Writing a book is hard. Any book, whether fiction or non-fiction, requires much effort and hard work. From the inception of the idea to putting it all together, it is a long and arduous process.
Once the idea is there, then comes the part of editing and making sure that the text holds together. There can be no gaps in the narrative, and it has to be free-flowing. Also, one has to take care of the grammatical part, which can be challenging.
But in today’s tech-driven world, we have tools to make this process easier and more convenient. You can change, and you can edit your writing with the help of these book writing software.
But then, to use the software, you have to learn how to use it.
But the million-dollar question!! Among the many choices available, which is the software for you? We have tried to make this easier for you by listing the ten best book writing software you can use along with their pros and cons.
So choose the one that works for you and write away!!
But a word of caution. The different types of software cannot do the writing for you. They can only help you make it better.
1.Scrivener (Word Processor)
Scrivener is a book-writing app made for writers by writers. It has a “binder” view that allows you to break your book into chapters and sections and easily reorganise it with a drag-and-drop interface.
It has the corkboard and outliner modes that you can use to get a high-level view of your book, as they allow you to view book chapters, sections and individual scenes as index cards. You can set project targets that let you create word count goals which you can use to track your progress. Its composition mode can help you stay focused by removing all the clutter.
Scrivener has formatting features for publishing (e.g. on Amazon or Barner & Noble) and essential features for distraction-free writing. It also has templates for novels, non-fiction books, screenplays and more.
Pros of Scrivener
- Helps to efficiently manage a large book-writing project(or screenplay) in the binder view.
- Helps you to get a high-level view of your book’s structure using corkboard and outliner views.
- Manages your writing productivity with project targets and deadlines
- App available on iPhone and Ipad.
Cons of Scrivener
- Formatting can be overly complicated
- Collobariong with others is difficult
- Takes a while to learn
- Syncing with Dropbox is not always easy
- No Android app
- $49 for Windows, Mac
2. Google Docs ( Word Processing)
While Scrivener is the best book-writing software, it begins to fall short once you get to editing and getting feedback. That is why and when you will need Google Docs. It is free, easy to use and requires no backup since everything is in the cloud.
The best feature is that it allows you to collaborate, which means you can get your editor to edit and make changes in the document, which are tracked in the suggestion mode. For example, the editor could leave comments on the story wherever needed.
Pros of Google Docs
- Real-time collaboration with editors, beta readers or other writers
- Suggestion mode
Cons of Google Docs
- No large-document organisation features
- No productivity features
- Offline mode, notwithstanding, usually needs an internet connection.
3. Dabble (Word Processor)
Dabble is a software that is quite similar to Scrivener. It gives you the power to organise and rearrange scenes and chapters using drag and drop, manage your word count goals to stick to a deadline and plot like a pro.
Its plot grid allows you to see a macro view of your story easily. You can rearrange if needed, find plot holes and make notes on each plot point as detailed as you like.
It is pretty easy to set your word count goals and see your daily and overall progress in the manuscript settings. You can even set your off days, and the software will consider those days while calculating your daily word count goals.
Collaboration is relatively easy with this software. You simply have to add a co-author, who will be sent an invitation. But to contribute, they must also have a subscription; otherwise, they can only read the document. You can insert images in any scene or note, add title images to chapters or full-page images within or between chapters. You can even set cover art for the manuscript.
The focus mode in Dabble is automatic. You simply start typing, and everything else fades away. You don’t even have to worry about saving every few minutes. Dabble is cloud-based and automatically saves as you go. You can access your manuscript everywhere: in your browser, phone, or desktop app. As you are writing, you can make notes and comments. And what is more, if you don’t want to type, you can dictate. And when you’re done writing, a Read to Me feature reads your manuscript to you!
Pros of Dabble
- Cloud-based with automatic saving across all your devices.
- Built-in dictation
- Images can be added anywhere
- Easy to export to Word or Text files
- Easy to manage productivity with word count targets and deadlines.
- Possible to get a high-level overview of your book with Dabble’s unique plotting tool
Cons of Dabble
- Subscription-based, which means not all features are available across all plans
- High lifetime access cost
- Formatting is basic
- Subscription plans range from $10/month to $20/month; Lifetime access cost is $499; 14-day free trial
4. Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel ( Spreadsheet)
Spreadsheets are one of the most-used tools that writers use pretty much all the time. Spreadsheets allow you to get a sense of the elements of your book at a glance, and when you are, say, working on a 250-300 page document distilling it down to useable information becomes very necessary.
You could use spreadsheets for:
- Character tracking
- Breakdown of scenes
- A foolscap/Beat sheet
Google Sheets is free, and you can quickly share your documents with your editors, beta readers or writing partners to get their feedback.
Pros of Google Sheets
- Real-time collaboration with editors, beat readers and other writers
Cons of Google Sheets
- Managing spreadsheets from other sources ( Eg excel) can be chunky and time-consuming
- Offline mode notwithstanding, it usually requires an internet connection
Cost for Google Sheets
5. Vellum ( Book Formatting /Word Processing)
Turning a book into an eBook is relatively easy, considering the different kinds of software that are available. But if you want that book to look good, you must have Vellum.
Vellum picks up where Scrivener, Word and Pages leave off, giving you a tool to make great-looking eBooks and print books usually in under an hour. The most important feature is the previewer which lets you see how each formatting change or book edit you make will appear on Kindle, Fire, iPhone, Nook and other eReaders.
Vellum also has stripped-down, option-based formatting, perfect for designing eBooks and print books.
Pros of Vellum
- Easy and intuitive
- Beautiful styling
- Enables manuscript formatting in less than an hour
Cons of Vellum
- Mac only
- Limited styles
- Relatively expensive
- $199 for eBook generation; $249 for paperback formatting.
6. ProWritingAid ( Grammar/ Spell Check)
ProWritingAid is a software that performs grammar checks and is an accessible and affordable alternative to an editor. If you struggle with grammar mistakes, sentence structure, spelling, or even writing style, then this software can help. Though you should learn grammar skills, ProWritingAid can help you start to see the patterns and grow as a writer. It has a free version and also a paid one, which is relatively cheap.
Pros of ProWritingAid
- Allows you to copyedit your book quickly
- Gives better suggestions than other grammar checkers
- Less expensive than other grammar checkers
Cons of ProWritingAid
- At times, may give suggestions which are incorrect or out of context
- Interface is slightly less intuitive
- Free ( Premium version is $60 a year)
7. Publisher Rocket ( Book Marketing App)
Everyone who writes a book wants to know if their book will sell. How lovely it would be to know there is a market for your book before you start writing. For such kinds of questions, Publisher Rocket has an answer.
Publisher Rocket is a book marketing research tool that helps you understand what readers actually want and how to connect with them through your books. It can help you discover things like-
- The psychology of how readers buy books
- How much money readers are spending on particular niches and topics
- How much money are specific books making per month, especially those competing with yours
- What phrases are Amazon buyers searching for
Pros of Publisher Rocket
- Helps you find out how much other books in your genre make
- Get metrics on how to become the #1 Bestseller
- Excellent learning resources and support
Cons of Publisher Rocket
- Learning Curve
- Limited to book marketing
- $ 99
8. Atticus ( Book Formatting/ Word Processing)
Once you’ve written your book, you must turn it into something people can read. For example, if you are self-publishing, you need a tool like Atticus, a book formatting and word processing tool that allows you to take your manuscript and quickly and easily format it for publishing, including print and eBook formats.
But Atticus is more than just a formatting tool. It’s an all-in-one solution for writers giving you the organisation features of Scrivener, the cloud collaboration features of Google Docs and the book formatting abilities of Vellum.
It works on all platforms like Windows, Mac, Chromebook and even Linux.
Pros of Atticus
- Helps format a manuscript for print and eBook in less than an hour
- All-in-one platform to write, edit and format books
- Works on every platform
Cons of Atticus
- Web-based only ( needs an internet connection)
- Expensive for a word processor ( but not for book formatting)
9. Freedom ( Productivity App)
One challenge that most writers face is staying focused on their writing in the wake of so many distractions, especially those belonging to social media. Freedom lets you do that.
It allows you to enter focus mode, blocking your biggest distractions, including websites and mobile apps, for a set period. So if you decide to scroll through Facebook in the middle of your writing, you’ll find the site won’t load.
You can also schedule recurring sessions so that at a scheduled time (say Mondays from 6 am to 10 am), you won’t be able to access the sites on your blocklist even if you try. What is more, you can block these on both your computer and your phone.
Pros of Freedom
- Allows focus on writing without any distraction
- You can schedule focus mode in advance
Cons of Freedom
- Getting it to work with mobile devices can be difficult
- You can figure out ways around its blockers if you try hard
- $29 per year for the Pro version
10. Microsoft Word ( Word Processor)
Microsoft Word has been with us ever since we learned how to use computers. Though there are other more advanced software available, Word works just fine. The main problem with it is that as the document grows, it becomes more and more challenging to work with, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t work on it.
Pros of Microsoft Word Word
- Ubiquitous: most people are familiar with it
- Universal file types
Cons of Microsoft Word Word
- Not designed to organise and manage large writing projects like books
- Can become slow to load as the book grows
- No real-time collaboration like Google Docs
- $69/ year from Amazon (includes Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and other Microsoft software.)
Also Read: How to Write a Book?
So take your pick from amongst these software for writing a book and write away.