The Write Practice

Book Writing Software (2023): Top 10 Pieces of Software for Writers

by Joe Bunting | 19 comments

Book Writing Software - Top 10 Pieces of Software for Writers

The good news is there  is  book writing software that can make the writing process and meeting your daily goals easier!

(The better news is that once you've found the right software, we have the best resources to help you finish your book, like this book idea worksheet , which will get you started on your book in just a few minutes. Get your free copy here. )

In this article, we will cover the ten best pieces of software for writing a book and look at the pros and cons of each. Click the links below to get our review on the best writing software.

Best Writing Software: Contents

Worst Pieces of Software for Writing a Book

Before we discuss writing software that will help you write a beautiful book, it's important to understand (and eliminate) what will hurt your writing progress. At least while you're writing a book:

No World of Warcraft for Writers

Set aside time for your writing every day and then stay focused. If you need a game, make writing your daily word count your game. If you want more “likes” on social media, imagine how great getting five-star reviews on your book will be. If you need to check your bank balance several times a day, think about what your bank balance will be when you stop checking it constantly, finish your book, and become a successful author. Now let's talk about some book software for authors that can help you with your book writing process.

The 10 Best Pieces of Book Writing Software

1. scrivener (word processor).

book writing software learning

Cons of Scrivener: 

We believe in Scrivener so much, we published a book about how creative writers can write more faster using it. It’s called  Scrivener Superpowers .  If you’re using Scrivener or want a tutorial to save yourself time as you learn how to use it for your creative writing, you can  get Scrivener Superpowers here . You can also learn more about how to use the software with one of these resources:

Cost:  $49 for Windows, Mac

2. Google Docs (Word Processing)

Google Sheets Editing: Best Book Writing Software

Cons of Google Docs:

Cost:  Free!

3. Google Sheets OR Microsoft Excel (Spreadsheet)

If you’d told me when I was first trying to become a writer that one of my most-used tools in my book writing software toolkit would be a spreadsheet, I would have told you I didn't major in English to have to use a spreadsheet. But now, as I'm finishing my fifteenth book, I realize that I use spreadsheets almost daily. Spreadsheets allow you to get a sense of the elements of your book at a glance, and when you're working on a 300-page document, distilling it down to useable information becomes very necessary. You might use spreadsheets for:

Google Sheets is perfect for this because it's free and you can quickly share your documents with your writing partners, editors, or beta readers to get feedback. Microsoft Excel is another great option, but is a bit behind in the collaboration functions. Pros of Google Sheets:

Cons of Google Sheets:

Cost for Google Sheets:  Free!

If you have Excel already and love it, great. Cost for Microsoft Word: $69 / year (includes Word, Powerpoint, Outlook, and other Microsoft software)

4. Vellum (Book Formatting/Word Processing)

Vellum: Top Book Writing Software

Cons of Vellum:

Cost:  $199 for eBook generation; $249 for paperback formatting

5. ProWritingAid (Grammar/Spell Check)

Can a grammar checker replace an editor?

Definitely not. But if you ask Alice Sudlow, our in-house editor, she'll tell you, “If you don’t have access to an editor (or if you do, but you don’t want to hire them to edit your emails or Facebook posts), software that performs grammar checks like  ProWritingAid  is an accessible, affordable alternative.”

If you struggle with grammar mistakes, sentence structure, spelling, or even writing style, ProWritingAid can help. It goes far beyond your built-in spellcheck. You should still learn grammar skills, but ProWritingAid can help you start to see the patterns and grow as a writer. There's a free version that's very good. It can even be installed into your browser or Word processor, so you can check your grammar wherever you write. The paid version, just $60 a year (less than half of what  Grammarly  costs), gives you additional support on sentence structure, style, and vocabulary. Learn more about  how writers can get the most out of ProWritingAid here . Pros of ProWritingAid:

Cons of ProWritingAid:

Cost:  Free! (Premium version is $60/year)

6. Publisher Rocket (Book Marketing App)

How do you know if your book will sell? Wouldn't it be nice to know if there is a market for your book  before  you start writing? How do you find the most readers on Amazon for your published book? For all of these questions, Publisher Rocket has an answer. Read our  full Publisher Rocket review here . Publisher Rocket a book marketing research tool that helps you understand what readers actually want  and  how to connect with them with your books. Here are some things you can discover in Publisher Rocket:

book writing software learning

Cons of Publisher Rocket:

7. Atticus (Book Formatting/Word Processing)

Atticus Home Screen

Cost:  $147

8. Evernote OR Ulysses OR Bear (Note Taking)

Ulysses Book Writing Software

Cons of Evernote:

Evernote  Cost: Free with Paid options

Ulysses Cost: $45 Note: Ulysses is only available for Mac, either in the App Store or from their website.

Bear Cost: $1.49 monthly / $14.99 yearly Note:  Bear is also only available for Mac, either in the App Store or from their website.

9. Freedom (Productivity App)

One question writers always ask me is, “How can I stay focused enough to finish what I write?” I have too many thoughts on that for this article, but as far as using writing software to encourage focus goes, I recommend Freedom. It's my favorite writing tool for a distraction-free writing experience. Freedom allows you to enter focus mode, blocking your biggest distractions, including both websites and mobile apps, for a set period of time. So when you mindlessly escape your book to scroll through Facebook, you'll find the site won't load. You can also schedule recurring sessions, so that at a scheduled time (e.g. Mondays from 6 am to 10 am), you won’t be able to access the sites on your blocklist, even if you try. There are other apps like this that we've written about before, notably Self-Control for Mac and StayFocused for Windows. But Freedom goes further, allowing you to block sites on both your computer  and  your phone, and enabling recurring sessions. You can learn more about  how writers can get the most out of Freedom on our review here . Pros of Freedom:

Cons of Freedom:

Cost: $29 / year for Pro version, which I use and recommend (there's also a free trial available)

10. Microsoft Word (Word Processor)

Again: no piece of book writing software is going to write your book for you. If you're looking for the next “shiny new toy” to help you write your book, it might be an excuse to avoid doing the hard work of writing. Most of us learned how to use computers by using Microsoft Word, or a program like it. Word gets the job done. Sure, Scrivener is a little better for books, but I wrote my first book on Word and it's fine. I wrote a long review of  the pros and cons of using Word to write books —the main problem is that as your document grows, it becomes more and more difficult to work with, whereas with Scrivener, it becomes easier—but the point is, if Word is what you have, don't let that stop you from finishing your book. You don't need a fancy tool to plan a book in the early stages, like if you draft a character description for your protagonist, or in the editing stages, like if you want to make comments on scene details. As Jeff Elkins said in  his review of Word , “If you aren’t already putting in the hard work to be the kind of writer you want to be, it doesn’t matter what new writing software you invest in. It is not going to help.” Pros of Word:

Cons of Word:

Cost: $69 / year from Amazon (includes Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, and other Microsoft software)

Note:  Another word processor we can't recommend is yWriter, which while it has a cult following and was designed by a fellow novelist, seems to be out of development and has no support for Mac/OSX.

BONUS #1: Google Drive OR Dropbox (Cloud Backup)

There's nothing worse that finishing a great writing session and going to save your work, then your computer crashes and you discover you've lost your best writing. It's enough to send any writer into the throes of grief and depression. There's a simple solution, though: save a copy of ALL your writing to the cloud using Google Drive, Dropbox, or BOTH. Here's my process:  I have all my Scrivener book files saved on a folder on Google Drive on my computer. Then, Scrivener automatically backs up every few minutes to a Dropbox folder. That way, I know I will always have the document I need, no matter what happens. Best of all, both of these apps have free plans, making it extremely foolish NOT to use them. Pros of Drive:

Cons of Drive:

Cost: Free with Paid options

Sign up for Google Drive here »

Sign up for Dropbox here »

Bonus #2: Hemingway App (Style Checker)

Hemingway App Purple Prose

Cons of Hemingway:

Cost: Free!

Try out Hemingway App here »

All the Book Writing Software

The 30+ tools every writer needs.

30 Tools to Write, Publish, and Market Your Book

The Most Essential Book Writing Software

Imagine it's three thousand years ago. You're sitting around a campfire with some of your family and friends, tired from the day's work. You begin to tell a story. It's one you've told before, told a hundred times. You can see faces around the fire, the children with their eyes wide, the men and women who have heard the story before but still enjoy it because it brings meaning to their lives. Storytellers—writers—have existed since the beginning of humanity. They didn’t always have book writing software. They didn't have the printing press or the internet. They didn't always even have the alphabet to write their stories down. Instead, storytellers had their imaginations, their voices, and a rapt audience. You don’t need book writing software to write a great story. Book writing software can make the process a little faster or easier, but the truth is great stories will always exist, no matter what kind of software we have. The only three things essential to writing a great book:

That’s all you need. Do you want to write your book? If you do, then do it. Write it. Nothing is stopping you except you.  So go get writing. What pieces of book writing software do you use?  Let us know in the comments .

The world is full of powerful software to help you write your book. In the end, though, all these tools are just that—tools. The stories you imagine and your discipline to put the words on the page are far more important. So for this practice, set aside all the fancy software. Eliminate all the bells and whistles and open up your computer's native text editor (TextEdit for Mac or Notepad for Windows). Take fifteen minutes to write without any distractions. Continue your work in progress, or start a new story based on this prompt: A student discovers one of their teachers is not what they appear to be. When you're done, share your writing practice in practice box below. And if you share, be sure to leave feedback for your fellow writers in the comments !

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Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris , a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

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Book Writing Software

Book Writing Software to Help You Create, Organize, and Edit Your Manuscript

Writing a book is no cakewalk. I ought to know—I’ve done it nearly 200 times.

But plenty of quality tools help make this challenge easier.

The right book writing software can help you:

Software writing programs you may want to check out:

(Full disclosure: If you buy any of these, I get a small commission at no cost to you. But these tools have helped enough writers to where I would recommend them even if I didn’t get a dime!)

1. Scrivener


Scrivener is the ultimate book-organization tool.

It allows you to view your notes, research, outline , and writing all in one place, and you can print your whole manuscript with the click of your mouse.

There’s a bit of a learning curve, but Scrivener comes with tutorials, and many other such aids are easily found online.

It may look overwhelming at first (I’m still learning it myself), but it’s worth the time and effort.

Just give yourself time to get familiar with the basics.

*I benefited from great teaching programs like Learn Scrivener Fast , plus Scrivener itself comes with a built-in tutorial.

Price: $49 for Mac and $40 for PC

Click here to buy Scrivener .

2. google docs.

book writing software learning

Google Docs is a great collaborative tool. My team and I are literally a thousand miles from each other, and we use this program virtually every day.

It’s a free, standard word processor that allows multiple people to work on the same document simultaneously. I’m working on this document in Google Docs right now.

Just as with Track Changes in Word, an agent or editor or accountability partner can help fine-tune your work-in-progress in Suggestion Mode. You accept or reject the suggestions, and you can both comment in the margin.

Other advantages:

Price: Free

Click here to start using Google Docs .

book writing software learning

Freedom allows you to temporarily block apps, websites, and social media across all your devices so you can focus on writing (don’t worry, people can still reach you in an emergency).

You can even schedule the app to work automatically when you need it most — when you’re writing.

If you’re like me, you’ll be glad for the freedom from  online distractions where “just a few seconds” turns into hours of unproductive net surfing. Freedom can help you focus and increase your productivity.

And it works on all devices.

Cost: $6.99 per month, $29 per year, or a $129 lifetime fee.

Want to block distractions while you write?

Click here to get Freedom .

4. prowritingaid.

book writing software learning

ProWritingAid offers grammar, style, and writing suggestions as you write—for you to accept — or reject — at the click of a button.

It integrates with the apps and programs you use most, like:

Other pros:

Price: $50 for 1 year, $75 for 2 years, $100 for 3 years, or $175 for life

I recommend trying the free version first.

Click here to get more info on ProWritingAid .

5. grammarly.

book writing software learning

Similar to ProWritingAid , Grammarly can help fine-tune your writing.

It automatically checks spelling and grammar, whether you’re writing a book or an email.

The premium version also:

Cost: $29.95 per month, $59.95 per quarter, or $139.95 per year.

Try the free version first.

Click here to get Grammarly .

book writing software learning

6. Novel Factory

A creative writing software that guides you through the novel writing process. 

Novel Factory prompts you to:

It offers: 

Novel Factory is designed for Windows and is currently unavailable for Mac.

Cost: $39.99

Click here to start using Novel Factory .

7. hemingway editor.

book writing software learning

Focuses less on grammar and spelling and more on writing style. 

It highlights: 

Cost: Free if used on the Hemingway Editor website (you can then copy/paste into your document), $19.99 to purchase your own version.

Click here to start using Hemingway Editor .

8. evernote.

book writing software learning

A note taking app that allows you to:  

Cost: Basic Evernote free, Premium $7.99/month, Business $14.99/month

Click here to start using Evernote .

book writing software learning

Designed by a writer for writers , yWriter is a word processor that helps organize your novel into scenes and chapters. 

The program: 

YWriter currently runs only within Windows.

Click here to start using yWriter .

10. ulysses.

book writing software learning

A simple word processing software for Mac users.

Con: does not assist in developing characters or plot .

Cost: App download free, subscription $4.99/month or $39.99/year

Click here to start using Ulysses .

Allows your to professionally format books for publication. 

Available for Mac users only, the software is free, but you must purchase a package before exporting a file for publication. 

Cost: $199.99 for publishing unlimited e-books, $249.99 for publishing unlimited e-books and paperbacks

Click here to start using Vellum .

12. focus writer.

book writing software learning

A bare-bones word processor. 

In full-screen mode, toolbars disappear until you scroll over them. 

Click here to start using FocusWriter .

13. milanote.

book writing software learning

Hailed as “Evernote for creatives,” a visual story-telling tool for Mac users.

It enables you to: 

Other Pros: 

Cost: Basic version free, premium version $9.99/month

Click here to start using Milanote .

14. fastpencil.

book writing software learning

Offers tools for self-publishing. 

Cost: Free, with additional paid publishing packages

Click here to start using FastPencil .

15. bibisco.

…an all in one project management tool for your novel. 

It acts as a word processor, organizer, and a creativity guide all at the same time.

For Outliners, bibisco allows creativity in your organization. You can interview your characters, create a timeline of events, and track your chapters in one place. 

It works for Mac, Windows, and Linux. 

bibisco has a free version and a premium version that starts at 15 euro for a one-time purchase.

Click here to start using bibisco .

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book writing software learning

What You and I Can Learn From Patricia Raybon

The Best Book Writing Software in 2023 [You Already Have It]

book writing software learning

Think about your favorite authors—the ones whose books deeply affected your life. Do you know what all of them had in common?

None of them used special book writing software to write their book.

Yet, this is where many beginning and amateur writers start. They spend so much time searching for the “perfect” book writing software (among other tools) that will magically make their writing better.

Let me spare you time and money: software is not a relevant consideration for writing a great book and being a successful author.

In fact, most writing software adds complexity without any value (Exhibit A: Scrivener ).

That’s not to say writing software will never be relevant. It could happen. But after testing and trying all of them, I have yet to find software that helps write a book.

I’ve been writing professionally for 15 years and wrote four New York Times Best Sellers with basic software. The same is true for almost every other professional writer I know. If you’re stuck on finding the “perfect” software, something else is holding you back.

What’s Really Going On

We all know this person: he decided to start golfing (or CrossFit, or MMA, or yoga or knitting, doesn’t matter), and then spent weeks researching the perfect gear. Then he spent way too much money on it, showed it off to all his friends, took a few cool Instagram pics…and then never actually used the equipment.

People who obsess over tools are usually scared of the work.

For most people who obsess over writing software, it’s a way of hiding from the actual writing. It’s understandable— writing a book can bring up a lot of fears . I say this not as a judgment, but as a person who has done this exact thing many, many times in other areas of my life. After all, it’s fun to shop for equipment and to fantasize about success. And taking pictures is such an easy way to get the attention benefit of hard work without having to suffer through the actual hard work.

But the ONLY way to actually accomplish anything is through doing the hard work…and that is scary.

Again, I say that without judgment. I have been the author afraid to write a book and using a distraction to avoid this fear many times. And I have seen many authors afraid to write a book, for any number of reasons (that usually boils down to the fear it will make them look stupid), so they install a writing assistant but never write a page.

I wrote an in-depth blog post that details the 6 book writing fears and how to beat them . But again, knowing you are afraid, and connecting that fear to your endless search for something to distract you, is not an easy thing to do.

If you are looking for the best book writing software, I would highly recommend you ask yourself this question: is this search necessary, or am I distracting myself from my fear?

Now—all of this being said, there are very valid reasons to want to find and use good tools to help you make the writing process easier. For example, you may want a writing program that better enables you to write chapter by chapter, has file management,  or lets you set daily goals.

To that end, here is my evaluation of some of the more common tools.

The Best Writing Programs for Writers

1. word processors & text editors.

Every word processor is essentially the same. You should use the one you like best.

I like Google Docs because it’s simple to use and makes real-time collaboration very easy. Files are stored in Google Drive and require an internet connection to access if you’re not using Google Drive’s offline storage option and install the Chrome Extension Google Docs Offline .

You might like Microsoft Word or Pages best. That’s totally fine.

Many writers have begun using Obsidian . A free tool available for Mac, Windows, and Linux that stores your writing as markdown files on your local computer (so you can easily access them without an internet connection).

It’s not for everyone though. The real power of Obsidian comes from its key feature to find connections and relationships between ideas (called bidirectional linking), which can be very useful when you’re trying to weave together a coherent narrative between chapters or across a series of books.

It’s not the greatest for editorial collaboration though. You can share your files with an editor or publisher but they can’t leave comments the way they can in Google Docs. Obsidian is better suited for when you’re writing your rough draft of your book before transferring it into Google Docs or Microsoft Word.

It’s a powerful tool with a lot of advanced features that have a pretty steep learning curve, so don’t let yourself get distracted if you use it. Focus on what matters most: getting words down on paper.

Example of the Obsidian text editor used as book writing software.

I can promise you though, there is no “right” choice here. The key is familiarity and comfort. Writing a book is hard work—you don’t want clunky software slowing you down, so go with what you know and with what feels right to you.

2. Grammarly

Every word processor will check your spelling and grammar for basic mistakes. What spell check won’t help you do is make your writing short, simple, and direct .

If you would like help with that, check out Grammarly , a free writing assistant that integrates with Google Docs and Microsoft Word that’s easy to use with a great user experience. If you have a Mac, you can download the desktop app. It integrates with the most common tools writers use.

There are paid plans available, but the free version is enough for writing a book.

I tried Grammarly for a while and found it clunky, but many excellent writers I know love it. Test it and see if you’d like.

3. Hemingway Editor

An alternative writing assistant is Hemingway Editor/Hemingway App .

You can copy + paste your writing into their online editor (Hemingway Editor) or purchase the premium version ($19.99) as a desktop app (Hemingway App).

Some writers love Hemingway Editor, some don’t. I kinda like it, but don’t use it. It’s helpful for sentence structure and common problem areas: passive voice , excessive adverbs, and poor word choice.


One unique feature of this software is that it assigns a readability grade level as you write.

This doesn’t necessarily reflect your target audience, but the grade level needed to understand your prose. Hemingway’s work, while written for adults, scored as 5th grade. Seems bad? Wrong. That’s great. The more simple and direct your writing, the better it is.

If, like most people, you struggle with overwriting, this might be a tool you like.

4. Distraction-Free Software

Honestly, I think distraction-free programs are pretty dumb.

If you block websites on your computer while you write, you can always pick up your phone and check Instagram. Options like Freedom that sync across your devices have a monthly fee.

That said, if you know you’re prone to distraction and want something that helps you get into focus mode, a program like WasteNoTime or FocalFilter might be worth a try. If it helps you stay focused and write, by all means, use it!

Now Just Go Write

It’s what you need to do, instead of spending time worrying about what is the best writing software to use.

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book writing software learning

15 Best Book Writing Software Tools (2023 Guide)

BY Charity Jerop | Sep 10, 2020 | Writing , Reviews

On the hunt for the best book writing software for you?

Writing software can be hard to come by, especially since what might work best for you, doesn't necessarily work for someone else and vice versa.

Some might argue that the medium is not the issue – they'll tell you don't worry about fancy writing software, just start writing.

And while that may be true for some, in our experience with helping thousands of authors write and self-publish a book, we've found that every author has a tool that helps them organize their writing, and increase their productivity.

Software specifically designed to write a book can make your writing process more organized, efficient, and focused, ultimately allowing you to write your book faster .

We've compiled the best free writing software for beginners, but there are some paid tools included here that require some learning, too.

best book writing software

In this article, we’ll not only take a detailed look at the free writing software tools available to authors, but we’ll cover some paid tools, as well. 

Here is the best book writing software:

What is Book Writing Software?

Book writing software is a program designed to streamline the book writing process using technology on a computer or other device. It is mainly a word processor with added benefits specifically for authors and novelists, such as book organization tools, story development features, and more.

There are many options for free book writing software, as well as paid writing software for all budgets and price points. Depending on your own needs as an author and writer, there are many book writing software to choose from.

Maybe you’re a writer that’s just getting started on how to write a book . Or maybe you’re a seasoned writer that’s researching how to become an author and you’re ready to commit to your practice with the best book writing software available. 

No matter what type of writer you are, there is software designed to streamline your writing process. It’s just a matter of finding the perfect one to fit your needs!

Do You Really Need Software to Write a Book?

We know what you’re thinking. All that’s needed to write is pen and paper.

In simple terms, yes – you don’t need a fancy writing tool to actually write. In fact, humans have been expressing their creativity and ideas through writing using the most basic tools available for centuries. 

But every writer needs a medium, which is the tool that you use to write on or with. The efficiency and ease-of-use of the medium can affect the writer’s productivity.

Think about how easy a typewriter or keyboard makes it to type a 50,000 word novel; now, imagine having to write that many words by carving it on stone. See how the medium can affect your productivity as a writer? 

Technology has made the writing process easier – there’s no doubt about that. But is writing software necessary? 

I posed this exact question to a group of writers to see if they really use software. Based on their feedback, it’s clear that writers like you value these programs. Every writer has their preferred book writing software, and some use multiple writing software programs. 

Take a look at some of the responses: 

best writing software user feedback screenshot

That's just a quick look at how many real-life writers actually use book writing software to improve their efficiency and organization.

So, the next time you're in need of gifts for writers , consider buying them a subscription to their favorite book writing software!

The Pros to Using Book Writing Software

Of course you can write using whatever tools are available to you, but there are some important reasons to consider using special software for writing a book.

Writing is already hard – why make it even more difficult by not utilizing the tools that were designed to make the process easier?

When you make technology work for you and not against you, great things can come out of it – like that book you’ve been meaning to write!

Here are the main reasons to use book writing software:

1. Your book files are organized in one place. No need to have each book chapter file saved in various places throughout your desktop. Keep it clean and organized with book writing software. With most tools, you can even access files from anywhere, making it easy to pick up where you left off no matter where you are, or what time of day it is.

2. Special built-in features designed to make your writing life easier . The best writing software programs have built-in features that can prevent a ton of issues. For example, you can check for spelling and grammar mistakes on-the-go, which cuts down your editing time. Or use features like a plagiarism checker , which automatically highlights sections in your text that need citation.

3. The auto save feature will automatically save your work as you type. Losing your unsaved work due to unavoidable circumstances (like your power going out) is a thing of the past! Auto-save is a lifesaver when it comes to ensuring your book progress is continuously updated.

4. Prevent distractions so you can focus on writing. Some book writing tools have features to block you from unnecessary distractions. This ultimately helps you get done with your book in the shortest time possible, and helps you create a productive writing space .

5. Create a productive writing process. Once you learn the ins and outs of your book writing software, you’ll feel comfortable making it part of your writing process . Chances are, you won’t want to write without it! 

Now that you know why it’s important to give book writing software a shot, let’s dive start with the free book writing software available. Then, we’ll move on to book writing software tools that offer paid versions. 

As we go through the list, it is important for you to consider certain factors when choosing which writing tool is best for you. 

There isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to writing. What works for one author, might not work for another author.

How to decide which book writing software is best for you:

Free Book Writing Software For Beginners

Before we dive in to the best paid book writing software, let’s take a look at some of the free options available to beginner writers.

We always recommend taking advantage of some of the free tools out there, so that you can get a feel for what you want to invest in. There are plenty of free book writing software for beginners to choose from, so try a few (or all!).

These free book writing tools have the basic essentials to provide you with the features you need, so that you can have more time for writing .

#1 – Zoho Writer

Writer by Zoho , also known as Zoho Writer, is an online word processor that comes with special features to help you write from anywhere and at any time you want to. It is a cloud software, which means you can access it on all of your devices, no matter where you are. 

Even better, Zoho has different templates for you to choose from, depending on what it is you need to write.

Benefits to using Zoho Writer as a free book writing software for beginners:

#1 – It’s readily available . You do not need to sign up or log in to be able to use it. And to add, Zoho Writer is user-friendly and if you are part of a team of writers, you can work together and share the documents with each other using the share button at the top right corner.

zoho writing software for books screenshot

#2 – You can write offline, without internet access.  To add, despite this software being on online writing tool, you can still write your way offline and have you're work synced to your account.

#3 – You can use it across all devices. You can also use this book writing software across all the devices be it your phone, Tablet, or a PC. No need to worry about accessing your manuscript from the wrong device

This book writing software is free.

#2 – LibreOffice

Developed by the Document Foundation, LibreOffice is open source software that prides itself on being a free office suite. While it boasts other programs for spreadsheets and charts, Write is the name of its free word processor. 

Benefits to using LibreOffice Writer as a free book writing software for beginners:

#1 – It’s a robust one-stop-shop for writers. And it’s similar to Microsoft Word (which we’ll cover in our paid writing software section). 

libreoffice writing software screenshot

#2 – It’s an effective word processing tool with helpful features for authors.  It wasn’t only created for writers, but can be used by anyone who needs a word processor. At its core, it can be used as a powerful book writing software for authors. The autocorrect and spell checker tools allows you to catch grammar and spelling mistakes in the fly. It also supports other languages no need to worry if you want to write your book in your native language.

#3 – It provides useful templates. LibreOffice includes readily available templates to choose from, that are properly formatted to meet your needs. All you need to do is add your text! Whether you want to write your resume, brochures, letters or your book, these templates can save you time and come in handy for clean, crisp formatting.

#3 – Google Docs

Google Docs is by far the most common and widely used writing software, and this list of free book writing software tools wouldn’t be complete without mentioning it. 

Google Docs is a word processing tool that comes with your Google account. If you have a Gmail account then you already have access to Google Docs.

Benefits to using Google Docs as a free book writing software for beginners:

#1 – You can write and access it from anywhere. Like Zoho Writer, it’s a cloud platform, which means you can write anytime inspiration strikes. You can also use this book writing software when you’re offline and don’t have access to WiFi or internet. 

screenshot of google docs writing software

#2 – Your work is autosaved. Each time you key a letter, your Google Doc will save your progress. No need to worry about clicking the “save” button every time you add a new page in your book! You can also view revision history, in case you accidentally delete or change something that you want to restore.

#3 – It’s easy to collaborate with a team, another writer, or an editor . Additional features streamline the collaboration process, such as sharing your work with others. Be it your co-author , editor, you are a click away. You can also use the track changes feature for the editing process, so you can see exactly what your editor has changed. 

Note: A major downside to using Google Docs as your book writing software is that it does not support heavy formatting and outlining . Therefore, writing an entire book on this platform can be a bit challenging, but you can still use it for short stories , articles and note-keeping.

#4 – FocusWriter

FocusWriter is a “simple, distraction-free writing environment.” If you struggle to stay focused and on task during your writing sessions, FocusWriter may be the solution for you.

screenshot of focuswriter

Benefits to using FocusWriter as your free book writing software:

#1 – Designed to be distraction-free. Like its name suggests, FocusWriter helps you zero in on your project by eliminating anything that could produce a distraction within the program with its hide-away interface.

#2 – Timers and alarms. This is for my writers who love to write in sprints. Structure your writing sessions by planning and timing how long you'll write.

#3 – Auto-save function. If you're a writer who struggles to remember saving your own work, FocusWriter has you covered with their auto-saves.

#5 – Evernote

Evernote has both a free, and paid version. You can use the free version as a word processor and note-taking software, or pay for the premium version if you want extra perks.

While Evernote isn't designed specifically for books, the tool's organization makes it a feasible option as a book writing software.

Benefits to using Evernote as your free book writing software:

#1 – Streamlines note-taking process. At it's core, Evernote is a writing software that's designed to make note-taking easy and efficient. This makes it a useful book writing software because the same note-taking organization principles can be integrated into the process of writing a book .

#2 – Versatility makes for easy customization. While Evernote isn't designed for just authors and novelists, the versatility it brings to users with multiple uses for the program come in handy, especially for those writing a book. The ability to create notebooks, tags, and sort information, as well as robust AI-suggested content means that this book writing software is a power-house for personalization. With enough tweaks and adaptability, Evernote is a super versatile program that you can adjust to fit your needs best.

#3 – A hub for your book research and inspiration. Anyone who is in the process of writing a book knows how often a random surge of inspiration, or piece of research , hits us as we write. Evernote is perfect for housing all of our inspirational quotes or research, without derailing our book writing efforts altogether.

Related: Inspirational Writing Quotes

Best Paid Book Writing Software

Now that we’ve covered the top free book writing software tools available, let’s move on to the paid book writing software. 

If you're concerned about investing in a paid book writing software, then do as much research as you can on the product before you buy it. Also, consider the costs of your initial investment – will it pay for itself when you start earning book profits ?

#6 – NovelPad

NovelPad is a novel-writing software developed for the way writers write.

Unlike other book writing software on the market that requires you to download a program to your computer, NovelPad can be accessed on any device with web access. If you want to try it out before committing, take advantage of the 14-day free trial (no credit card required) .

This book writing software is $8 per month

Benefits to using NovelPad as your book writing software:

#1 – Use it on any device, online or off . NovelPad is browser-based, so you can open your projects on any device. They also have offline mode, if you'd like to limit distractions by disabling web connection, or if you're writing on the go.

#2 – Minimal, distraction-free design. The layout is simplistic and minimal, with limited distractions. The NovelPad team has stated that they only include features when and where writers require them, which leads to an incredibly intuitive, easy-to-use system.

screenshot of novelpad software

#3 – Chapters page . A popular NovelPad feature is the ability to have a bird's eye view of your entire project. You can use scene descriptions, color labels, and other organizational tools to know at a glance what's happening in each scene, then simply click and drag to reorder them. This is a big time save for longer projects!

#4 – Customizable word count goal and tracker . Trying to hit a specific writing goal ? NovelPad has you covered. Instead of tracking your word count goal externally through a spreadsheet or other means, NovelPad allows you to set goals and tracks them for you. Set vacations and sprints, customize which days you'd like to write more or less, and let NovelPad do the math for you.

# 5 – ProWritingAid is included. That's right! Get a streamlined drafting software and stellar grammar check with one subscription.

#7 – Ulysses

Ulysses is also another full-fledged book writing software specifically designed for Mac users. Whether you are a Sci-Fi writer or learning how to publish an eBook writer, Ulysses is an all in one software that allows you to focus on your main business – writing. 

This book writing software starts at $5.99 per month

ulysses writing software focus and productivity features screenshot

Benefits to using Ulysses Writer as your book writing software:

#1 – Minimalist interface. Getting distracted while writing can hurt the flow of your creative juices pretty bad. Ulysses comes with a minimalistic interface to help you stay focused and productive.

#2 – The customizable editor comes with special perks. You can choose to switch to typewriter mode. You can attach additional information from images, pdf, keywords, notes, and anything in between.

#3 – You can publish directly to WordPress and Medium. Instead of having to copy and paste all of your text from your writing software into a website, you can simply publish directly to the site. This is especially helpful for authors that blog.

#4 – You can share your writing in any file format you want. No more complicated conversion processes to be done outside of the book writing software!

Note : Ulysses is only available on Apple products at the time of writing.

Price: You have to pay for a subscription for you to enjoy its awesomeness.

#8 – Hemingway App

Have you heard of Hemingway App yet? If you have, then chances are you know either love it or hate it. As the name suggests, Hemingway is a word processing app that is simple and easy to use, but is very visual.

This book writing software starts at $19.99

hemingway app for authors

Related: Hemingway App Review

Benefits to using Hemingway App as your book writing software:

#1 – It comes with advanced editing and revising tools like the spell and grammar checker to help you come up with the finest writing piece. It uses different colors to highlight sentences/words that need restructuring.

#2 – There is a helpful sidebar display that shows things like the readability level of your writing, as well as your overall word count. 

#3 – It has a free editor. Even if you don’t want to pay for the subscription, you can still use the free editing tool! 

Note: We’ve all been advised to not edit as we write, especially when during the book writing process. Since Hemingway draws a lot of visual attention to errors, this could slow your writing down if you’re one to get distracted easily!

#9 – Scrivener

Almost every modern book writer out there (regardless of the genre) swears by this powerful book writing software.

It's jam packed with features and tools to help you organize and write your book, but there is a learning curve to be aware of.

If you want to try Scrivener out, plan to take some tutorials before investing in this program to determine if it's really right for you.

scrivener for book writers

And this is likely because Scrivener was specifically designed for writers.

This book writing software starts at $49

Benefits to using Scrivener as your book writing software:

#1 – Scrivener boasts a user-friendly drag and drops features available on its user interface. The outliner tool helps you work on your book while having an overview of what your chapter, a page or even the whole book would look like.

#2 – Includes research tools for easy reference. The snapshot tool allows you to take snapshots that you want to view and reference later, without losing your train of thought.

#3 – You can set writing targets. Setting targets can really boost  your productivity game as a book writer. Scrivener has a target setting tool to help you set your own targets and work towards achieving them.

#4 – Customizable organization with the binder tool. If you are the type of writer who likes working on an organized and well-planned piece, then Scrivener is your perfect match. The binder tool allows organizing your manuscript in files, sub-files, sub-sub- files and so on.

Note: While Scrivener is a super robust software for writing a book, you’ll most likely have to watch a few tutorials to learn how to master it. 

Price: The cost to purchase Scrivener varies depending on your device. 

#10 – FastPencil

This is also another writing software that can take your writing game a notch higher. With FastPencil , you can draft, edit, publish, and even sell your book through some of the best booksellers in the industry.

Benefits to using FastPencil as your book writing software:

#1 – It’s an all in one software. Just like we mentioned above, you can use this writing software to not only write your book, but it also can include editing, publishing, and marketing services – depending on your needs and budget.

#2 – It’s fairly easy to learn how to use. The software is pretty user-friendly, and there isn’t a high learning curve when you’re figuring out how it works. 

#3 – You can use it to write your book in an organized manner.  Because it is designed specifically for book writers, there are tools to help you section off chapters.

#4 – A variety of special features are included, such as being able to preview how your book will look live. Another handy tool is the chat tool, which makes collaboration with other writers and/or editors easy. 

fastpencil writing software screenshot

Price: FastPencil is available for free if you only want to use it as a word processing tool, but you can pay for access to  more advanced features. 

This book writing software cost depends on service

screenshot of fastpencil pricing

#11 – Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is one of the most common, and widely used word processors out there, because it’s pretty much the oldest one.

But even today, it remains a top contender as the book writing software preference for many authors. 

This book writing software starts at $159.99, but might be included with your device

microsoft word blank page screenshot

Benefits to using Microsoft Word as your book writing software:

# 1 – It’s very user-friendly and many writers already have experience using it, whether they learned it in school or at work. While it’s an older program and has been updated numerous times, its function remains the same overall. 

#2 – The simple visual interface can create a distraction-free writing space. Other than the top toolbar, the rest of the window is reserved as your page, with ample room for your text. 

#3 – You can create and use templates. Because it’s so versatile, Word has many options for customizing the functions to meet your needs as you write your book. For example, you can use headers to create chapters or sections of your book. 

Price: If your device doesn’t already include access to Microsoft Word, you can buy it; the price will vary depending on your needs and which package you want. 

Bonus Writing Software Tools To Help You Write Your Book

We’ve covered eleven of the best free and paid writing softwares available for aspiring authors. But wait – there’s more! 

While the last two writing tools we mention aren’t exactly word processing software programs, they are tools many authors find helpful to use in their writing practice. 

#12 – Grammarly

Grammarly is not just a writing tool but also an AI-powered program to help you write a clean, crisp book that’s free from common errors, such as grammar and spelling.

There is a free version available, but the paid version offers more advanced features like the plagiarism checker tool.

You can even add Grammarly as a Chrome Extension, so it can edit and revise any writing you do – from emails, to social media posts, and more! 

screenshot of grammarly software

#13 – Freedom

When you’re writing from a computer or laptop, it’s easy to get distracted with the internet just one tab away – distracting you from your work , and preventing your book from actually getting written. This is where Freedom comes in. 

Freedom helps you stay focused by blocking sites on the internet that might shift your attention.

free writing software freedom features

#14 – ProWritingAid

We cover all the nuts and bolts of this writing tool in our complete ProWritingAid review .

But for a quick summary, ProWritingAid is a tool that can be used with many book writing software programs, and is a robust tool that checks grammar, spelling, edits style, and offers a number of writing improvement insights based on AI-powered reports.

If you're looking for a tool to pair with your book writing software of choice, and are dedicated to improving your writing quality and style, then ProWritingAid will offer more than any standard spellchecker can.

Get ProWritingAid here .

#15 – FocusWriter

A word processor that touts “distraction-free” features, this simple book writing software is designed to keep writer's focus on their writing.

Although it's not as high-tech as some of the other writing programs available, it's not meant to be. FocusWriter uses a hide-away interface with a customizable environment and autosave. It's not fancy, but it is useful! And really, the fancy programs are usually the ones that we get sidetracked with due to shiny object syndrome.

Download FocusWriter here.

So there you have it! The best writing software programs you can choose from to streamline your writing process, improve productivity, and get your book written faster. 

Researching the different writing software and tools can be overwhelming, but remember: it’s important to pick programs that work for you.

What works for one writer, may not work for you! If you start using one software, then discover that it’s not right for you – that’s okay. You don’t have to commit to one writing tool if it’s hindering your productivity. 

Once you find the perfect book writing software for YOU, the rest will fall in line. 

What's your favorite book writing software?

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Home / Book Writing / Best Book Writing Software 2023 [Writing, Editing & Focus]

Best Book Writing Software 2023 [Writing, Editing & Focus]

What is the best software for writing a book ? The best book writing software in 2023 is Atticus. (Sorry, spoiler alert!)

However, there are various novel writing tools available that cater to different authors. For example:

Every author asks themselves if they are really using the best book writing software to effectively organize their novel, as well as their writing process.

Thankfully, the right tools can save you time and frustration and may even make the long process of writing a novel or nonfiction book more enjoyable.

Table of contents

Check out this table of the 11 book writing software we’ll be talking about, along with how much each one costs:

Atticus is the best all-in-one software for writing and formatting a book. It provides full capabilities for both of these, and works on Mac, Windows, Linux and Chromebook.

What software is the best for writing books? Atticus is the only software that provides both an elegant formatting software and a word processor specifically for authors. If Scrivener, Google Docs, and Vellum had a baby, it's name would be Atticus.

The famous DOC and DOCX file formats come from Microsoft’s ubiquitous software. Many publishers ask for manuscripts to be submitted in DOC or DOCX files, and nothing else. (It’s easy to convert another file format into DOC or DOCX.)

Read my more in-depth review of Atticus .

Can I write a book in Atticus? Yes, you absolutely can. In fact, it's even built in with goal tracking and other tools that make writing in Atticus a way to increase your writing momentum.

But not only that, Atticus is also the best formatting tool for creating books that exists on all platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chromebook. It also exports to EPUB, PDFs for print, and DOCX.

How much does Atticus cost? Atticus is a one-time fee of $147 USD. That includes all future updates, which you will receive at no extra cost. Forever. No subscriptions.

You can access Atticus online, or use the progressive web app to install it on your computer for use offline (note: you will need to be online to install it and to export a book).

Pros for using Atticus to write a novel:

Cons for using Atticus to write a novel:

Scrivener is an amazing creative writing software developed by Literature & Latte that lets you view multiple documents at once, set writing goals, leave yourself brainstorming comments for later, and even import research files to keep on hand.

What is the most complicated program for writing a book? The most complicated program for writing a book is Scrivener. It’s inexpensive and its myriad features more than make up the price tag.

Read my more in-depth review of Scrivener version 3.0 .

How much does Scrivener cost?

Follow these steps to use the discount coupon.

Before you purchase it, you can try Scrivener’s full trial for 30 working days, for free. 30 working days means that Scrivener only counts the trial days when you actually open the app and work on it.

Within Scrivener, you open projects, not documents. Its developers realized that one project itself can entail endless files and folders and spreadsheets, so they made it incredibly simple to navigate through multiple documents within the same Scrivener project. Also, you can find some excellent Scrivener templates for just about every creative writing form out there.

Unfortunately, when I imported a TXT file into Scrivener, it seemed to undo all italics I had in the file. I had no formatting problems when importing DOCXs or RTFs.

Pros of using Scrivener:

Cons of using Scrivener:

One of my favorite aspects of Scrivener is that you can customize the toolbar. 

Some authors will want the Dictionary feature on their toolbar, while others want the Insert feature. When editing, you may add the Comment button to your toolbar, or the Add button when you’re first compiling your project.

Microsoft Word is the industry-standard word processor — for better or worse. When you ask the average person what they think of when you say word processing, a majority will say MS Word.

What software do most writers use? Most writers probably use MS Word because it is the gold standard of word processors, even if it shouldn’t be.

Can I write a book in Microsoft Word? Yes, you can write a book in MS Word. However, I would not recommend it.

Read my more in-depth instructions to use Microsoft Word to write books .

The biggest problem for Word? It was designed for writing anything — not specifically for writing novels or long nonfiction books. It was not created by authors, nor for authors.

Word is tolerable for shorter works; however, if you're really looking for the best book writing software, Word does not measure up to its competitors.

Interesting fact: Stephen King uses MS Word writing software to draft his book manuscripts. He uses Final Draft to write screenplays.

How much does MS Word cost? Microsoft Word costs $139.99 as a one-time purchase. You can also spend $6.99/month (or more) for a subscription to Microsoft 365, which includes Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, and 1 TB of cloud storage on the OneDrive.

You (and up to 5 other people) can try out Microsoft Office for FREE during a 1-month trial.

Pros for using MS Word to write a novel:

Cons for using MS Word to write a novel:

Google Docs is a useful browser-based writing tool that is free and available to anyone with a Google account. However, Google Docs may not be able to handle a lengthy manuscript.

Our team uses Google Docs for writing our blog posts because it’s the easiest way we’ve found to all work on one document at the same time, add comments, see revisions, and even chat. (Google spreadsheets can also be a useful tool, especially for outlining.)

What is the best free software for writing a book? The best free software for a writing project is Google Docs, if your book is short. Apple Pages or yWriter may be better for longer books, as far as the free stuff goes.

Read my more in-depth discussion on writing a book in Google Docs .

Many users experience major lag when editing a document with more than 15,000 words — not even half the length of a novel.

I’ve known authors who used Google Docs because it was free and convenient, then had to give it up. Why? Because you have to wait five seconds for every sentence to appear after you type it once you surpass 15k-25k words.

Pros for using Google Docs to write a novel:

Cons for using Google Docs to write a novel:

As you can see by this screenshot, Google Docs offers a whole host of formatting options, constant autosaving (as long as you’re online), and extensive sharing/collaboration capabilities.

The Reedsy Book Editor is another free tool that can be useful to authors on a budget. It has a simple layout and formatting capability.

The biggest advantage to the Reedsy Book Editor is that it's free, and it can technically work on all platforms because it's browser-based.

What this means, however, is that there is no offline functionality. The functions of the editor are also rather simple when compared to a more robust writing program like Scrivener, or a formatting program like Atticus. Regardless, it can still be a useful tool if you are looking for something that's free.

How much does the Reedsy Book Editor cost?

All in all, the Reedsy Book Editor is a great tool for authors who want to write and format their book for free.

Pros for using Reedsy to write a novel:

Cons for using Reedsy to write a novel:

Simon Hayes (AKA Spacejock) developed yWriter to be the best free, standalone app for fiction writing.

It encourages writers to write scenes, not chapters — since scenes are smaller and more manageable. Also, you can input data into multiple fields concerning each scene and chapter. This provides authors with a wealth of raw data they can analyze at any time.

You can even set goals for words per day or words per hour.

Read my more in-depth review of yWriter .

How much does yWriter cost?

All in all, yWriter is great for authors who love analyzing how many chapters each character is in, how many scenes are in each chapter, etc. For authors who don’t care about that, this may sound foreign. But I know a lot of writers who pour over the metadata of their novel almost as much as they pour over the actual story.

Pros for using yWriter to write a novel:

Cons for using yWriter to write a novel:

Ulysses is a simple, clean, yet customizable app for writing longer projects. Your work syncs automatically between your devices, or you can choose to store work locally.

Unfortunately, Ulysses works only on Apple products.

The price has gone up in recent years. Ulysses now costs $5.99/month or $49.99/year. They also offer a free 2-week trial.

Read my more in-depth review of Ulysses , as well as my comparison to Scrivener .

Pros for using Ulysses to write a novel:

Cons for using Ulysses to write a novel:

Vellum is a book formatting tool developed by 180g, a company originally founded by Pixar employees. Their mission is to “create beautiful books”. In the past, it was the go-to best book formatting software with a basic word processor. However, it had its problems: It was expensive, lacked on the writing side of things, and only worked on Macs.

Yet even with all those problems, Vellums easy to use formatting system, made it a must have in the self-publishing community. Then….Atticus happened, and it all changed.

Like we discussed above, Atticus came into the market and basically did what Vellum did for formatting, but fixed all those problems (works on all computers, over $100 cheaper than Vellum, and has an extensive writing capability). Because of this, Vellum has fallen down the list in best book writing tools. You can see their comparison here .

However, since Atticus was added to the market, Vellum has fallen

The problem with Vellum is that it only works on Mac, was not made for writing it, and is the most expensive tool on this list. So, why is it listed?

What does Vellum cost?

You can get a full refund within 30 days if you're not satisfied with the full-price product.

Pros for using Vellum to write a novel:

Cons for using Vellum to write a novel:

Pages is Apple’s free text editor which lets you write, edit, comment, and collaborate. It is streamlined, yet versatile.

Like most basic word processing programs, Pages can apply text styles and formatting to your words. You can insert images, graphs, and more. And they look great with Pages’ layouts.

Similar to Google Docs, Pages allows real-time collaboration via iCloud. The original author can decide who is allowed to edit or view only.

However, Pages is all about making every page look fantastic — hence the name. It’s not meant to be a strong word processor.

Pages is free for anyone with an Apple account from the Apple Store. Pages comes pre-installed on Apple devices.

Pros for using Pages to write a novel:

Cons of using Pages to write a novel:

As you can tell from this screenshot, Pages works cross-platform and seamlessly collaborates between devices.

LibreOffice Writer is a free, cross-platform writing software meant to rival Microsoft Word. That’s right, LibreOffice is basically MS Word, but for free.

Seriously, though, LibreOffice has been known to run just as well as Word, and with similar features.

And the best part is, it doesn't look nearly as outdated and old as its predecessor, OpenOffice.

LibreOffice is completely free — $0. There is no premium version.

Pros for using LibreOffice to write a novel:

Cons for using LibreOffice to write a novel:

FocusWriter is a free book writing software released by Gott Code. Like a few other word processors on this list, FocusWriter is focused on offering a distraction-free writing environment.

The most notable feature is the big, calming (customizable) background image that sits behind your wall of text. And nothing else lives on the screen. Sure, you can move your mouse to make the toolbar or your word count goal appear. But if you’re typing, all you see is what you’re writing.

Depending on what gets you in the right frame of mind, this app lets you turn on typewriter sound effects or mostly invisible timers.

What is the best free writing software? FocusWriter is the best free writing software for short fiction, or flash fiction — or if you enjoy a distraction-free writing zone. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles that come with other word processors, FocusWriter is very simple.

Although FocusWriter is FREE and has no premium version, donations are welcome and encouraged.

Read my more in-depth review of FocusWriter .

Pros for using FocusWriter to write a novel:

Cons for using FocusWriter to write a novel:

Novlr is a simple word processor with just a few added perks.

The Novlr Proof Reader (grammar and spell check) is on par with Grammarly, which is amazing — a lot better than Google Docs or MS Word. And Novlr offers in-app writing courses to help get the most out of its features.

It doesn’t come with story templates like other premium word processors. And its formatting options are surprisingly limited.

A subscription to Novlr costs $10/month or $100/year. They also offer a 2-week trial for free — no credit card required. In my estimation, though, Novlr is not worth the money.

Pros for using Novlr to write a novel:

Cons for using Novlr to write a novel:

If you'd like to learn more, I have a full Novlr review you can check out.

The creator of bibisco, Italy’s Andrea Feccomandi, believes that character-driven novels are superior to plot-driven novels. (It’s actually a preference, not so much a fact, but we’ll let it slide.)

So Feccomandi developed bibisco word processing software program to focus on character creation. bibisco helps you create every aspect of every important character in your story — from physical traits to personality and emotional state.

What’s truly unique is the interview-style prompts that bibisco uses to extract information from your protagonist, antagonist, and everyone in between.

It also lets you give character to each setting with the Locations tab, as well as important items with the Objects tab even if Objects is only available in the premium version.

Speaking of, how much does Bibisco cost? Basic Bibisco (called Bibisco Community Edition) is completely free. Premium Bibisco (called Bibisco Supporters Edition) is, at minimum, a $17 purchase. However, the premium version is on a pay-what-you-want basis.

Read my more in-depth review of Bibisco .

Pros for using Bibisco to write a novel:

Cons for using Bibisco to write a novel:

Squibler is another tool that many authors use to plot and write their books. It features several appealing features such as a clean organizational system, writing templates, and more.

It is built more as a project management system, meaning it's ideal for authors who work on big interconnected stories together.

You can also use it to write virtually any kind of written material, from technical writing to novels to a screenplay.

But how much does Squibler cost? Well, it's a little pricey at $9.99/month with no lifetime price. That means you're paying $120 every year. This is why we recommend Atticus which has a lifetime price of $147, meaning you'll never have to pay for it ever again, and all future updates come at no extra cost.

Read my more in-depth review of Squibler .

The importance of good editing cannot be understated. While editing software can never replace a real-life editor, these softwares can noticeably improve your writing.

Editing and proofreading software can fix typos, check grammar, and improve your readability. Premium editing software even checks for clichés and passive voice.

Here are the 4 best book editing softwares that any book writer would benefit from:

Plus, if you're looking for a plagiarism checker, here is a free one you can use. Grammarly includes one as well with their paid version, while ProWritingAid using a token system.

Writing your book is only half the battle.

If you'd like to learn more about the art of writing, be sure to check out the masters at MasterClass . These courses are led by prolific writers like James Patterson, Margaret Atwood, Malcolm Gladwell, and more.

Also, we authors have got to market and sell our book as well as write it. 

Below are several tools to help with not only writing but being a successful author:

What is the best software to write books?

You should use Atticus’ word processing software to write your next book. If you’re looking for a free download, use Google Docs for smaller works, or Apple Pages if you’re a Mac user.

I use Google docs to write my articles because it allows me to coordinate with my team and my editor. For blog posts and intracompany documents, easy collaboration is key.

However, that doesn’t cut it when I have a 30K or even 100K-word book to write. When writing a book, I need the best book writing software out there. Google Docs just can’t handle it.

Atticus is the only writing program I use for writing my books . Download it today.

I need book writing software that will easily help me to research, outline, reorganize, write, collaborate, and edit. Atticus has me covered.

No monthly or annual fee? Atticus is a one-time purchase.

Dave Chesson

When I’m not sipping tea with princesses or lightsaber dueling with little Jedi, I’m a book marketing nut. Having consulted multiple publishing companies and NYT best-selling authors, I created Kindlepreneur to help authors sell more books. I’ve even been called “The Kindlepreneur” by Amazon publicly, and I’m here to help you with your author journey.

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121 thoughts on “ Best Book Writing Software 2023 [Writing, Editing & Focus] ”

This is a great breakdown of the option! One thing for Google docs: I just finished a first draft with 76k words and it didn’t lag at all for me. When I first loaded the doc it would take a few seconds, but once it was all showing the writing didn’t have any latency. I could see if you had a custom font installed or maybe add-ons, it could slow down. But so far it’s been smooth and stable for me.

That’s awesome to here.

LibreOffice is a branch of Open Office with a much more active user community for support. Hemingway teaches better writing. Has a free online version for checking your writing and a downloadable app for actually writing on your device. The app can be used as a replacement for FocusWriter. And, of course, Grammarly both free and for a fee is a can’t live without.

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Best Book Writing Software: Top 15 Programs for Writers

Hannah Yang

Hannah Yang

Speculative Fiction Author

best writing software

If you’d been born a few centuries ago, you might have written books using little more than a quill, an inkwell, and a scroll of parchment.

You can still write your book with a quill if you want to—but these days you have a lot more options at your fingertips. There are digital apps you can use that will help you organize your writing projects, catch grammar mistakes, collaborate with others, and so much more.

With so many different options to choose from, it can be hard to figure out which software is right for you.

So, what’s the best writing software to help you write your book?

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the best book writing software options that every writer should know about.

1. ProWritingAid (Best Writing Software for Books)

2. scrivener, 3. google docs, 4. novelpad, 5. reedsy book editor, 6. squibler, 7. microsoft word, 8. grammarly, 9. hemingway, 10. the novel factory, 11. ulysses, 12. atticus, 14. publisher rocket, 15. fictionary, benefits of book writing software, why prowritingaid is loved by book writers, conclusion on the best book writing software.

ProWritingAid is the best book writing software currently available to writers.

It’s a popular writing aid that helps you transform your work in progress into publication-ready prose.

At the most basic level, the software acts as a second set of eyes to catch mistakes you might not spot on your own, such as typos and grammar errors.

On a more advanced level, it also makes style suggestions to help you improve weaknesses like passive voice, the overuse of adverbs, and repetitive sentence starts.

What makes ProWritingAid stand out from the crowd is the depth and quality of analysis it offers. There are over 20 different writing reports that show you the strengths and weaknesses of your book.

Here are just a few examples of the reports you get with ProWritingAid:

ProWritingAid also includes a built-in plagiarism checker that will tell you if any passages in your book overlap with existing written work.

The free version lets you try out all the basic features, but you’ll need the Premium version to unlock the advanced analysis reports. If you’re working on a full-length book, it’s worth the investment.

ProWritingAid's collaboration feature

Cost: Free, or around $70/year for the Premium version

Scrivener is a book writing software specifically designed for writing long-form projects, such as novels, textbooks, and screenplays.

It’s great for organizing large writing projects because it lets you arrange your manuscript in a “binder,” where you can easily rearrange scenes or chapters by dragging and dropping them.

You can see a bird’s-eye view of your book using the corkboard mode, which looks like a physical corkboard full of index cards. You can also toggle to the outline mode, which formats your chapter summaries as an outline.

You can then set targets for your project, such as the word counts you want to hit by certain deadlines. This feature makes it easy to track your progress.

And you can turn on focus mode, which displays only the text you’re currently working on, so you can write without distraction.

There’s a steep learning curve to use all of Scrivener’s advanced features, but many writers love this app, and there are plenty of tutorials online for how to make Scrivener work for you.

Cost: $49/lifetime

Writing can be a solitary task, but the process of writing an entire book requires a lot of collaboration. Authors might need to collect feedback from beta readers, view suggestions from editors, and more.

Google Docs is the best free writing software for collaboration. It allows others to leave comments, suggestions, and even emoji reactions on your book.

Multiple people can edit the same document simultaneously in Google Docs, allowing for real-time collaboration.

Google Docs also automatically uploads your work to the cloud, so you don’t run the risk of losing any of your files. Best of all, it’s free.

One downside is that Google Docs isn’t a perfect book writing software because it is hard to organize a large project using it. We recommend creating a new Doc for each chapter or section of your book, so you don’t have to scroll for minutes on end to get from one section of your book to another.

Another downside is that Google Docs works best when you have an internet connection. It might not be the best tool if you prefer to work offline or on the move.

NovelPad, first launched in 2020, is one of the newest book writing software tools on our list. It’s a novel writing software designed by and for novelists.

Like Scrivener, NovelPad is a word processing tool that lets you rearrange scenes and story beats by dragging and dropping them. In addition to being a word processor, it also comes with many other book writing tools.

One useful feature is character tracking, which lets you jump to all sections where a specific character’s name appears. That way, you can make sure that characters act consistently throughout the book.

Another useful feature is its adaptive progress tracker. NovelPad lets you set different daily word count goals depending on how much time you can spend writing, and it will even readjust your daily goals to account for how much you’ve already written.

You can also color code your scenes, so you can easily see which ones you’re drafting, revising, copyediting, etc.

Best of all, the user interface is extremely intuitive, so this writing program isn’t as hard to learn as Scrivener.

One downside is that there’s no desktop app version of NovelPad, so you can only use it in a web browser. As a result, the offline mode doesn’t always work well.

Cost: $8/month or $60/year

A grammar guru, style editor, and writing mentor in one package.


The Reedsy Book Editor is a free book writing software that also handles formatting for publication while you write.

This online editor is one of the few writing programs that lets you see what the published version of your book will look like while you’re still writing it. It has fantastic editing features compared to most other free writing software tools.

Once you’ve finished your final draft, you can export your book as an EPUB or PDF file, in a format that looks beautiful and clean.

It’s a free alternative to expensive writing programs like Atticus, which format your book for a large fee.

Another advantage is that, similar to Google Docs, the Reedsy Book Editor allows multiple people to work on a document at the same time. If you’re working with a co-writer, this free website might be a great option.

Squibler is a book writing software that helps you streamline your creative process. It’s designed to make the writing process easier, so you can hit your writing goals.

It lets you set to-do lists to increase productivity, and is specifically tailored to help you with project management.

It’s also a very versatile writing software. You can use Squibler for writing a book, crafting a screenplay, or just for writing practice.

If you’re struggling with writer’s block and don’t know what to work on next, you can use Squibler’s Plot Generator, which will give you writing prompts. These machine-generated prompts are a handy tool to help you get the creative juices going.

Cost: $9.99/month

Microsoft Word remains the default word processor used by most writers today. It’s a simple word processor, but it’s still a useful book writing software, especially if it’s an option you already have access to.

One benefit of MS Word is that the user interface is very easy to use. Whatever you see on the screen is the same as what your book will look like when you print it out, so you can make formatting adjustments along the way.

Since most people are already familiar with MS Word, it’s still an industry standard in many contexts. For example, if you send your book to a copyeditor, there’s a good chance they’ll send it back as a MS Word document.

The Track Changes feature makes it easy to edit other people’s stories while giving them the choice to accept or reject those changes.

The downside of MS Word is that it’s not designed to handle extremely large projects, like books. It takes time to scroll from Chapter One to Chapter Ten, and it’s even harder to move a scene from one part of the book to another.

Cost: around $100/year for the entire Microsoft Office suite depending on the site you buy from (includes Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)

Grammarly is a grammar checker that focuses primarily on catching errors, such as typos, grammatical mistakes, and misused punctuation. It also offers style suggestions related to wordy sentences, repetitive words, incorrect comma usage, and other similar fixes.

Some of Grammarly’s top features include its plagiarism detector, its spell check, and its grammar check. It also offers a readability score, which gives you a score from 1 to 100 based on readability factors like word length and sentence length.

The main downside of Grammarly is that it works better with short-form content than long-form content. If you try to scan more than 10,000 words, it slows down significantly. It also doesn’t integrate with popular book writing apps, such as Scrivener and Final Draft.

The free version can catch grammar and spelling mistakes, but you’ll need to pay for the Premium version in order to use the rest of the tool.

Cost: Free, or $30/month, $60/quarter, or $144/year for the Premium version

Read our ProWritingAid vs Grammarly comparison article here.

The Hemingway app is a free writing software that focuses on checking readability. It gives your writing a readability score, so you know how well you're communicating.

It highlights sentences that are dense or overly complex, so you can find ways to shorten them. It also highlights passive voice, overused adverbs, and any other weaknesses that might make your work harder to read.

The downside is that not all of Hemingway’s suggestions are useful. They’re all automatically generated based on fairly simple criteria, so it can be a bit hit-or-miss.

Still, since it’s free software, there’s no downside to running your book through the Hemingway app to see if it offers any useful suggestions.

Cost: Free!

The Novel Factory is a great book writing software for fiction writers.

In addition to being a word processor, it can also help you with the creative process when you’re coming up with ideas.

It includes several interesting writing tools that you can’t find elsewhere.

For example, it comes with a Plot Manager, which includes plot templates for popular genres.

The Novel Factory also helps you develop your characters, with prompts to flesh out your character’s archetype, motivation, and more.

Overall, the Novel Factory is a great book writing software for creative writers who want some help with the ideation process.

Cost: $75/year for the basic version, $198/year for the standard version, or $600/year for the Premium version

Ulysses is a note taking app that lets you sync between all your devices.

Let’s say you come up with some brilliant ideas for your book while you’re commuting home from work, so you type out your ideas on your phone.

Once you get home, you can’t wait to incorporate those ideas into your project—but first, you have to go through the hassle of switching all your notes from your phone to your laptop.

Syncing all your notes can be a real drag, especially if you like to think about your book while you’re on the go.

Ulysses also has a binder-like sidebar that lets you move documents around easily. It’s no replacement for Scrivener, since it’s not designed specifically for writing books. But if you just need a way to take notes and keep track of ideas with minimal stress, it’s a great option.

Common alternatives to Ulysses include Evernote and Bear.

Cost: $5.99/month or $39.99/year

Atticus is a book formatting tool that helps you turn your manuscript into a publication-ready file.

It includes easy-to-use templates you can customize to suit your preferences. With these templates, you can export your book in beautiful formats for both print and eBook.

In addition to formatting your books, Atticus also functions as a word processor, so you can start writing directly in the program if you want to. It even lets you track word count goals as you go, just like Scrivener and NovelPad.

If you’re self-publishing and you’re not planning to hire someone to format your manuscript, a book writing software like Atticus is a must-have so you can make sure your manuscript is ready for publication.

Cost: $147/lifetime

Vellum helps you create a beautifully formatted eBook. Like Atticus, it’s well-known for having gorgeous aesthetics.

Many of the word processors on our list can format eBooks, including Scrivener and Microsoft Word, but most of them don’t produce such beautiful books. Vellum, in particular, focuses on how your book looks.

With the previewer, you can see exactly how your eBooks will appear on Kindle, iPhone, Nook, and other eReaders.

Cost: $199 for eBook generation, $249 for paperback formatting

Publisher Rocket serves a different function from all the other programs in our list.

Instead of helping you write your book, it helps you figure out what kind of book to write—or how to market the book you’re writing, once it’s done.

Essentially, Publisher Rocket is a book marketing research tool that gives you a breakdown of what readers are looking for.

For example, Publisher Rocket can tell you how much money readers are spending on certain niches, such as historical romance. It can also tell you what phrases Amazon buyers are searching for right now, so you can see topics that are trending with readers.

One useful feature is that it can tell you how much money specific books are making per month, so if you know of books that are similar to yours, it can give you a sense of how well your manuscript will perform in the market.

Best of all, it can give you advice for how to market your book to the right audience, which can significantly improve sales.

Cost: $97/lifetime

Fictionary is for fiction writers looking to improve the plot, characters and setting of their stories.

The AI-powered software makes story editing faster by analyzing your manuscript from start to finish and creating powerful visuals of your plotline, scenes, and POVs.

Their structured approach to story editing takes writers through 38 story elements, including how to write conflict, tension, hooks, backstory, emotional impact, and more.

Cost: $19/month or $169/year

If you already have the tools you need to write a book, you might be reluctant to learn how to use new ones. So, why bother investing in book writing software? Here are some key benefits:

If you find the right book writing software for you, you’ll be able to finish a stronger manuscript in a shorter span of time. It’s well worth the investment!

ProWritingAid offers higher quality analysis than any other software on the market.

It’s particularly well-suited for creative writers because it goes beyond looking for basic mistakes and actually improves writing style. Other grammar checkers can transform bad writing into good writing, but ProWritingAid’s style suggestions can transform good writing into great writing.

The more you use ProWritingAid, the more you’ll be able to spot the patterns in your writing. It’s a book writing software that can help you actually improve your writing skills over time.

ProWritingAid detecting cliches

It’s also extremely easy to integrate ProWritingAid into your current writing process, whether you prefer to write in Scrivener, Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or any other popular word processor.

You can check ProWritingAid’s suggestions, make your edits, and save the file directly in your favorite writing app.

If you want writing software that will holistically improve your book, ProWritingAid is one of the best places to start.

There you have it—our top 15 picks for the best writing software options on the market today. You can use these tools to draft your book, edit your prose, format your manuscript, and more.

It’s important to remember that every writer is unique, so a piece of writing software that works well for others might not be the best option for you. Ultimately, the only way to figure out your favorite book writing software is to try some out for yourself.

Most of the book writing software options on our list have free trials you can use to help figure out if that app works for you or not. For example, you can use ProWritingAid right now, no credit card required.

Let us know what your favorite book writing software is. Happy writing!


Hannah is a speculative fiction writer who loves all things strange and surreal. She holds a BA from Yale University and lives in Colorado. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her painting watercolors, playing her ukulele, or hiking in the Rockies. Follow her work on or on Twitter at @hannahxyang.

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Best Book Writing Software: Paid, Free, Grammar, & Productivity [RATED]

Posted on Mar 15, 2023

by Scott Allan

Writing and publishing book successfully requires something major.

It requires the right attitude, a powerful book idea, some solid writing prompts, and the best writing software out there.

(Not to mention a bulletproof roadmap to writing a bestselling book ).

And we know which writing software is best for you – and more importantly, why it matters.

With the best writing tools, you can write faster and more effectively. You’ll be more focused, with fewer distractions, and you can actually learn a thing or two from some of them— like Grammarly .

And just as importantly, you’ll have an easier time keeping your outline, notes, book ideas or writing prompts , and even those writing exercises organized.

But even if you have all the best ideas and an imagination that won’t quit, you can’t do either without the right book writing software.

I mean, you could , but it just makes this already arduous process even harder. No thanks.

You’ll have to make some choices.

Nowadays, authors have so many options when looking for the best book writing software (which is why we created the quiz below–to cut down on decision-making and wasted time!).

Here are the best writing software programs:

Let’s get started by comparing the 3 book writing software “giants,” and then I’ll share some less well-known tools that might help improve your writing process even more.

Which book writing software features are right for you?

I’m not trying to sell you on any particular book writing software in this article. Instead, my goal is to give you an idea of what’s out there so you can weigh the options for yourself in order to aid in your specific process.

Who knows—you may even discover a brand-new writing and publishing tool you absolutely love.

In the end, the truth is that there are many great writing tools out there. It isn’t really a question of which tool is BEST. What it comes down to is: which tool works best with YOUR book writing process?

There are 11 things to consider when deciding which program to use for your book:

The Best Book Writing Softwares for Authors: Paid, Free, Grammar, & Productivity

Not all writing software is created equally. We’ve found that different writers, writing different things, have many different needs. So we’ve broken down the best software for writers using four categories: paid, free, software for grammar, and productivity software to cut down on distractions.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Through this post, you’ll see overall key features, drawbacks, and pricing, along with a “TECH LEVEL” for each, which is rated out of 5, with 5 being a high tech knowledge needed to easily navigate and a 1 being so easy that your 80-year-old grandmother who has never used a computer would be able to use it (there aren’t any 1s, but you get the idea). You’ll also see a “BEST FOR” that will suggest the type of person who would best benefit from each writing software. Ultimately, we suggest taking this quick assessment that can determine the software best for you, but you can also self-select based on our findings. Here are the overall criteria you can expect for each writing software below: SOFTWARE NAME: BEST FOR: TYPE: TECH LEVEL: PRICING:

You’ll also see a link to get started with that software below each summary box. Let’s get started with your paid options, which will ultimately be best for serious writers.

Paid Book Writing Software

There used to be a time where paying for a writing software just seemed silly. The thing is, writers have been paying to write on something for a while. If you think there weren’t snooty writers who were picky about their typewriters pre-computers, you’d be wrong.

That said, paid writing softwares cost money for a reason. They’re just typically better, with more capabilities, conveniences, and other features that are worth the money to help you writer a better book faster.

These are the paid writing-specific softwares we recommend that are Self-Publishing School tried and true.

#1 – NovelPad

NovelPad is a semi-new writing software (launched in 2020) that has been making the rounds in the writing community. It’s best for writers, as it has character boards, scene tracking, and more, but someone writing a nonfiction book can still benefit from its features.

Among some of the best features is the goal-tracking section, where you can set monthly writing goals , create sprints, and track how much total progress you’ve made and how many total minutes you’ve put into your book. This feature also dynamically updates your goals per day, so if you don’t hit your goal word count one day, the daily goals for the rest of the month will automatically update to keep you on track.

Also notable about NovelPad is the customer service and responsiveness . When you join NovelPad, you may be invited to join a Discord group for the software, which has a Writing Room where you can connect with other authors, along with a Bug Tracker and Suggestions room where you can drop notes and ideas directly to the creators and software developers.

Since I started using this, a feature I recommended only a month ago has been added (unlimited color picker for the scene markers).

Where this writing software really soars above others is in its simplicity of use. You do not have to be super tech-savvy in order to navigate and begin use immediately, whereas this is more difficult with software like Scrivener.

Highly recommend this software for several reasons, you can see more features and pricing below.

Novelpad Features

Key Features:

SOFTWARE NAME: NovelPad BEST FOR: Fiction Writers TYPE: Story Mapping & Word Processor TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5 PRICING: $8 monthly or $60 annually (with a 14-day free trial) Click here to get started with NovelPad.

#2 – Scrivener

You just learned that Microsoft Word is the most widely used word processor in the world. But does that mean it’s the best book writing software?

Think about it this way. The fact that Word is so prevalent means that it has to cater to all sorts of users—students, businesspeople, writers, teachers, marketers, lawyers, the list goes on and on and on.

But Scrivener was created for one type of person only:

And if you’re a writer, chances are you’ve heard of Scrivener. A lot of writers absolutely love this program, with its advanced features and distraction-free writing experience.

In short, Scrivener gives you an insane amount of flexibility for writing, formatting, and organizing your book for self-publishing .

Because Scrivener was designed for writers, it’s super easy to lay out scenes, move content around, and outline your story, article, or manuscript.

Instead of keeping all your content in one big file, Scrivener allows you to create multiple sub-files to make it easier to organize and outline your project.

But as awesome as Scrivener is, it’s not perfect.

And the biggest downside to using Scrivener is the steep learning curve involved. You aren’t going to master this program overnight.

But if you’re serious about your writing career, then investing the time to learn this specific writing tool will be worth it. You’ll save time and energy in the long run.

And if you want to learn how to use Scrivener as quickly & easily as possible, we can help! Here’s a full Scrivener tutorial so you can easily maneuver this program.

SOFTWARE NAME: Scrivener BEST FOR: Fiction Writers TYPE: Story Mapping & Word Processor TECH LEVEL: 5 / 5 PRICING: $49 for download, $19 additional for IOS – 30-day free trial Click here to get started with Scrivener.

#3 – Plottr

Plottr was created by an author for authors, specifically fiction. The overall bonus of this software (and what people tend to like most) is the plotlines timeline feature that allows you to track the various plotlines, which chapters they appear in, and with colors (image below).

This software also has various templates you can use to get started on your story’s structure to keep it in line with industry standards. This can be really handy for those who aren’t as well-versed in novel structures or are beginners when it comes to writing fiction novels.

Plottr is an app, and can be used across multiple devices (so long as you pay for more than 1 device). This can be a big pro for people who prefer to work on apps and not in a browser, to minimize distractions.

However, the user interface of Plottr is definitely behind the curve when it comes to intuitive design that’s easy to use. It doesn’t seem to be easily organized and can take longer to understand how it all works together and how to use it effectively.

Click here to read a full Plottr review .

Plottr Writing Software Example

SOFTWARE NAME: Plottr BEST FOR: Fiction Writers TYPE: Story Mapping & Word Processor TECH LEVEL: 4 / 5 PRICING: $25 annually or $99 lifetime for 1 device (more options for multiple devices) – 14-day free trial Click here to get started with Plottr.

#4 – Atticus

This newly released writing software by Dave Chesson over at Kindlepreneur is a simple writing software that also has formatting capabilities. No need to download your book from one software just to upload it to another for formatting!

The interface is super simple with this writing software, with a left sidebar to house your front matter, body (the chapter-by-chapter outline and writing), and then backmatter.

The formatting section of this software is a huge win, especially for self-published authors who do most of this stuff themselves (or who outsource it) . It allows for “themes” for some pre-loaded design features for chapter headings, font type, and more, while also allowing you to choose other formatting setting, like how to begin a new scene (indents or all caps sentence) and other small details that can make formatting so much easier for new authors.

Overall, this is much more of formatting software than it is a true writing software due to its limited features to assist in the writing process. If you really don’t need anything extensive when it comes to plotting, characters, or other fiction-specific capabilities, Atticus may be a great tool for you, particularly for nonfiction writers who like to churn out books quickly and on a budget (since you can format yourself).

This tool is a bit pricier in terms of writing softwares, but due to its formatting function, it’s competitively priced against formatting softwares like Vellum.

You can check out a full, comprehensive Atticus review here .

SOFTWARE NAME: Atticus BEST FOR: Nonfiction Self-Publishers TYPE: Word Processor & Formatting TECH LEVEL: 3 / 5 PRICING: $147 (no free trial, 30-day money back guarantee) Click here to get started with Atticus.

#5 – Microsoft Word

Before any other writing tools came along, Microsoft Word was the only option available. Everyone used it.

Today, even though there are many other word processors out there, Word is still the most widely used book writing software in the U.S. Millions of people continue to use it for their writing needs.

And it’s easy to see why. Word has a lot going for it!

It’s been around a long time. It’s trusted, reliable, and gets the job done well .

It also provides a relatively distraction-free writing experience; much better than working on Google Docs in your browser, for example, where you’re only an errant mouse-click away from the entire internet.

If you just need to wake up in the morning and meet your word-count goals by keeping your head down and getting those words pounded out onto the page, then Word is an obvious choice of book writing software. No fuss, no muss. It’s about as simple as it gets and can help you finish your draft easily.

Word also offers some simple organization.

While writing your chapters, changing the chapter’s heading (seen in the example below) allows easy navigation as your book progresses further and further.

Screenshot Of Writing Software Ms Word

Using headers, you can organize your book into chapters—and then you can navigate through them quickly using the Navigation pane:

Instructions For Using Microsoft Word

In order to view your navigation pane in outline-format click:

View > Navigation Pane (it’s a box to check) > select the bullet/outline tab within the navigation pane (seen above).

You can also create your own free book writing template using Word. And if you start writing your book in Word and don’t begin with the correct formatting, it’s pretty easy to clean up your formatting to make it “book ready” with a few simple steps.

If you’re a Word user and you’ve got your own system in place for writing books, then perhaps you need to look no further.

But as a writing tool, Word does have some downsides.

For starters, it doesn’t always play well with Macs. If you use a Mac, then Word might cause you a lot of frustration with crashes and formatting.

Word is also pretty vanilla. That’s part of its appeal, sure, but it also means Word lacks some of the more advanced features you get with other programs like Scrivener and Google Docs.

For example, Scrivener offers more advanced outlining functionality. And Google Docs makes it easier to share and collaborate on your files.

All in all, Word is a solid contender for best book writing software. But there are many other choices out there.

SOFTWARE NAME: Microsoft Word BEST FOR: Begginer Writers TYPE: Word Processor TECH LEVEL: 2 /5 PRICING: Free with some laptops, $79.99 if purchase separately Click here to get started with Microsoft Word.

Free Book Writing Software

Not everyone can afford to go all-in on writing their books, and it’s not always necessary. While paid writing software options allow for additional features and support, you can still write an incredible book with the various free ones out there.

Here, we’ll cover the 4 best free writing software (with other free options listed in the Distraction-Free Productivity section below).

#1 – Google Docs

We’ve looked at the appealing simplicity of Word and the in-depth power of Scrivener, but there’s another book writing software that more and more people are starting to use for various reasons:

Google Docs.

Essentially, Google Docs is a stripped-down version of Word that you can only use online. It’s a simple, yet effective writing tool.

The beauty of this program (and Google Drive in general) comes in the ability to share content, files, and documents among your team. You can easily communicate via comments, for example: This program keeps a complete history of all changes made to a document, so if you accidentally delete something you wanted to keep, simply click the link at the top of the screen that says, “All changes saved in drive.”

That will bring up the version history, where you can review all the changes that have been made to your book file and revert to a previous version if you so choose.

Google Docs doesn’t require any installation and can be accessed anywhere via your browser, or an app on your phone.

(Anyone who has ever lost a draft of a book understands how valuable this feature is!)

Plus you can access your work when you move from one location or another—no carrying a laptop or thumb drive around with you. When you share a book draft with others, like test readers or your editor , they can comment directly on the draft using the built-in comment functionality.

Out of the “big 3” book writing software tools, Google Docs is probably the least sophisticated when it comes to formatting and outlining tools. But it makes up for that with easy collaboration, sharing, and online access.

SOFTWARE NAME: Google Docs BEST FOR: Writing Collaboration & Editing TYPE: Word Processor TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5 PRICING: Free Click here to get started with Google Docs.

#2 – Notion

Notion is technically not solely a writing app, but it has capabilities to outline, writer, and house details inside the app. This is actually an app that feels like a combination of Google Docs meshed with a tasking system, folders, calendars/boards, and more.

Using this app as more than just a writing software is typical. Personally, I use this to track finances, ideas for businesses, grocery list, and various book ideas as they come up.

So keep that in mind as you read these features—it’s not solely made for books but can be used that way. We’ve actually create both fiction and nonfiction book templates you can use in your very own Notion account— just click here to grab one of those.

That being said, there are a ton of features wrapped up in Notion, too many to even count out, and it’s really customizable if you’re someone who can get a handle on new tech quickly. You’ll be able to create your own frameworks for your outline, notes, and character profiles that you can save as templates for more books.

Ultimately, this is great for someone who wants their writing software within another they can use frequently for other purposes, as well as someone who is more tech-savvy and wants to really customize their book writing process.

Notion Book Writing

SOFTWARE NAME: Notion BEST FOR: Advanced Writers & Planners TYPE: Notes, Tasks, & Writing TECH LEVEL: 4 / 5 PRICING: Free for a personal account (upgrades for teams or unlimited personal) Click here to get started with Notion free.

#3 – Evernote

Evernote is a note-taking app. It’s a great way to keep track of your thoughts—like brainstorming ideas, outlining chapters, and jotting down inspiration when it strikes.

The mobile app is particularly useful for capturing new ideas when they strike, since most people have their phone with them 24/7.

Evernote as a writing software is comparable to Notion in that it’s not meant solely for writing, but has many functionalities that can aid the writing process as a whole.

While you can use Evernote to write content—I’ve used it for writing blogs and other small sections of books—you wouldn’t want to use it as your main word processor. Its functionality is a bit too limited.

While Evernote has been around for a little while, they seem to always be expanding on their features, making it one of the best writing softwares out there.

But as a way of keeping track of ideas, it’s a great find.

Evernote On Mobile

SOFTWARE NAME: Evernote BEST FOR: Advanced Writers & Planners TYPE: Notes, Tasks, & Writing TECH LEVEL: 3.5 / 5 PRICING: Free for 2 devices, upgraded versions available with more features Click here to get started with Evernote.

#4 – OpenOffice

You may know of this software, you may not. Essentially, it’s a free version of a word processor much like Word or Pages. If you don’t have Word on your computer and can’t afford to buy it, this is a great alternative that’ll get the job done.

The capabilities are pretty limited with Open Office but if you really only need the basics and don’t want to spend any money, this is the perfect writing software for you.

Here’s what this book writing software looks like:

A Bank New Page On Open Office

SOFTWARE NAME: Open Office BEST FOR: Beginner Writers TYPE: Word Processor TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5 PRICING: Free Click here to get started with OpenOffice.

Grammar Writing Software

Not all writers need the assistance of grammar-specific writing software. That being said, it is always helpful to keep an eye on your writing quality as a writer.

Some of software listed below can be used with other word processors, while others are meant for you to use as a word processor and grammar checker all in one.

#1 – Grammarly

If you haven’t heard of this editing software, you’ve been living under a rock. It has taken over as one of the most versatile simple editing software and for a good reason.

We have a Grammarly review that covers all the features and functions but essentially, this is a browser extension you can download and it automatically corrects your grammar and spelling in whichever online medium you’re writing on.

This writing software is perfect if you need to brush up on your grammar or are looking for an easy way to sound professional in written emails as well.

SOFTWARE NAME: Grammarly BEST FOR: Grammar & Editing TYPE: Grammar Software TECH LEVEL: 1.5 / 5 PRICING: Free version, paid upgrade with additional features starting at $12/month Click here to get started with Grammarly.

#2 – Hemingway Editor

Simply paste your writing into the editor and scroll through. You’ll notice that the program highlights certain words & passages—like long, hard-to-read sentences, passive verbs, and phrases with simpler alternatives.

It’s basically your own personal editor rolled into a writing software.

What I love about this tool is how easy it is to use. Everything is color-coded and super easy to understand, so you can see at a glance where your writing could use a little elbow grease.

Here’s an example of what it looks like:

Hemingway Editor App

SOFTWARE NAME: Hemingway Editor BEST FOR: Grammar & Editing TYPE: Grammar Software TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5 PRICING: $19.99 for the desktp app Click here to get started with Hemingway App.

#3 – ProWritingAid

This writing software is truly a writing software that’s actually designed to improve your writing over time. You can upload your writing from your computer or simply copy and paste it into ProWritingAid’s editor and it will almost immediately populate corrections for your writing.

There are a number of different criteria it uses to correct your writing, including the classic grammar and spelling, readability by grade level, and sentence variety. Where it differs is in passive voice corrections, pacing indications, dialogue tags, and a really unique “emotional telling” feature that helps you learn to show and not tell in writing.

One thing to keep in mind, as with any other grammar or writing-improvement software is that it will highlight grammatical errors within dialogue as well. But, if that’s how you’ve developed your character to speak, keep those nuances. The last thing you want is for every character to speak the same way.

You can read a full review of ProWritingAid here .

Prowritingaid Writing Software Example

SOFTWARE NAME: ProWritingAid BEST FOR: Grammar & Editing TYPE: Grammar Software TECH LEVEL: 3 / 5 PRICING: $20 per month, $79 per year, or a one-time fee of $399 for lifetime access (14-day money-back guarantee) Click here to get started with ProWritingAid.

Distraction-Free Productivity Writing Software

You may not need the grammar help. You may not even need help plotting or developing your characters. What you may need as a writer more than anything, is something to keep you focused and productive.

We’ve put together a list of the top 3 software we recommend to help writers limit distractions and write more.

#1 – Freedom App

Freedom isn’t technically a writing tool, but it sure can help improve your writing. It’s a productivity app designed to help eliminate distractions by blocking certain websites – something more than beneficial for those of us who get sidetracked easily.

For example: let’s say you have a tendency to get distracted by social media sites. All you have to do us start a Freedom session that blocks all your social media sites—and then you won’t be able to visit them even if you wanted to.

Here’s what it looks like when you schedule a session:

Freedom Software To Reduce Distractions Screenshot

Notice that you have a lot of options. You can schedule one-time sessions (starting now or later), or you can set up recurring sessions (for example, to block distracting sites every day when it’s time to write).

When you try to visit a site that’s being blocked, you’ll get this message:

Example Of Being Free From Instagram Using Freedom

This is a really liberating tool. Once you know you don’t have the option of visiting those distracting sites, you’ll find it easier to keep focused on your writing and you’ll be able to get a lot more done.

SOFTWARE NAME: Freedom App BEST FOR: Limiting Distractions TYPE: Distraction-Free TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5 PRICING: $8.99 per month or $39.96 per year OR one-time fee of $159.99 for lifetime access (free trial available) Click here to get started with Freedom.

#2 – FocusWriter

FocusWriter is a word processor for writers that’s intended to eliminate distractions to help you get your book written quicker. It’s a basic, lightweight writing tool that was designed to be completely free of progress inhibiting distractions.

In its fullscreen mode, there are no toolbars or additional windows, just a background and your text so that you can concentrate solely on writing your draft.

FocusWriter also allows you to choose what your screen looks like, as seen in the example below.

You can customize the image in the background to suit your project to help inspire your writing.

It’s simple and effective. If you need a lot of features, it probably won’t work for you. But if simplicity is your thing, then you may have found your perfect free writing tool.

Screenshot Of Focus Writer

SOFTWARE NAME: FocusWriter BEST FOR: Beginner Writers TYPE: Word Processor TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5 PRICING: Free Click here to use FocusWriter on your Windows computer.

#3 – PauseFor

If you’re someone who needs incentive to stay off your phone (and actually write), this is a perfect writing software.

Technically, it’s not for writing. PauseFor   is a productivity app designed to motivate you to stay off your phone. That means you can get more writing done by spending less time scrolling through Twitter or whatever your social medial of choice is.

PauseFor is designed for YOU to set a time, and then not pick up your phone until that time is done.

But what’s the incentive?

The longer you stay off your phone and the more sessions you complete successfully, the more you’ll have to DONATE. That’s right. You can be a philanthropist AND a writer at the same time.

Simply set your time, don’t touch your phone, and collect your Kin. When you a certain amount, you get to choose where the donations go.

Pausefor Features

SOFTWARE NAME: PauseFor BEST FOR: Time Blocking & Philanthropy TYPE: Distraction-Free TECH LEVEL: 1.5 / 5 PRICING: Free Click here to get started with PauseFor.

How Much Does Book Writing Software Programs Cost?

I would recommend not worrying too much about the cost of these programs. After all, dropping $100 or less on a program is not that big a deal if it is going to help improve your writing for years to come.

That said, I know you work hard for your money—and you want to get the best deal you can!

Here is a breakdown of the most recent prices for all of the tools in this article along with their comparative features:

WRITING SOFTWARE – COST NovelPad – $8 monthly / $60 annually Scrivener – $49 download / $19 extra for IOS Plottr – $25 annually / $99 lifetime for 1 device Atticus – $147 Microsoft Word – $79.99 Google Docs – Free Notion – Free with upgrades Evernote – Free with upgrades Open Office – Free Grammarly – Free, $12 monthly Hemingway Editor – $19.99 ProWritingAid – $20 monthly / $79 annually / $399 lifetime Freedom App – $8.99 monthly / $39.96 annually / $159.99 lifetime Focus Writer – Free Pause For – Free

What’s Your Favorite Book Writing Software?

Take some time to check out each of these tools if you aren’t already using them. Stay focused on crafting your next book and stick with the book writing software that gives you the best results in terms of saving you money, time, and frustration.

Keep writing. Keep it simple. Best of all, enjoy the creative process!

Now that you have these awesome tools at your disposal, what is your favorite writing tool? What best suits your needs as an author? Can you speed up the writing process with any particular tool?

Want A Personalized Writing Software Recommendation Based on Your Writing Style and Needs?

Check out our Sofware Assessment below, to get a recommendation just for you!

BONUS: Check out this Self-Publishing School review from!

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We help you save time, money, and headaches through the book, writing, marketing, and publishing process by giving you the proven, step-by-step process and accountability to publish successfully. All while allowing you to maintain control of your book–and its royalties. Learn to publish a book to grow your impact, income, or business!

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To help you improve your writing in real-time, the app highlights text with colors that indicate run-on sentences, passive voice, qualifiers, adverbs, and complex phrasing to reduce. Our full Hemingway app review discusses these functions in more detail, but one drawback is that it doesn’t exist as an extension to browsers and word processors. You either have to write your book elsewhere and import it onto Hemingway for an edit, or you write on Hemingway and forfeit other book-related functions like formatting tools and goal-tracking.


Price: $120/year

Book Writing Software | Text analysed by ProWritingAid on Microsoft Word

ProWritingAid aims to improve your writing by providing language-checking features that spot not only grammar mistakes but also stylistic weaknesses like purple prose or passive voice — though these should be taken with a grain of salt. The app has integrations to most major word processors and browsers, so you can easily apply it to book writing software like Word or the Reedsy Book Editor. For a more in-depth analysis of its functions and uses (plus a discount code!), head to our ProWritingAid review .

Writing productivity

Inspiration is nothing without the discipline to complete your first drafts. The features on these apps are designed to help you become more productive writers.


Price: Free

Sometimes even word processors like the ones discussed so far feel overwhelming and distracting with all of its formatting tools and features. What if you just want a clean slate with absolutely nothing to distract you from the flow of your words — not even a toolbar with unnecessary functions? FocusWriter can provide you with a virtual sheet of paper (cloaked in the theme of your choice). 

Book Writing Software | A manuscript written on FocusWriter's wooden background

Now, you can access a toolbar with several features like a timer for writing sprints, and a daily goal tracker — but in its default state, this writing software tucks them safely out of view. Recent updates have made it possible to save your work as Word files, which means you can write with FocusWriter and easily share your manuscript with others for feedback.

Reedsy Book Editor

Book Writing Software | A sceenshot of text in the Reedsy Book Editor

Designed to meet the key needs of authors, our Reedsy Book Editor is a free, all-in-one piece of book writing software . On its unobtrusive interface, you can write your book with the help of a built-in spell-check system (tailored to your preferred language) and a goal-tracking feature that will help you hit your deadlines. Simply enter your target length, tell the RBE which days of the week you intend to write, and the app will automatically set your daily word count goals.

Price: $39.96/year

If you’re struggling to find enough discipline to make the Pomodoro method work, it might be time to call in the distraction-busting big guns. You can install freedom on one or all of your devices, and during your writing sprints, the app will cut off your access to your apps, the entire internet, or a self-selected collection of ‘distracting websites’ (Facebook, Instagram, OK Cupid, etc.).

A screengrab of the Freedom App's dashboard.

Planning your story

Many writers love plotting out their books on corkboards and spiral-bound notebooks. But if you’re looking for tidier alternatives (or programs that can prompt you in the right direction), you may want to check these out.

Price : Free

Book Writing Software | screenshot of a new scene in yWriter

yWriter looks a bit dated, and it’s not yet available to Mac users, but it’s a formidable piece of writing software for anyone writing science fiction or fantasy — or any project with a lot of complex worldbuilding details. By dividing your work into scenes (on which you can tag relevant characters and locations), yWriter helps you track every development in the manuscript as you write. 

Campfire Write

Price: Starting at $1.50 per month 

Another option for science fiction and fantasy writers is Campfire Write. Created with these genres in mind, this web-based book writing software lets you map your story by Elements (characters, locations, maps, species, cultures, philosophies, etc.), which can be purchased individually, as needed. Say you only subscribe to the manuscript writing feature, it’ll cost $1.50 a month. If you want to have several character profiles, a culture outline, and a couple of interactive maps, you can expect to pay $5.25 a month. 

Book Writing Software | Campfire Write App

Your work here can also be shared with an editor (who can leave comments on your work) or with the Campfire writing community at large. While it takes some time to familiarize yourself with its many details, Campfire can be a useful and fun tool for writers to build their universes. We've also reviewed Campfire Write in more detail.

For 20% off all lifetime purchases on Campfire, use the promo code REEDSY20 at checkout.

Price: $49 

Scrivener is a favorite among authors in no small part because it is one of the first writing programs created with authors in mind. With its corkboard function that allows you to see your whole project in one view, its split-screen mode for you to reference research as you write, and its clean-cut filing system, Scrivener gives authors a good workspace whether they need to outline their book before writing or figure out the big picture as they write.

Book Writing Software | Screenshot of Scrivener

Formatting your book

If you’re looking to join the self-publishing revolution and become the next big author on Kindle, you’ll need a way to turn your manuscript into a professional-grade ebook and paperback. Thankfully, there’s an app for that!

Oh look! A second appearance for the Reedsy Book Editor. But hey-ho: our site, our rules. 

With the RBE’s formatting abilities, you can import your manuscript from a .docx file and apply stylistic flourishes in minutes. Simply click ‘Export’ and choose a style — the Reedsy Book Editor will take care of aligning the text, inserting drop caps and chapter titles, and turning your work into an elegant EPUB or PDF file that can immediately be uploaded to ebook distribution platforms or printing services. It’s an effortless process that allows self-publishing authors to spend time and resources on other parts of their publishing projects.

At the end of the day, no app is going to be fully able to outline, write, or edit your book for you — but with these book writing software options in mind, you’ll at least be able to find something that makes the process easier, streamlined, and more enjoyable. Now get out there and start creating!

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