FOSSPicks

FOSSPicks

Article from Issue 241/2020
Author(s):

Graham checks out Sigil, Dragonfly Reverb, LabPlot 2.8, Node-RED, batufo, rg3d, and much more.

Ebook editor

Sigil

Online book sellers and the self-publishing revolution have changed the publishing landscape for book authors. No longer are the keys to the printing press held by the few, and success is no longer limited to those with a publishing agent and book deal. In the 21st century, anyone can publish anything. There are obvious negatives, too; there's a lot of rubbish out there, and the ratio between poverty and success is similar to that of winning the lottery. But it is possible, and success can be measured in many different ways.

There are a few things you need if you're going to publish your own book, apart from the talent, drive, and commitment to write the thing in the first place. The first is a decent writing environment. This is a tough one because every writer is different. Some will write notes on paper, while others will use Emacs Org mode. But either way, Linux is equipped with plenty of options. The only potential omission is that there isn't a writer's "IDE" that can incorporate and organize your notes, pages, files, jottings, outlines, characters, and the layers of minutiae that typically come together to form a book. A few years ago, there was a preview version for Linux of the excellent, and proprietary, Scrivener, a tool that encompasses everything from note collation and organization through to ebook publishing. But Scrivener's developers have seemingly abandoned the Linux version in favor of its macOS and Windows users, leaving us without a decent ebook generator.

This is where Sigil can help. Sigil is not an all-encompassing book writing tool like Scrivener, but it does give you hands-on access to the tools and protocols that will turn your already written words into an ebook you can publish and sell. The amazing calibre ebook manager can do this too, but calibre does little more than compile a collection of files into a single file. Sigil, on the other hand, offers an XHTML editor for the content, Python plugins for your own macros, the ubiquitous output preview, and all kinds of tools to help you carve your raw words into something that will work on a Kindle.

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