Book Writing with Reedsy

How to Write a Book with the Reedsy Book Editor App

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

One of my favorite writing apps for authors is the book editor from Reedsy. It has all of the necessary elements for you to write a book from spell-checking to creating goals. So, how do you start writing a book in Reedsy?

First, you’ll need to create a free account on the platform. And with all of the different tools that are available, it’s not a bad investment of time.

This is especially true when you consider everything Reedsy has available. Plot and idea generators, writing prompts, educational materials, and various free resources complement the paid services quite well.

Writing a Book with Reedsy

Writing a book can feel intimidating at first. But if you truly want to be an author, you need to learn to set those feelings aside and just dive in.

If you’re easily offended by negative comments, you probably should find another career path. You can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time.

In any case, writing a book with Reedsy is quite easy. You have everything you need in a free app that can help you craft a masterpiece.

Step 1: It Starts with an Idea

The first thing you’ll need is an idea. However, if you’re reading this post, then you probably already have one ready to go.

If you need an idea, there are plenty of ways to get one. Some people will use plot generators and expand on those ideas while others will take to things like unsolved mysteries and let the imagination take over.

I like the Reedsy Plot Generator, but it’s completely up to you and what inspires you to write.

Even if you don’t fully have the idea fleshed out, it’s still a good idea to start writing. As the story unfolds, your mind can fill in the blanks. It doesn’t have to be perfect from day one.

Keep in mind that the purpose of the first draft is to just get the story written. You’ll make changes and polish it up afterward.

Step 2: Create the Book in Reedsy

Create a Reedsy Book

Log into your Reedsy account and create your book.

When adding the details of your new book, keep in mind that you can change them at any time. So, if you don’t have a name for your book, create a project title.

For example, I used Kingmaker as a working project title, even though it wasn’t the full title of the book.

I often use project names when I start a new book simply because I often don’t have an actual title until I’m about 3/4 of the way through writing the first draft.

In any case, create the title of your book and click the “Write” button. You’ll be taken to a new browser tab where the Reedsy book editor app will launch.

Remember, you can go back and use the Settings function in Reedsy to make changes.

Step 3: Use the Planning Boards

Use Planning Boards

The planning boards are incredibly useful when writing any kind of book. You can save specific information for the specific book, such as research links or notes.

I use the planning boards to outline my stories as well as make notes of things I need to change. An example of this recently was pinning a note that reminded me that I needed to search for and replace a misspelling of a character’s name.

You can create as many boards as you want, each with a specific purpose. This will help you organize your thoughts, research, character development sketches, and so much more.

To add a board, just click the “Manage Boards” icon under your manuscript and click the “Create Board” button.

From there, you can add as many notes as you need to help you write and polish up your book in Reedsy. I say, “polish up” because I use the notes to keep track of things I want to work on from draft to draft.

For instance, let’s say I added a plot device that I completely forgot about in the first draft. I’ll then make a note in the planning boards that I need to either remove it or flesh it out a bit more.

Then, I’ll pin the note to the manuscript so I remember that I need to work on that specific detail in the book.

Step 4: Set Writing Goals for Motivation

Goals for Motivation

When writing your book in Reedsy, you can set goals to help motivate you. You can easily monitor your daily progress as well as the total word count of your manuscript.

Goals are accessible from the top right of the manuscript screen in the Reedsy book editor. Just click it and follow the prompts to set your goals.

This means you can give yourself a deadline if you wish. It can help improve your productivity when you believe there is more urgency behind any project.

As an author, blogger, or even freelancer, you often don’t have someone standing over your shoulder to make sure the work gets done every day.

You need to be accountable to yourself to write, and the goals in the Reedsy book editor can deliver that mindset.

Focusing on daily goals is what helped me finish the first draft of Kingmaker two weeks in advance. And the goals are also contributing greatly to keeping me on pace to finish the next book in a timely manner.

I don’t want to take two years to write the second in a series of four.

Step 5: Write the Chapters or Parts

As you start to work on your manuscript, you can set up chapters or parts, depending on the type of book you’re writing. The number of chapters you’ll create depends on the length of your story as well as the details of each “scene.”

How long should a chapter be in terms of word count? Ideally, you’d want your chapters between 2,000 and 10,000 words. But it also depends on what’s going on in the chapter.

What about creating parts in your Reedsy book?

So, parts can be used in a number of ways and are not necessary when writing your book. Some authors will use “Parts” as a way to separate major sections of a book for organizational and plot purposes.

Other authors won’t use parts at all.

When debating Parts, it all comes down to the styling of your book and how you want to address major plot points or scene separations.

Usually, I like to end each chapter on kind of a cliffhanger. That way, the reader is more apt to continue because he or she wants to know what’s next.

Now, all you have to do is just write the book.

Step 6: Add Front and Back Matter

Reedsy Book Front and Back Matter

Technically, you can add the front and back matter at any time. I just like to work on these toward the last days of editing the final draft.

You can enable any of these pages at any time by simply clicking the switch to turn them on.

The standard front matter pages for Reedsy include:

  • Copyright Information
  • Dedication
  • Epigraph
  • Table of Contents
  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgement

The standard back matter pages for Reedsy include:

  • About the Author
  • Also by…

However, you can create other pages as part of the front or back matter by creating a new “chapter” and then dragging it where you want the page to appear on the list. Then, you can change its text to anything you wish.

For example, in my case, I created a “chapter,” dragged it to the back matter, and then labeled it “Epilogue.”

Step 7: Share with Your Beta Readers

Read Only Reedsy Link

Once your story has been written, share it with beta readers. Reedsy makes this incredibly easy from the book editor in the form of a shareable, read-only link.

Not only does this give you a good idea about how well it’ll perform for the general public, but these readers can also help you fine-tune the plot in profound ways.

Especially if more than one person is pointing out the same problem.

Are you providing enough detail? Are the characters likable? Do you have any confusing elements in the story? Do you have the dreaded plot hole in the manuscript?

Your beta readers can help you answer all of those questions and more before you publish the book. If you’re self-publishing, you want the story to be as clean as you can possibly make it.

In reality, Kingmaker would have been a much different book if not for my readers. And the changes that came from the experience simply made for a much better story overall.

There’s no doubt that each round of reading will prompt additional drafts. That’s OK; some authors will go over their books 10 or more times before uploading them to Amazon.

Your reputation is on the line, and you don’t want to publish something that is half-assed.

Step 8: Create a Book Cover for Reedsy

Create Book Cover
The Book Cover in Canva

There are a lot of apps you can use to create the cover for your book in Reedsy. I prefer to use Canva for eBook covers, even if I’m using my own images. Its editor is easy to use.

Or, I also have access to Photoshop, which I’ve been using since the mid-1990s.

The ideal dimensions for the book cover in Reedsy are 1500 x 2500 pixels. Once you have that image, you can easily upload it to the book editor.

For printed books, you’ll need to use a template based on the thickness of the spine and the overall size you plan on using when publishing.

If you upload your eBook to KDP, Amazon will help you identify the dimensions based on the settings you choose for print dimensions and the overall length of the novel.

Step 9: Manage and Touch-up the Reedsy Book

As you’re getting reading to finalize your book, go in and touch up any elements in Reedsy. In this context, I’m talking about the title, any subtitle you wish to include, a description or synopsis of your book, and the cover image.

Some people may already have this information present, but it doesn’t hurt to go in and make sure it’s exactly as you want.

This information is available to any professionals you choose to hire from Reedsy as well as the book itself when it comes time to publish.

So, you want it to be as polished as any other element of your book.

Step 10: Export the Book from Reedsy

Reedsy Export Options

You can export your book from Reedsy at any point. You can do this from the “Books” screen of your account or from the manuscript itself.

Make sure your front and back matter are exactly how you want and then export the file.

I’d suggest exporting it to all file types. That way, you can use them for various publishing platforms. Not to mention that it’s nice having variations so you can see how each one appears.

Especially if you plan on printing the book. You might have to make a few formatting fixes before the book looks right in paperback and hardcover.

I know I had to fix A Freelancer’s Tale several times just to get things to line up right for KDP’s printing service. But at that time, I was using Kindle Create, which was a dumpster fire of an app to work with.

It’s also important to point out that you can create a “back up” of your book from the Export screen. At the bottom, you have the option to click the “Back up” button to generate a .docx version of your book.

Optional – Use Reedsy’s Services

Professional Marketplace

One of the nice things about using the Reedsy book editing app is that it’s a free writing platform. However, Reedsy also offers a variety of services that are optional.

You can select certain professionals in the Reedsy Marketplace to work on your book, but you can also expect to pay several thousand dollars.

By arranging professionals by genre, rating, and more, you can find someone to help you with your book quite easily. You can also be part of Reedsy Discovery for $50 to help kickstart your book.

Though, I’m not exactly sold on Reedsy Discovery doing very much outside of its own platform. Still, it might have potential and is one of the few things on the system that doesn’t cost as much as a used car.

Additional Tips to Write a Book in Reedsy

  • Create regular backups – Although Reedsy is a stable system, you should keep regular backups of your manuscript. You can do this by exporting as a PDF or as a .docx file from the Export screen.
  • Use the Grammarly Extension – Even if you plan on using a professional editor, you can make their job much easier by using the Grammarly extension in your browser.
  • Leave yourself comments – When you highlight text in Reedsy, you can choose to leave a comment. Use this when you proofread to leave yourself notes of changes you might need to make.
  • Never underestimate the planning board – The planning board can help you hammer out details before putting them into your book. Plus, you can pin them to the manuscript to help you remember.
  • Motivate yourself with goals – Reedsy handles goals fairly well. Create some daily, weekly, or monthly goals to keep you motivated. I often set a self-imposed deadline to help me focus.

FAQ for Writing a Book with Reedsy

Can I just import my book to Reedsy?

Yes, the Reedsy book editing app supports various file types that you can import into the system. Then, you can make changes, alter formatting, hire professionals, or do anything else you need from the platform.

Do I have to use Reedsy’s professionals for my book?

No. In fact, you can export your book at any time in ePub, MOBI, PDF, and DOCX formats to use elsewhere. Your book is your book.

How much does a professional editor on Reedsy cost?

According to Reedsy, professional editing of a 60,000-word manuscript can run you up to $3,400. However, the actual cost will depend on the length of the book, the professional experience of the editor, and the type of editing you require.

Are Reedsy’s services worth using for your book?

Reedsy offers a slew of services ranging from editors and proofreaders to website design. Every aspect of creating your book is covered.

However, I’ve never used the services myself, so I can’t say if they’re worth exploring or not.

Can you publish a book from Reedsy without using an editor?

Technically, as long as you follow the publishing outlet’s guidelines, you can publish a first draft of something you wrote without assistance.

Nevertheless, not using an editor or at least a proofreader will often deliver a low-quality book.

How long does it take to write a book on Reedsy?

The amount of time it takes to write a book depends on how fast you type as well as the target length. Then, you need to consider editing and rewriting drafts.

On average, though, most writers will take six to eight months to complete a book.

Should I have an ISBN for the books I write on Reedsy?

While some platforms will offer a free ISBN, such as Amazon and Draft2Digital, it’s always a good idea to have your own. That way, you have complete control of the ISBN, in general.

Since Reedsy gives you an easy method for adding ISBNs to your books, you can add them before uploading to Amazon and other platforms.

What Are You Planning to Write?

I think the hardest part of writing a book is probably a toss-up between marketing and cover design. Both of these have more to do with getting people to see your book to make the purchase.

Not everyone is a marketing genius when it comes to self-publishing. And a lot of methods for marketing don’t work all that well for everyone.

In any case, the Reedsy book writing app is one of the easiest ways to get started without a monetary investment. Use it as an introduction to self-publishing until you can afford all of the bells and whistles that are out there.

Need help writing your book? Knowing how to structure your manuscript can go a long way to providing a better exeperience for your readers. Take a look at the Reedsy Masterclass for How to Write a Novel. It was perhaps the most influential three months I’ve spent for crafting my books.
Michael Brockbank
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