Writing and promoting your novel on the Note II
With the popularity of literature festivals on the rise, we show you how to buy, read, write, plan and publish books on your Samsung GALAXY Note II.
Bath Literature Festival kicks off on this March for 10 days, with 50 events featuring famous authors such as J.K. Rowling, Hilary Mantel, P.D. James, Darcey Bussell, Sandi Toksvig, Robert Fisk, Gavin Esler, A.N. Wilson, Allan Little and Ben Goldacre.
To celebrate this literary love-in we thought we'd show you the best places to use your Samsung GALAXY Note II to source and read books. But not only that, if you have literary aspirations of your own, your Note II will also provide you with great tools to write, structure plots, promote and even sell your written creations on the move.
Here are the Android apps no book lover, or book writer, should be without:
Finding, buying books
Seen a book advertised you fancy? Why wait until you visit a bookshop or wait in for it to be delivered? Nowadays most books are available for you to download to your phone ready for you to read it almost instantly. And the Note II’s large screen is perfect for doing just that.
The Google Play Books app offers a larger book choice to download than any other provider, and the searchable index includes millions of free books. The reader part of the app will also remember where you are in the book, no matter what device you are reading on.
The Nook ereader app gives you access to Barnes and Noble’s range of books, magazines, newspapers, and comics and you can often sample something for free.
If you already have a Kindle account then you can still access and buy Kindle books on your Note II by downloading the app. You may also have use for Push to Kindle (£1.50) which lets you send web articles like news stories and blog posts to your Kindle app for offline reading.
Sometimes you just want to close your eyes and relax, so why not get the books you buy read to you? From the world's largest provider of audiobooks, the Audible app offers a huge range of popular books that have been given the audiobook treatment.
Not sure whether to buy a book you’ve seen? The Goodreads app may be the answer. Goodreads is a social network for book lovers, so if you are at a literature festival (or just a bookshop) and want to know what other people think of a book before you make a purchase the built-in barcode scanner will let you find what other people think very fast.
Writing your own
Fancy yourself as a writer? Well there are innumerable apps and tools available on your Note II to help you in that quest.
When you are writing a book inspiration can strike at any time, but if you don't capture the thought straight away all too often it is gone from the memory when you sit down to write. This is where you can make good use of the Note II’s functionality to get the best out of the many Android note-taking apps out there.
For basic writing functionality with zero distractions you could try the free Writer app – a great stripped down text editor with markup functionality that lets you save in plain text format.
A particularly popular app among writers is My Writing Spot (£1.85) – another clean writing app which lets you save your work on to their servers.
Typing on a touchscreen is made a lot easier using Swiftkey, which adapts to your writing style and predicts the word you are typing, meaning that you often only have to type two letters before the word appears as one of three choices for you to click on and move onto the next word. It's the best-selling Android app of 2012 for good reason and you can get a free trial for a month to see if it’s for you.
If you want to make use of Samsung’s S Pen to write handwritten notes you could try out Write – the self-styled word processor for handwriting with an impressive set of tools for editing and navigating handwritten documents. Another handwritten-note capturer is Genial Writing 2, which lets you backup your notes to a cloud service like Dropbox.
And don’t forget about the Note II’s microphone – perfect for catching notes and thoughts on the run. Downloading an app like Easy Voice Recorder will let you take advantage of being able to record in various formats and storing your recordings in folders.
If you want to write your ideas stamped with a date, Diaro is a free password-protected diary app you can use to write down notes ordered by when you thought of them. It has a good search function too to quickly find a certain note. If, instead, you are a fan of colour-coded tabbed note-making in a binder format you could also try out My Binder: Tabbed Notes to jump to the notes you want to get to fast.
Project management tools
As well as just writing, to create a successful book you need to plan it – creating a plot structure and characters. It's always a good idea to map out your full story before you start writing.
One useful project management tool for this is MindJet which lets you brainstorm your ideas and plan out relationships between characters.
If you like to mindmap your ideas – Mindomo is another good way of visualising what is happening to who and what the consequences may be on other characters.
If you’ve used index cards to plot out your stories in the past you can recreate this on your Note II using the free CardBoard Novels. It even provides layouts for Four-act structure, Character Archetypes, Character Details, Hero's Journey and Scene ideas and breakups.
The free Outliner app provides you with a checklist to ensure you are following your writing schedule as set by you. This is a good way or ensuring you are getting the necessary work done in a timely order.
Another handy daily tasks reminder is Habit Streak.
Proofing and fact checking
We all need to consult word tools like the Advanced English and Thesaurus app occasionally. And if you aren’t sure what a new phrase being bandied about really means or want to keep up to date with the latest lingo, it’s worth checking out the Urban Dictionary app.
When it comes to proofing, you can just sit and read through your work, but nothing points out a mistake faster than having it read to you. The free app Classic Text to Speech Engine will let you listen to your work to spot those bad words and sentences. You even have a choice of 40 different voices for it to be read to you in.
Converting to epub format
If you want to sell your work as an ebook, unless you have been using an app that saves it in the correct format, you will need to convert your writings into the correct format for ebooks – usually ePub. Ebook converter (£1.62) will do this for you on your phone.
Be warned though, sometimes on conversion there are formatting issues. Fortunately there are people like the Firsty Group and RayFowler.org who will do an error-free conversion for you for a small fee.
Create an epub cover
Much like with traditional books, people do still judge a book by its cover, so it’s important you make sure yours stands out from the crowd.
A quick way to get an idea of how you want it to look is to scan current listings of ebooks on Google Play and Amazon and see what stands out. Once you have an idea, it’s worth using a good picture editing tool like PicSay Pro (£2.99) or the free version to really make that cover look good.
There are also quick and simple ebook cover creators online like Instant Cover Creator, but remember to take your time over making it for maximum impact. A quick fun way to make a free yet effective cover is to use Wordle to create a word cloud from the main words used in your book for your cover.
Now comes the time to getting your book published. You can go direct to the source and submit your books to Google Play Books to make advantage of Google's reach.
Alternatively there is Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing for getting your work available on Kindles and the Kindle app. They offer an impressive 70% royalty, global distribution and can even make your book available in different languages to increase your possible market. Or you could try selling on Scribd or Feedbooks both of which have their own communities of readers.
If you don't feel like going it alone there are various places to consider. You can contact agencies who will publish you book for you, usually for a fee, such as Indie Publisher Smashwords or LuLu Feedbooks. There are many more out there, just make sure you read the small print and are clear what is on offer and what your returns are. Good luck!