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View Poll Results: Ebook Authors - What's your favorite word processor?
Microsoft Word 43 46.24%
Apple Pages 3 3.23%
Open Office 27 29.03%
WordPerfect 5 5.38%
Plain text editor (i.e. Notepad, etc.) 4 4.30%
Microsoft Works 1 1.08%
I use a specialized writing application 10 10.75%
Voters: 93. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-09-2011, 08:47 AM   #31
AprilHare
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I use Microsoft Word and EndNote, mainly out of necessity.
People have tried to convince me to write in LaTeX but I haven't taken the plunge yet.
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Old 01-09-2011, 02:32 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Smashwords View Post
Hi Richard, when I first started Smashwords 3 yrs ago, I posted a survey over at LinkedIn where I asked book authors what word processor they preferred using. At the time, 95% of them answered MS Word, which is why it made sense to build Meatgrinder and the Style Guide around it. To date, the decision has worked quite well for us and our authors, despite the non-stop ridicule we receive from people who find it absurd we'd build a publishing platform around Word. But then, many found the entire notion of Smashwords absurd, so thank you very much, I guess I like absurb. This survey represents my attempt to do a reality check and get a feel for how things have changed in the last three years. Thanks to everyone who has already provided great insight!
Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to pay the Microsoft tax. They're not going to be in your Word-using contingent. LinkedIn probably isn't a good cross-section of the writing market, either, because it caters primarily to people who are already professionals in some sense -- who, again, are more likely to have both the money and the willingness to pay Microsoft hundreds of dollars for a word processor. So, you may not have actually gotten as good a selection of potential users as you thought.

There are also a fair number of people who have their own ideas about how they want things formatted and don't want to go through a word processor at all. As Smashwords grows, I think you'll encounter increasing numbers of those people. "Just put your MS-Word file in here" is adequate for some people, but not everybody, and the last I looked, there was nobody in the publishing business, even Smashwords, who could afford to leave money on the table. I think, instead of looking for reasons to continue to restrict authors from using anything but Word, it would be more profitable for you -- and certainly more practical for us -- for Smashwords to find alternatives that would allow authors to set up their work the way they like it and submit it in ways that are not necessarily Microsoft-specific.
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Old 01-09-2011, 02:38 PM   #33
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I use OpenOffice 99% of the time. Sometimes, when I've had to do things for clients, I've been limited to Word, because certain things in Word OpenOffice doesn't handle well (e.g., nested tables) but for my creative writing, it's been 99% OpenOffice, with maybe a smattering of Google Docs thrown in (in case I'm working across multiple machines).
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Old 01-09-2011, 03:01 PM   #34
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Hi there.

Tend to do most of my writing in longhand or in Wordpad, which is nicely uncluttered on the screen. Pre-upload work gets done in Word.

Many moons ago, I used a program called VDE which was a nice little DOS-based text editor; I'd be using it still, but it could only handle files up to about 70k in size.


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Old 01-09-2011, 08:05 PM   #35
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Many moons ago, I used a program called VDE which was a nice little DOS-based text editor; I'd be using it still, but it could only handle files up to about 70k in size.
It was AmiPro for me, and if it could have handled long filenames, I'd still be using it. Clean, flexible, and blindingly fast. I miss AmiPro.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:03 PM   #36
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Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to pay the Microsoft tax. They're not going to be in your Word-using contingent.
True enough... but if they are willing to go the OpenOffice route, and save their output as properly formatted *.doc files (following the style guide), it is still entirely possible to both avoid the Microsoft Tax and produce an acceptable source for Smashwords' meatgrinder to process.

Worked for me, at least.

— M.
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Old 01-10-2011, 10:24 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Vintage Season View Post
True enough... but if they are willing to go the OpenOffice route, and save their output as properly formatted *.doc files (following the style guide), it is still entirely possible to both avoid the Microsoft Tax and produce an acceptable source for Smashwords' meatgrinder to process.
I am a Linux user and author unwilling to pay the Microsoft task, but I think that the DOC format via OpenOffice is an acceptable tradeoff.
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Old 01-10-2011, 02:54 PM   #38
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Im very surprised that the Open office users are complaining that smashwords supports what is by default the most popular Word processing pack in the world (MS Word). Especially as Openoffice gives you the option to save in Word Format (as does pages).

My self I only use pages, because I use my ipad out and about where I do most of my writing, rather than carry a hefty laptop and there is no Open office or word for the ipad.

For Mark at smashwords, its a question of economics. Word is by far the most popular word processor, regardless of what we actually think of it as a software package, and whilst open office and pages support the .doc format, it would seem incredible for mark to even consider changing the meat grinder from supporting .doc format files.
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:18 PM   #39
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You might want to add Celtx to this - quite a (mostly free) package, for dramatic writing (screenplays and plays) but also for purely narrative planning and execution. I mix up Celtx and Wordperfect as I work towards the final copy.
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:07 PM   #40
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well I started etching into clay bricks but with all the earthquakes in Christchurch I lost a few drafts that way and people keep telling me I live in a digital age, so I thought I should modernise, so now I use VI...
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Old 01-10-2011, 09:13 PM   #41
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Word is by far the most popular word processor, regardless of what we actually think of it as a software package, and whilst open office and pages support the .doc format, it would seem incredible for mark to even consider changing the meat grinder from supporting .doc format files.
Maybe you could link me to where someone suggested that, because I haven't seen in in this thread, or any other thread I can remember.
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:19 PM   #42
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I write the manuscript in Open Office, and format it for publication in Word. I'm weird that way.
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:22 PM   #43
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Word Perfect 5.1 for DOS was the best. It gave you almost nothing but a blank black, screen with no visible menus, scrollbars, buttons or ribbons to get between you and your words.
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Old 01-11-2011, 06:54 PM   #44
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As a former Microsoft employee, I still get software at cost so MS Word is my processor of choice. Use something long enough and you are just comfortable with it, bugs and all. However, I am getting a bit tired of their incessant "helping" which usually results in errors introduced into the manuscript. I recommend a dumb button at the top of MS Word's window so people who are incompetent and need "help" can press the button and get all their obnoxious assistance. The rest of us could just write! Maybe OpenOffice is looking better everyday
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:59 AM   #45
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The biggest surprise is that Word doesn't have 98% of our market. It has 50%. And Open Office has 25% or half as much. So in this group Microsoft have definitely lost ground. (I know that a sample of 50 is not statistically valid, but anyway.)

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Use something long enough and you are just comfortable with it, bugs and all.
This was their big secret - familiarity - and it wouldn't surprise me to learn that they have, in fact, lost a lot of users to, for example, Open Office, when they downgraded the user interface to the state of it in 2007. My wife has always used Word since she's sufficiently technically incompetent (her own evaluation) not to be able to save a document in doc format (or pdf) for sending to someone who doesn't have Open Office. (Although recently she's been saving in pdf for those who have older versions of Word and can't read docx. There's hope yet!) But even she is having second thoughts now. I am no longer able to pull rabbits out of the hat for her when she gets stuck since I can't understand the interface any longer.
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