Any users out there who are also a book or some other type of book-like literature?

What is your workflow? Favorite apps? Etc?

@poetgrant I'm using any generic text editor + MD/HTML and pandoc to convert to ebooks

I like . Right now I am using nano and pandoc. I just want to make sure I'm not missing an essential bash script or something...

@poetgrant I know @emsenn is using org-mode on emacs to transliterate some DnD notes he had from a session two years ago. He seems to be pretty happy with that

I have been trying to learn Emacs. I like the concept, but there is a lot that goes into that program. I also wish it ran in my terminal... I have slowly been finding bash scripts that people have written for my different projects and needs... I love bash....

@poetgrant heh, the second one using pandoc is cute :P

I like the first one :) I'm going to eventually try my hand at hugo though


I have not written a book, but organise my notes of a few years in org-mode and swear by its amazing powers. It's like html on steroids.

Mickey Peterson wrote a book in Emacs

@poetgrant Probably nothing original, but honestly I haven't found anything that beats #Emacs with #OrgMode yet.

You get a nice markdown language, extremely easy outlines for drafting and reorganizing your text and plenty of nicely formatted export options.

It fills the #Scrivener hole for me on #Linux.

@poetgrant Markdown --> Pandoc --> EPUB and
Markdown --> Pandoc --> XHTML --> ConTeXt --> PDF

Versioned with Git of course

@poetgrant For larger documents (> 3 pages) I usually use LaTeX. I didn't find a more suitable software. I use AucTeX from emacs to edit it and it actually is pretty straight forward. But I also understand that beginning Emacs is kinda cumbersome. I formerly used Latexzilla which is also pretty nice...

@poetgrant vim or sublime text in markdown. Then pandoc or any html renderer, but I'm not writing books :D People here say pandoc is great, and a friend of mine recommended me to use it too :D

Also, if you have much of free time and want to get more power, you can try out LaTeX, which is pretty great tool but requires from you nice knowledge of language itself.

@alexcleac @poetgrant
IMO the problem with LaTeX is that it's not semantic. So it's good if you're trying to make your document look good (eg. when making slides), but I wouldn't use it if I wanted to write a large amount of linear text (w/o tables, pictures, etc).

@Wolf480pl @alexcleac @poetgrant

LaTeX does have semantic markup. For a longer document you define a custom semantic tag, and you only style it once in the preamble with things like textit{} and textbf{}. You can also abstract beyond the document level by putting your definition in another file and importing it in the document preamble.

@metatron @alexcleac @poetgrant
Ok, I guess I'll have to figure out how to define new latex commands then...

Btw. HTML5 has a nice preset of semantic tags, is there sth like that for LaTeX?

@Wolf480pl @alexcleac @poetgrant

There are some preset semantic tags, like section headings and footnotes. Beyond that, different packages will have different ones. The exam class, for example, has a \question[] tag. The letter class has an \opening{} tag.

LaTex is something I really am interested in, but it has been difficult learning. I have decided that I'm a dumb writer that doesn't want to learn new tricks unless absolutely necessary.

I guess nano + pandoc may be my way to go.

@poetgrant in fact, the thing I really recommend is #vim. It has a bit of learning curve, but when you will get a bit better in viming - you will get way faster way to process text editing and other :)

Also, it has pretty rich features out of box, like checking words spelling, bookmarks inside of file and other, plus, easy and beautiful way to give your file contents to external utility for processing :D

@poetgrant This guy demonstrates LaTex and more tools. Has a great workflow.

@poetgrant I use Vim, Markdown, one or two commands from LaTeX and Pandoc.

I would say it works better than any Office suit I've tried.

@poetgrant I also use a plugin for Vim that creates a table of content for me which gets dynamically updated in real time.

I should probably make a post about it. I would link it but I'm on the go and busy right now. :)

I forgot about that one. I will look it up again. Thank you!

@poetgrant at the office we write documentation using asciidoc and it looks great. @mishari

@kensanata so wait, I am reading the docs for ASCIIDoc and I am beginning to wonder, if I use ASCIIDoc, do I need pandoc?

@poetgrant @kensanata

Use asciidoctor or asciidoc3, and afaik the answer is 'no'.
@poetgrant @kensanata

(asciidoc3 is a rewrite of asciidoc on python3; asciidoc itself is firmly python2 and therefore dead.)

@Aerdan Holy cow! How cool is this?! ASCIIDoc is really neat... now I will be diverted from writing to read about all of this.

@poetgrant @kensanata I use AsciiDoc, $editor and $rcs for everything I can

includes presentations, blogs, magazine articles, meeting notes, personal wiki and resume

pandoc is amazing, but I don't need it

@poetgrant Emacs and LaTex for stuff that has medium layout (RPG stuff); Emacs and Markdown for stuff that has easy layout because LaTex keeps luring me into endless fiddling instead of just sitting down and writing.

One thing I do is put each sentence on its own line. That makes git versioning more functional.

@poetgrant not writing a book but I write about everything I do. For notes I use tnote and cherrytree. For text editor I use nano

@victorhck @poetgrant That's me 😜 Depending on the project, I use Writer or LyX. In fact, I wrote a book for each one. Check my blogs. My methodology? A long period of planing followed by bursts of typing and a long period of review, then correct, then review, then correct...

@poetgrant for workflow I use i3 for my wm. Apps depends on what I am doing. I try to do as much as I can from the terminal so most of my apps are CLI

Check out Plume Creator. Seems to be from writer for writer. Might be that it fits your mood while writing.

@poetgrant Plenty of authors use #LibreOffice - do some searching and you'll find tips I'm sure. Also this guy used to run a book publishing company using all #OpenSource


Zim and Treesheets are great for planning and outlines, steadily flowing out to a complete project.

@poetgrant I write philosophy papers. I write Markdown with Vim and < I keep my references in Zotero and use a plugin, <, to keep a biblatex file in sync. I turn my Markdown into PDF (if I can) or Word (if I must).

I write pandoc-flavoured Markdown, add a YAML-file with metadata and use #pandoc to convert everything to epub, mobi, pdf or whatever.

For academic work, I convert the Markdown to #LaTeX first (again, using #pandoc), embed it into the respective document template and finetune literature references, tables and such.

@poetgrant for source management, for notes/early drafts with versioning plugin (git back end) + distraction-free plugin , for formatting and polished drafts, for syncing it all together.

Emacs org mode—for a long complicated work it's wonderful. You can interleave todos with youre text, move up or down through an outline interpersed with the text, collapse and expnnd sections, and more. I never write anything of significant length without it.

At first I only did brainstorming and outlining in #emacs #org-mode. I haven't found anything else that compares with org-mode for speed of getting thoughts down and ease of organizing them. But I was too intimidated to do more than that in it. I'd do my actual writing in FocusWriter.

Now I've learned more hotkeys and functions so I'm doing more writing in emacs. Then emacs export and/or pandoc.

I also use #CherryTree and #Zim for notes and organization.


I was also overwhelmed by Emacs until I realized that I didn't have to learn everything at once. I run the GUI version, so I can use the menus for things I haven't learned the hotkeys for. When I need to look up how to do something, I add it to my emacs notes. I made a personalized cheatsheet for things I haven't memorized. With more use, I retain more but if I forget, no biggie since I have my cheatsheet.


@poetgrant I'm using an editor, markdown, Jekyll, and puppet to convert HTML to PDFs

@poetgrant I'm not writing a book (yet), but I'm translating two. My favorite app is vim, writing in markdown. Then I use pandoc to create PDFs.

@poetgrant I write markdown in vim, and convert to PDF using pandoc.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

Fosstodon is a Mastodon instance that is open to anyone who is interested in technology; particularly free & open source software.