Author FAQ: What Software Should I Use to Write My Books?
Q: I was curious what software you use for writing your books. I want to convert one of my scripts into book format and pursue creating a series of pre-to-early teen books, so I want to make sure what I submit follows industry standards.
A: I use MS Word for all of my book writing (picture books, short stories, chapter books, and novels). I've also used a screenwriting program which has a novel template. The script program worked okay, but I prefer Word because its files are more universally accepted -- the screenplay software pretty much requires the person at the other end to have it too. Ultimately, you'd have to convert the screenplay program file to Word anyway (to have anyone else read it) and when I had to do that there were tons of formatting problems that I had to go through and fix manually. Maybe other authors who use a screenplay book template can weigh in on their level of success.
With regard to industry formatting standards, there are a skillion how-to books on the shelf that show you proper page and paragraph layout, etc.
You're correct in wanting to get it right as I've read that an improperly formatted book sample can drive a prospective editor or agent bonkers.
If you have a question about writing books, send it to me via the CONTACT tab. If you have your own thoughts about this particular question, I'd love to hear them so please leave them in the comments.