Thursday, October 17, 2019

Tools of the Trade

Laptop, desktop, Underwood or pencil. Do you budget based on book sales, or do you just go for it? What’s your dream office look like?

From Jim, subbing for Catriona, whose latest standalone, STRANGERS AT THE GATE, bows on October 22. PLEASE order it or buy it at your local indie store!

I don’t know if I have a dream office, but this is the one that I’ve got. I love it. Even when the cats demand attention.

I do all my writing on my iPad. It’s lightweight and versatile, and I take it everywhere I go. That allows me to write at the library when I’m in the mood for a change of scenery. Or sometimes I go to the lake in my car, though the wildlife can be distracting.

Yes, I take my iPad everywhere. In fact, I’ve lost it twice at writers conferences and got it back both times. God protects fools, children, and drunkards, I suppose. I use a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard that also serves as a protective wheel for the slippery iPad. At the risk of jinxing things, the keyboard has kept my precious iPad safe without a crack for more than two years.

I use Word for the iPad for my writing. It works pretty much the same way Word does for any laptop or desktop computer. I’ve set things up to save on the cloud, so I always have backup. One bit of advice: don’t use the Autosave feature. You’d be surprised how simple it is to select all by accident and hit a key, thereby erasing everything in the file. Better to save before exiting or every so often. The program prompts you to save when you try to close the document. And don’t forget to save your work with a new name every day or two.

The iPad is a great way to remain productive when you’re on the go. I write in coffee shops, on airplanes, on the couch, and in bed. And I track my progress in a spreadsheet, also on the iPad, using Excel. This was A STONE’S THROW.

I still use an old laptop for drawing original graphics for my books. For my upcoming release, TURN TO STONE (January 21, 2020), I worked for weeks on the map that will be included. This is the seventh Ellie Stone mystery and it’s set in Florence, Italy, in September 1963.

I drew the map on the laptop, believe it or not, with the dinosaur Flash. I also drew/created these from scratch in Flash for some of my previous books.

Any of these jockeys’ names look familiar?

So the most of the graphics I make are done in Flash on my laptop, but everything else I do on the iPad.

As for budgeting according to book sales, let me borrow from J. K. Rowling: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha... (takes deep breath)  ...hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha... (takes deep breath)  ...hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

I try to be reasonable with my marketing and travel expenses, but nothing is based on sales.

Thank you, Catriona for the opportunity to fill in. Congrats on your latest release. May its sales dwarf  your expenses by a factor of a thousand.

1 comment:

Susan C Shea said...

I hear about the iPad's glory as a writing tool, and I have the Logitech keyboard, but maybe I have bigger fingers than you (or someone who shall not be named). I find it so frustrating to hunt an peck on a small surface and the results aren't pretty. Still, I think I'll take it to Dallas just in case the muse strikes.