Today we’re digging into a subject that always generates discussion, both pro and con, when it’s mentioned on the show.  That subject is dictation. Using dictation to write either part or all of your books.

Training Your Dragon CoverToday’s guest, Scott Baker is the author of The Writer’s Guide to Training Your Dragon: Using Speech Recognition Software to Dictate Your Book and Supercharge Your Writing Workflow. He’s also written dozens of other books under various pen names and spent most of the last decade working as a freelance writer for different publications in the UK. He first began dabbling with Dragon voice recognition software in the late 1990s and now uses it on a daily basis, taking advantage of the tricks and techniques used by professionals within the speech recognition industry to write thousands of words per hour.

In this 61 minute episode, we’ll dig deep into the whys and hows of using Dragon Dictation as an author, including Scott’s recommendations for software and hardware.

Show Notes

  • Scott Baker
    • authored dozens of books under various pen names
    • operating as a freelance writer for various UK publications for the last ten years
    • has been using Dragon voice recognition software since the 1990’s
      • used by pros in speech recognition industry
        • S.J. Pajonas (Stephanie Pajonas)
          • turned to Dragon when she started having health problems
      • writes thousands of words per hour
    • member of the Facebook group, “Dragon Riders – Authors Dictating”
  • Why use dictation?
    • relieves physical strain
    • saves time, gets work out quicker
    • can increase word count
    • “It’s another weapon in your arsenal – it gives you options.”
  • How dictation works
    • Fiction (most difficult)
      • dialogue
      • punctuation has to be orated by name
    • Nonfiction
      • easier (no dialogue)
      • still have to dictate punctuation
  • Training your brain to work with Dragon
    • Scott has a book coming out, Training Your Brain to Write with Dragon
    • The process takes some getting used to, but you do get used to it
      • “Writing is not typing…writing is a mindset.”
      • Talking, dictating, can make you a better writer
        • While dictating dialogue, Scott found himself in-character, saying the dialogue as the character in the story
      • Once you make the adjustment, if you have high accuracy, it can be life-changing for a writer’s workflow
    • Don’t look at the screen
      • this helps you keep your flow, and keeps you from editing
  • Training Dragon
    • You have to train the software to recognize:
      • your voice
      • what you write
        • nuances of subject matter
          • you can set up different profiles for genre
        • once you do this, it gets 98-99% accuracy
    • Scott’s eBook, Quick Cheats for Writing with Dragon, free on Amazon
    • Method:
      • set up a profile
      • train Dragon with documents you’ve already written
        • 2,000 words from a story you’ve already written
          • it’s recognizing your voice, and learning the type of writing you’re doing
          • you’re also training yourself on doing this
          • do this two or three times to properly train the program
      • if any mistakes, say “Correct [this]”
        • Dragon will give you a list of alternatives, and you choose the correct one
          • this offers further training; the program further adjusts in this process
        • you can also say, “Spell [that]”
        • Always correct the mistakes through dictation, not the keyboard
          • this is how the program gets better
        • error correction varies between the Mac and PC versions of the software
          • Mac is a little less elegant
    • Don’t:
      • read the built-in Dragon texts, they were written by someone else
      • dictate emails
        • too complex (spelling errors, replies, different authors)
  • Dragon Details
    • works best on a computer with an i5 processor, SSD, and 8 GB of RAM
      • Parallels ($50 – $60) or VMware Fusion
      • Windows license
    • Dragon is stored on the computer’s hard drive, including all the tweaks it make (the profile) – this makes it susceptible to computer crashes
      • can be stored in cloud storage for backup
      • can set up a backup within the program
    • You have to invest in the equipment to use with Dragon to get all the benefits from it
      • if you take shortcuts on the equipment, your accuracy will go down
        • a microphone is included in the box for Dragon, but it is not a good one. Get your own. Spend the money.
      • Suggested equipment: (three dictation sources, max)
          • decent desktop microphone
          • decent USB headset ($40 – $50)
            • wired is better than wireless
            • Andrea Electronics or Plantronics recommended
          •  transcription device (Steve bought this one)


  • Different versions of Dragon
    • PC
      • the most current consumer version is Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium, v13 (~$70)
        • came out several years ago, still current
        • allows transcription anytime, anywhere
          • this is the “killer feature” of Dragon
          • the home version (Home 13) is cheaper, but it doesn’t let you do transcription
      • the most current version Dragon Professional Individual v15 (~$300)
        • the differences are negligible
    • Mac (not as good as PC versions)
      • every Mac version has had issues
        • Dragon for Mac 5.0.5 offers no more updates, it could get knocked out by an OS update
        • Current version is Dragon Professional Individual v6
          • “It is riddled with problems…the most unstable version of the software they’ve ever released”
          • completely unusable a couple months after release
            • not worth $300 for something so flaky
  • Q&A from The Author Biz Facebook group (starts at 42:43)


Purchase The Writers Guide to Training Your Dragon at Amazon

Scott’s Website:

Purchase Dragon Naturally Speaking 13.0 Premium for PC

Purchase Dragon Naturally Speaking for Mac

Join us inside the Author Biz Facebook Group

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