Word Count and #Writing Task Tracking: Handy #Apps

I have been trying to find an easy way to track my progress, not just in terms of word count, but all the tasks which go into writing. As I was loitering in the iTunes store, I noticed these apps which you may find helpful. If any of you have others to recommend, please let me know!

This first one would be useful if you want to see where you repeat words, overuse adverbs etc.

2014-01-03_13-27-49Text Analyzer is simple and feature rich application that allows you to calculate various useful statistics of a given text. It can extract and find different types of data(parts of speech, numbers, links, addresses e.t.c). You can also calculate count of words, characters, sentences, paragraphs e.t.c. The full list of features are as following:

* One touch words & character count and frequency calculation:
With One tap you will have all count and frequency information for every individual word or character

* Extracts and find following data from the given text including
i) Words, Characters, Sentences, Paragraphs, Lines
ii) Parts of speech: Nouns, Verbs, Adverbs, Pronouns, Determiners, Particles, Numbers, Prepositions, Conjunctions, Interjections,
iii) Other data: Classifiers, Idioms, Sentence Terminators, Quotes, Word Joiners, Paragraph breaks e.t.c

* One touch stats summary: with one tap, it will generate all the stats and count of the above mentioned data.

* Search & Find: locate and find the matches of a given data within the text.

* Sort: sort summary & frequency data alphabetically or by frequency.”

2014-01-03_13-30-43Word Tracker: “Keep track of how FAST you wrote, WHEN you wrote and WHAT you wrote. Then you can look at how many words you’ve written today, how many hours you’ve spent writing and a whole host of other stats. If you want to track your writing, there is no better tool.

Here are a couple of the stats you can view:

- Total Hours
See how long you have spent on the entire project. A very useful stat to have for anyone who values their time!

- Percentage Completed
It’s great to watch as the percentage creeps up and up. Having an actual value for how much you have written is a great little piece of information to have.

- Best Words Per Hour
See how quickly you were writing at the fastest point during the project.”

2014-01-03_13-35-07“Word Count Dashboard is a fun and motivational tool to help you reach a writing goal. Part word count tracker, and part vision board, Word Count Dashboard lets you keep track of your progress as you write your project.


- Create a writing project with a target word count that you’re going to aim for.
– Enter your project’s new, total word count at the end of each day to keep track of your progress.
– Earn bronze, silver, and gold stars for your project depending on how much you write.
– Add a picture to the vision board (e.g. a mock-up cover for your novel) to help you visualise your goal.
– Give yourself from as little as a week to 999 days to achieve your target.
– Use the Word Count Dashboard reports to see the progress you’re making towards your target.
– See how much you have left to write as well as how much you need to write each day to reach your target.

Word Count Dashboard is designed to be a quick, and fun way of keeping on top of your daily writing targets.

Word Count Dashboard provides the same functionality as, but is not compatible with Word Count Dashboard for the Mac.” Sold separately. Batteries not included. ;-)

Goal Setting & Organisation Apps

I love these two:

opusdominimobilepro1024x1024-u4301Opus Domini for Mac, iPhone and iPad: “Opus Domini is as easy as writing a list on paper, but powerful enough to get you where you want to go. Instead of getting frustrated with endless task lists, our planner views will ensure no overbooking, completed items will keep you motivated and information on uncompleted tasks and goals will help you make adjustments & reach your goals.”

They have a section for goals, vision, mission statement, fitness goals and it will sync with iCal. I love it!

img_visualIf you have multiple books (which are projects) with individual tasks for each, use this one: iScope. Don’t let the “project management” label put you off: you can make it as simple as you like. The interface is beautiful and it’s cheap.

If you work on your own, get iScope 1: https://www.iscope2c.com/solo/

“Easily add new projects to iScope and edit their information.
– Manage your projects with the level of depth you need, some from the surface, some others with more details.
– Every project has an automated dashboard that updates as you add more tasks and content.
– Drag and drop project folders to re-order them.
With iScope, you can import files from your camera roll, dropbox account and iTunes Shared Folder
– Import all kind of images. PDF and MS Office documents (doc, xls & ppt)
– Export your attachments, by email or print them with AirPrint
– Works with Dropbox and Cloud technologies.”

This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

Choosing a Book Cover by Lissa Bryan

They always say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but frankly, it’s what readers do, and the judgment is made in a split-second. Likely, their first encounter with your book will be to see its cover shrunk to a thumbnail size, on a page with dozens of others. Your cover has to catch the reader’s eye as they scroll by, making them curious enough to click on the link.

I’m fortunate enough to be with a publisher who values their authors’ input on cover design, so I’ve been involved in the process every step of the way, from picking the concept to approving font choices. It’s always an interesting challenge because there are so many aspects to consider.

Introduce Me to Your Book

Your cover should tell a reader something about your story. Genres tend to have certain styles of covers that tell the reader at a glance what type of story to expect. Look at covers in your genre, and then play around with the ideas a bit.

Simplicity is Best


Your reader is likely going to see your cover on their screen as an inch-tall rectangle. You want your central image to be clear, even when the image is tiny. One of the reasons why the covers for Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey have become iconic was their stark, uncluttered simplicity. They are instantly recognizable, even at a distance or as a tiny icon. Focus on one central theme or concept that speaks about your story.

My first cover was for a novel about a woman who moves to a haunted house on an isolated island. The beach plays a central role in the story. As soon as I saw the image of the girl standing at the edge of the waves, I knew it was perfect. It’s a bright, clear image that retains those attributes even when shrunk to a thumbnail size. As person scrolling by can make it out easily, but it’s only on closer examination that the ghostly reflection beside her is apparent. I’ve seen it in action when I was at the Texas Book Festival. People who saw the photo glanced at it and then gave it a second, closer look.

Original Image Taken By Amanda Spitz

Original Image Taken By Amanda Spitz

For my second novel, I chose a very stark, simple image. Since “post-apocalyptic romance” isn’t exactly a genre, I was sort of on my own with this one. I found the image when I was looking through a friend’s vacation photos, and it grabbed me instantly. “The light at the end of the tunnel” encapsulates the message of my book beautifully.

We created a mockup version so we could show the graphic artist what I had in mind. Adding in the figures holding hands introduces the romantic element. The graphic artist took it a step further, making the image gritty and Impressionistic because it’s not the typical romance novel.

The resultant cover, I think, distills the story down to one visual statement that is simple and uncluttered.


Invest in Putting Your Best Foot Forward

You will lose more money having a cheesy or poorly-executed cover than you will “save” by not investing in a good graphic artist. Like editing, this is not an area to try to cut corners. This is your first introduction to readers and you want to make sure it’s a good one.


Lissa BryanLissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot … though only in her head. Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.

Her first novel, Ghostwriter, is available through The Writer’s Coffee Shop (which is the least expensive option), Amazon, iTunes, and Kobo. Her second novel, The End of All Things, is available through TWCS, Amazon, and iTunes. She also has a short story in the Romantic Interludes anthology, available from TWCS, Amazon and iTunes. Her third novel, Under These Restless Skies, is scheduled for release in spring of 2014.

This blog post is Copyright Lissa Bryan 2013. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without the author’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-use if it is for a commercial venture.