FreeBookWriter’s Bilingual Leanings

When FreeBookWriter makes its first generation debut in January of next year, the application will be available in both English and Spanish versions. That bilingual tendency is a product of Frank Dobrucki’s own roots (he described himself as “half Latin”) and has helped contribute to his ambitious goal of reaching ten million North American users.

But while many niche software and application developers only ever focus on their primary language(s), Dobrucki has a vision for FreeBookWriter that extends beyond both Spanish and English, and indeed, one that could take his software from start-up application to global prominence with the right marketing and word of mouth behind it.

“We have another project for later,” Dobrucki explained. “A way to convert books into multiple languages and for people to get their books translated for like, 200 bucks. [That flexibility and versatility] completely changes the dichotomy of the market. And obviously, we are going to want to increase our range in languages and to let the technology to go wherever it goes.”

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Tech Desk

From the Tech Desk

New app helps authors envision their book’s completion

In the realm of human accomplishments, writing a book is one of the most prevalent bucket list dreams. So many people, be they avid readers, retired folks with fascinating life stories, or film aficianados who just love to lose themselves in a great narrative, would like nothing better than to get their thoughts down on the page. And indeed, writing a book sounds like a relatively simple and exciting proposition on first impulse: just put on some good music, dredge up your oldest memories or your most innovative ideas, and start typing. Unfortunately, it’s never been quite that simple.

According to Frank Dobrucki, a publishing industry insider since the late ‘80s, the roadblock to writing a book (at least for most people) isn’t a lack of ideas or a constraint on time availability. No, the biggest obstacles that the majority of novice authors face as they begin their first manuscripts are the blinking cursor and the endless white space of the word processor. Dobrucki believes that most first-time authors get discouraged early on because Microsoft Word and similar processors don’t allow them to visualize what their finished product could come to look like. That inability to see the endgame then makes the entire project feel more daunting than it actually is, a phenomenon that Dobrucki believes can derail many books before they even get out of the infancy stage.

“When you understand publishing and all of the graphic design and layout that goes into a book, it’s easy to envision the finished product,” Dobrucki said. “But most people have no concept of how to get from point A to point B. They don’t see the encouragement of what their work will look like.”

Dobrucki’s answer to this writer’s block conundrum? FreeBookWriter, a free app for tablet devices and computers that allows authors to see their words take the shape of a digital book right before their eyes—even as they type those words out. The app, which is currently in its final stages of development (Dobrucki pointed towards January as the prospective release date), will format prose into actual eBook pages as an author moves forward. Furthermore, when the manuscript is completed, FreeBookWriter allows authors to automatically publish their work to eBook marketplaces, directly from their device. And, of course, as the name suggests, it’s all absolutely free: no strings attached, no irritating advertisements, and no daily reminders to buy the full version.

“With the advent of the tablet, we thought, why not make it possible to write a book in an app that makes it look and feel like a book?” Dobrucki explained. “You can actually flip through the pages, like with a finished eBook, and it helps you get to the finish line much, much quicker than pages of text. FreeBookWriter creates something really basic and elegant so that people can start moving through the process.”

While FreeBookWriter’s primary applications will be offered on a complimentary basis, Dobrucki also mentioned that authors can get more advanced capabilities for a small cost. “Sharing” and “school” incarnations are available with a $79 upgrade, while a $149 “professional” version will connect authors with the publishing world. In addition, Dobrucki noted that FreeBookWriter users will have the option to upgrade their finished product from eBook to print format, either in house or with outside companies who offer very affordable rates.

So why FreeBookWriter? With a massive media campaign set to begin in the coming weeks and a goal to reach ten million people within the United States and Latin America next year (see sidebar), many of Dobrucki’s friends and business acquaintances have speculated on whether or not the publishing expert was throwing away a program with very lucrative potential as an internet handout.

“People kept asking me, ‘why didn’t you charge 99 cents!?” Dobrucki chucked. “But even with 99 cents, a lot of people might not look at it. So we decided to make the app 100% free for the basic eBook platform and to try and reach as many people as possible. Everybody wants to write about something. It’s just fun, whether it’s for an audience of one or an audience of a million, and when you finish your first book, it’s like climbing a mountain. We have done studies and believe that our goal is a very realistic one.”

Interested in learning more about FreeBookWriter or contributing to its development? Information about the application (as well as a few small, preliminary screen-shots) can be found at www.freebookwriter.com, while donations can be made via FreeBookWriter’s kickstarter page at www.indiegogo.com/freebookwriter*.

 

Note: At the time of printing, Dobrucki and company had only amassed $255 of their $18,000 goal. But Dobrucki noted that he has already confirmed numerous large-scale donations not included in that total, and that the product will be finished and released regardless of how much money the campaign raises.

 

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Craig Manning is currently studying English and Music at Western Michigan University. In edition to writing for Independent Publisher, he maintains a pair of entertainment blogs, interns at the Traverse City Business News, and writes for Rockfreaks.net and his college newspaper. He welcomes comments or questions concerning his articles via email, at manningcr953@gmail.com.


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