How Does Reedsy’s Book Writing Software work?

reedsyguide - Last updated July 2017

What is Reedsy’s book editing tool?

The Reedsy Book Editor is a book production tool that allows you to effortlessly write and format a piece of writing for publishing. Our proprietary book formatting tool has already enabled thousands of authors to professionally typeset their books, completely free of charge!

Where can I find Reedsy’s book editor?

Our tool is available to any Reedsy user. As soon as you sign up with Reedsy, just head over to “My Books,” create a book, and hit the “Write” button. The tool is web-based, so you don’t need to download an application to use it: your data is securely stored online in the cloud. (And yes, we do back everything up!)

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How much does it cost?

Our tool is free, and will always be free.

Can I see a demo?

Yes! We made a video a few months ago that showcases all the little bells and whistles that come with our tool.

Why did you decide to develop the Reedsy Formatting Tool?

Turning your manuscript (a Word or Scrivener document) into a file that you can use for distribution isn’t a straightforward process. Yet it's an issue all authors who self-publish run into: as you prepare for publication, you need specific, properly formatted files to release both an ebook and a print books and reach a large audience. The BIG issue was that there wasn’t a single free tool out there that would make this process simple. Even programs targeted at authors like Scrivener would make you jump through hoops to get the files you needed. For ebooks, your files need to be compatible with at the Kindle Store, the iBookstore AND the Kobo Store. Finding an export that will be compatible with two different platforms is a headache in itself, much less all of them. For print books, your files will also need to work with all sorts of print-on-demand services with different criteria, such as Blurb (a Reedsy partner), Createspace, Lulu and IngramSpark. That’s why we developed our one-click formatting tool. Reedsy’s editor is the first free writing tool that allows you to export files that are fully compatible with all those platforms.

Creating an EPUB / Ebook / PDF / etc.

I don’t know anything about book structure and formatting. Can I still use your writing software?

Preparing your written work for production can be a nightmare. Specialist tools and knowledge is usually required to format a professional-looking book. Our tool is designed to be super simple to use and is filled with helpful step-by-step instructions that will guide you through the (ordinarily complicated) process of making a book. What are the front, main, and back matters of a book, for instance? Let our tool teach you. You can refer to our little guide about making and formatting an ebook below to learn more about how it all works.

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Do you have a tutorial that explains how to make a book?

Yes! We actually have a pretty in-depth guide on making books.

Can I convert a PDF file into an EPUB?

A PDF is a document that has already been typeset and is not designed to be converted into an EPUB file. PDF’s contain a lot of unnecessary formatting that is usually designed to be printed (such as page numbers, running headings and book titles) that are hard to remove automatically. For best results you should use your original manuscript and import it into the Reedsy formatting tool as text. You will then be able to pick one of the available themes and export your manuscript to EPUB.

Can I convert an EPUB file into a PDF?

While some tools might automate this process, we believe it’s best to know how your PDF will be formatted. There is a lot of design work that goes into designing the interior of a book and you wouldn’t want your readers to be disappointed by its formatting. In order to create professionally designed books, we suggest that you import your original manuscript into Reedsy’s tool, configure your front and back matter and then select of the available themes and typeset your book to PDF files that are ready for print.

Export Options and Formatting

What type of files does Reedsy’s tool export?

Reedsy’s writing software exports files in the following formats:

  • EPUB 3 (which work great on all major ebookstores)
  • PDF (PDF/X-1a:2001 for print-on-demand)

Our EPUB 3 files are already compatible with Amazon’s Kindle Store, but we plan to provide mobi files as well so you can easily run tests on your Kindle device.

What trim sizes can I export my files to

Your book can be exported to a range of popular trim sizes:

  • Trade: 6 x 9inch
  • Digest: 5.5 x 8.5inch
  • Reedsy standard: 5 x 8inch
  • Pocket: 4.25 x 6.87inch

Can I customize what my export looks like?

Our export templates have been designed by professionals from the Reedsy community. These themes follow the industry's best practices, ensuring that your final copy is both formatted correctly and looks beautiful. We currently offer three templates that allow you to customise your export:

  • Reedsy: a modern theme typeset in Lato and Merriweather. Great for non-fiction.
  • Classic: a traditional theme to give your book a professional edge. Typeset in Crimson, a beautiful old style type, inspired by the work of people like Jan Tschichold (Sabon), Robert Slimbach (Arno, Minion) and Jonathan Hoefler (Hoefler Text).
  • Romance: this one is quite self explanatory! Typeset in Crimson, but with a decorative chapter title and ornament.
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How do you make sure that the files are compatible with online stores?

We use EpubCheck, an open source tool to validate our EPUB files. Using EpubCheck, we ensure that your final product complies with standard EPUB 3 format specifications and the International Digital Publishing Forum’s guidelines. Your ebook will be stylishly formatted and it’ll perform well on any device. Don’t worry — we’ve tested our EPUB files extensively on real devices and we know it works!

How does typesetting in Reedsy’s tool work?

The beauty of Reedsy’s writing tool is that you don’t need to have a PhD in typesetting to create your beautiful book. The second you finish writing your manuscript, you can use our tool to export into professionally designed EPUB and print-ready PDF files. Our typesetting technology does all of the heavy lifting for you, placing each character on the page in its correct place. And our tool magically produces a PDF that is both effortless to read and complies with the industry standard style guides. While it takes a very talented designer a couple of days to design a book in InDesign, it only takes a few minutes with our tool. Create chapters and parts, apply formatting by highlighting text, configure your front matter, then select a theme and you’re good to go!

Does Reedsy’s book writing software support images?

Of course! We accept PNG and JPG images. Our tool automatically notifies you if the images uploaded are too big or incompatible with some ebook stores.

Can you make non-reflowable (or fixed-width) ebooks?

Non-reflowable ebooks are usually built with a specific distribution platform in mind. Reedsy’s tool has been designed so your content adapts to the device it’s being used on. One caveat: If you’re looking to publish an illustrated book and need more tailored options, we suggest that you work with a book interior designer or typesetter.

How long does it take to export files?

Once your manuscript is ready, all you have to do is configure the export:

  • Configure your front matter: title, subtitle, ISBN, etc.,
  • Add a cover. You can work with a cover designer on Reedsy’s marketplace if you don’t have one,
  • Select the type of file you need (EPUB or PDF),
  • Pick a template: 3 are currently available (fiction, non-fiction and romance),
  • Hit “Export!”.

After that, just let the tool do the work. You’ll receive an email notification as soon as your files are ready. Depending on the options selected, this can take anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes.

Holy smokes! I wound up with two PDF files, why is that? Is the world about to end?

Fear not! Our exporter gives you two PDF files:

  • A print-ready PDF that removes links and uses CMYK images. This version is designed to be compatible with leading print-on-demand services,
  • A standard PDF that’s great for digital viewing and for online distribution.

My File is Ready, What Next?

Once I’ve used Reedsy’s tool to create a book, how can I distribute it? What are my options?

If you’re looking to publish your book in a physical format, we highly suggest you use Blurb. As for ebooks, you can either use an aggregator such as Draft2Digital or Pronoun, or upload your EPUB file directly onto the Amazon KDP, the iBookstore and the Kobo Store.

What are some of the upcoming features?

In the coming months, we will be introducing the following features:

  • Export to text files for personal backups,
  • Multi-user collaboration,
  • Track-changes and commenting system,
  • More genre-specific themes for exporting.

I’d like to share feedback about Reedsy’s already-awesome writing software and make it even better! How can I do that?

We work hard to improve our product. Feel free to Email us at service@reedsy.com with some feedback and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!