All of the editing tools in Reedsy are quite easy to find and use. Simply highlight a piece of text, and formatting options become available. This includes a lot of the basics you see in nearly every word processor.
Because this is primarily an eBook editor, you can also add links or make comments to yourself or other collaborators regarding the text.
Easy to Collaborate – Ish
Speaking of collaboration, Reedsy professionals have access to your story and the platform keeps a log of changes. This is helpful as you and your hired help can keep on the same page, so to speak.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a way to invite other users. So, if you plan on collaborating with other writers on a single novel, I suggest using something like Google Docs to write and then Reedsy to format the book.
This is because Google Docs makes it extremely easy to collaborate on any writing project.
Copies Formatting from Other Text Editors
As I copied the text of my book to the Reedsy book editor, the formatting from LibreOffice transferred perfectly. So, bold, italics, headings, and other nuances didn’t have to be set again.
This is something I had to do in a previous piece of software, which took quite a bit of my time. This book editor did it like a champ.
Real-time Saving in Reedsy
When writing, Reedsy saves your file in real-time. There is no save button as it commits the changes as you make them. This can be quite useful, especially if your Internet service has a tenancy to crap out on a regular basis.
And I can’t count the number of times I’ve lost work after a power outage.
No Apparent Preview for Print
Now comes one of the more disappointing aspects of the book editor. Reedsy doesn’t have a preview option available when writing. At least one that I can easily find.
From what I can tell, the only “preview” you can make is by exporting your book and looking at the finished copy.
PDF, Mobi, and ePub Exports
Reedsy supports exporting your book in PDF, Mobi, and ePub file types. This means you can use your book in a wide variety of locations without it being proprietary.
Unlike using Kindle Create, which creates KPF files that only Amazon can use.
So, if you plan on selling books from your blog, through Barnes & Noble, or any other platform, you can save the novel in the most common formats.
Reedsy Offers a Social Profile to Share?
Like a lot of services and platforms nowadays, Reedsy gives you a social page that you can share any way you see fit. Essentially, it’s a small author bio complete with adding your social accounts and website.
Interested parties can follow your account while subscribing to mailing lists should you set one up. It’s kind of a neat feature for those who want a bit more of a professional social presence outside of Twitter and Facebook.
I tend to gravitate a bit more to social platforms that are more focused on a specific niche or industry. And I’m looking forward to seeing how much I can do within this particular website.
Sharing with Beta Readers
One feature of Reedsy that I’ve used recently is the ability to share the manuscript with beta readers. You can easily create a link the share the entire book and individual chapters.
You can also determine how long the link exists by setting an expiration date. This is great for creating a sense of urgency as you want to get feedback from your readers as quickly as possible.
The only downside to sharing in this fashion is that readers cannot add comments as they can using something like Google Docs. It’s a read-only page. Still, my readers have shared some valuable insights by sending me an email write-up.
Planning and Outlining Your Book
In 2023, Reedsy added planning and outlining boards to the book editor app. This means you can plan out your book from start to finish.
For instance, you can create a note to remind yourself that you need details of a specific character and then pin it to your manuscript.
This feature alone is going to help me a great deal as I write my next book.
You can add links if you’re doing research, upload images, and create as many boards, folders, and notes as you need. And since these are all connected directly to your manuscript, you can keep track of everything in one place.
Would I Continue to Use Reedsy for Future Books?
Overall, Reedsy has a lot of useful features in just the free book formatting tool. It, alone, is worth using for future books. Especially if you want something more than what a word processor like Word or LibreOffice can provide.
While I am still looking for that perfect piece of software, this one ranks relatively high for me. Between its ease of use, productivity tracking, and simple exporting options, it’s a lot better than some of the ones I’ve used previously.
There are a few things that I would love to see incorporated, such as custom front and back matter and a preview for eBook and print versions. However, these aren’t necessarily deal-breakers.
Just having the ability to set up the book, format it, and export a version that most publishing locations can use is worth the free account.
Not to mention saving notes and outlining your plots and characters.
I almost wish I used Reedsy instead of Kindle Create when I published A Freelancer’s Tale. However, I plan on using it for Kingmaker and perhaps the next book depending on whether I find a better tool or not.
For those who have a bit of money to put into self-publishing services, Reedsy has quite a bit to offer. And I might invest a bit at some point down the road so I can fully review what the app provides.
In any case, this is definitely a contender for my favorite free formatting platforms for self-publishing.
Reedsy’s Services for the Self-Publishing Author
Reedsy isn’t just a book editing platform. Its premise is built around giving authors access to various services from some very talented people.
I’ve read through a few of the profiles, and it makes me wish I had a bit more money to throw at them.
In any case, each profile reads like a resume, in which the professionals share their experience, location, and reviews from other authors.
Although the pool for professionals is a bit shallow, it seems that quite a few professionals are active on the platform. One of these days, I’ll have to pay for a service so I can give it a proper run-through.
Reedsy gives you access to:
- Web Designers
- Book Reviewers
Out of all of these, I am perhaps more interested in publicists, marketers, and book reviewers. I’m looking forward to testing some of these out later this year.
For now, though, I am very pleased with the book formatting and editing app.
What is Your Favorite Writing Tool?
In reality, I used LibreOffice to write my first book and then Kindle Create to format it for Amazon. This is the first time I’ve used a book formatting tool to create ePub, Mobi, and PDF files. So far, I’m pleased with how well Reedsy performed.
As I said, though, it’s only the first time I explored other book formatting tools outside of Scrivener, which is a bit more difficult to manage, and Kindle Create.
What kind of things have you come across that you would like me to explore? I know the Internet is full of useful tools, so, what is your favorite?
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