Best Book Writing Software

Choose the Right Book Writing Software

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Book writing software helps you with various stages of the writing process, such as getting organized, finishing your draft, editing your work, and publishing your manuscript. These platforms can also make you a more efficient and effective writer and bring you closer to becoming a published author.

The best book writing software is easy to use, reasonably priced, and compatible with multiple operating systems. Some can even help you become a better writer with built-in formatting as well as outlining and organizational tools.

Best Book Writing Software of 2021

Best Overall : Scrivener


Scrivener

Scrivener

Why We Chose It: Scrivener took our top spot because the software contains a robust suite of tools designed to help you complete your book.

Pros
  • Comprehensive draft to publishing software

  • Reasonably priced

Cons
  • Steep learning curve

  • Customer support by email only

We like Scrivener since it gives you the support you need to organize your thoughts, write your manuscript, and prepare for publishing.

Here’s what you can do in Scrivener:

  • Use a digital corkboard to collect and organize your notes and references
  • Create an outline by dragging and dropping story element folders
  • Go into full-screen writing mode so you can focus
  • Write book sections of any length and in any order
  • Assemble the pieces into a cohesive book
  • Edit each section individually or polish the manuscript as a whole
  • Format your text, add graphics, and include comments
  • Save time by using preset formatting options
  • Import data from Word documents, PDFs, web pages, and more
  • Generate different file formats for printing or e-publishing
  • Set writing goals and track your progress

Nonfiction writers will enjoy Scrivener’s ability to import research and make footnotes. The software also automatically saves and backs up your work so you don’t have to worry about losing your progress. Scrivener is available for Mac, Windows, and iOS.

The software costs $49 for either the Mac or Windows version or $80 for a bundle that supports both platforms. An educational version for students and academics is available for $41.65. Additionally, a mobile version for iOS is available for $19.99. Scrivener offers a 30-day free trial to see if you like the software before buying it. You can also request a refund within 30 days of purchase.

Scrivener offers customer support entirely by email. However, you’ll also have access to FAQs, tutorials, user manuals, and a forum to answer your questions. Since the software offers such a wide variety of features, it may take you some time to become proficient with it. Despite ease of use being one of our selection criteria, the functionality seems to be worth the learning curve.

Best Free Software : Google Docs


Google Docs

Google Docs

Why We Chose It: Google Docs is our choice for the best free software since it’s a no-cost, user-friendly word processing and collaboration tool.

Pros
  • Free to use

  • Real-time collaboration with editors

  • Intuitive word processing

Cons
  • Performance issues with larger files

  • Not specifically designed for book writers

We like Google Docs because it allows you to write your manuscript in a familiar word processing setting. It also facilitates collaboration with an editor or editing team.

You can do the following in Google’s web-based word processor:

  • Customize your writing with fonts, graphs, tables, images, and links
  • Organize your work with headings and a table of contents
  • Leave comments for yourself and others
  • Invite your editor to work on the document
  • Monitor your word count
  • Track changes made to the manuscript
  • Chat with your editor in real time within the document and work on it together
  • See a complete revision history including when changes were made and by whom
  • Add various tools to boost your writing, like ProWritingAid, OneLook Thesaurus, or Plagiarism Search
  • Convert your work into a Microsoft Word document

Because it’s part of the Google apps suite, Google Docs autosaves to the cloud every few seconds so you won’t lose your work. Your free access includes 15GB of storage. There’s even an offline mode so you can still work on your manuscript if you’re not connected to the internet.

Google Docs works with all browsers and operating systems, and a mobile app is available.

Best for Novelists : Novel Factory


Novel Factory

Novel Factory

Why We Chose It: Novel Factory won our choice as the best for novelists because it walks you through the novel-writing process from start to finish.

Pros
  • Specifically designed for novelists

  • Web-based and desktop versions available

Cons
  • Customer support by email only

  • Plans can be pricey

Novel Factory offers newer writers the support they need to publish their first book and gives seasoned writers resources to improve their craft.

In this intuitive software, you can:

  • Build an outline for your story
  • Organize your story ideas and scenes by dragging and dropping sections
  • Save notes about the different elements of your story, including images
  • Use plot outlines to get your novel started
  • Keep track of all of your subplots with the subplot manager
  • Create multi-dimensional characters with a character development tool
  • Import manuscripts in progress
  • Monitor your word count
  • Track submissions to e-publishing websites or literary agents
  • Work on multiple novels simultaneously

Novel Factory includes the Novel Writing Roadmap, which walks you through creating your initial premise, defining your story elements, drafting your book, and ultimately publishing your manuscript. The software saves your work automatically, so you never have to worry about losing your progress.

Novel Factory is available in both web-based and desktop versions. The web version works on all devices, while the desktop version only works on Windows computers. While both versions offer near-identical functionality, there are some differences. For example, the desktop version doesn’t include the subplot manager.

Depending on your needs, the company has three web-based plans to choose from:

Basic Standard Premium
Best for new novel writers Best for serial novel writers Best for writers of long novels
Single novel Unlimited novels Unlimited novels
50MB of storage 500MB of storage 5GB of storage
$75 per year or $7.50 per month $198 per year or $20 per month $600 per year or $60 per month

You can also buy the desktop version for a one-time fee of $87. The company offers a 30-day free trial, so you can check out the software before spending any money.

Note

The desktop and web-based versions do not sync together, and the desktop option only works with Windows.

Customer support is limited to email. However, Novel Factory offers a help manual and discussion board that covers common questions and concerns.

Best for Book Formatting : Vellum


Vellum

Vellum

Why We Chose It: Vellum is our choice for best for book formatting since the software quickly and easily formats both print and e-books.

Pros
  • Instantly formats books for print and online publishing

  • Unlimited software preview

Cons
  • Only available for Mac computers

  • Expensive

We like Vellum because the company’s mission is to “create beautiful books” while making it a fast and painless experience for you. The software takes care of fonts, spacing, margins, headers, page numbers, and more.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You import your manuscript.
  2. A preview will appear, showing how the book will look in print and on different devices.
  3. As you make changes to different settings, the preview will update in real time.
  4. You can add other sections, like a copyright page, forward, epilogue, prologue, dedication, etc. Vellum will automatically create a title page and table of contents.
  5. Once you’re satisfied, the system instantly generates the files you need for printing or e-publishing.

On top of formatting, Vellum can also help you market and sell your book. The company offers services such as compiling box sets of your series and giving you advance copies to solicit reader opinions.

You can download Vellum for free to see how it works and preview your formatted manuscript. Once you’re ready to publish, you’ll need to purchase the software to generate the print and e-book files.

Unlimited e-book formatting costs $199.99, and unlimited e-book and print book formatting costs $249.99. If you’re not satisfied with Vellum, you can request a refund within 30 days of purchase.

Best for Book Marketing : Publisher Rocket


Publisher Rocket

Publisher Rocket

Why We Chose It: Publisher Rocket won the best for book marketing because it can help you market and sell more e-books and print books.

Pros
  • Access to valuable marketing insight

  • Reasonably priced

Cons
  • Only focuses on Amazon

  • Customer support limited to email

We like Publisher Rocket because it can save you time on book marketing tasks and works to increase your book’s visibility on Amazon. 

Publisher Rocket helps you:

  • Identify keywords readers search for when purchasing books (includes how many people searched for the term)
  • Find and select categories for your books (also shows how many you need to sell to crack the top 10 or be #1 in each category)
  • See what’s working for other ranking authors in each category so you can make adjustments
  • Generate effective keywords for your book advertisement campaigns

Publisher Rocket arms you with all of this information to improve your chance of successfully positioning your book in a competitive market.

Currently, Publisher Rocket helps authors in the United States and United Kingdom markets and the German e-book market. If the software company adds more markets, you’ll get access to them as free updates.

If you need assistance, you’ll have to email the company. Publisher Rocket strives to respond within 24 hours. FAQs and tutorials are also available.

Publisher Rocket runs on Windows or Mac computers. Since the software isn’t web-based, it won’t work on mobile devices or tablets. The software costs $97 and the company’s website indicates that pricing might switch to a subscription model in the future. Publisher Rocket also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Best for Book Editing : Grammarly


Grammarly

Grammarly

Why We Chose It: Grammarly is our choice as best for book editing because it helps you easily edit and improve your manuscript for a fair price.

Pros
  • Easy to use

  • Reasonably priced

  • Browser plug-ins available

Cons
  • Free version features are minimal

We like Grammarly since it’s user-friendly, accessible from anywhere and on any device, and effective at catching common writing errors. Plus, it comes with a host of other features to ensure your prose is engaging and unique.

Grammarly uses artificial intelligence to spot problems in your work, such as grammar issues, spelling mistakes, instances of passive voice, poor word choices, confusing passages, and more. By using the software, your writing will become more compelling, clear, inclusive, and confident.

To get started, upload or copy and paste your manuscript into the software. Grammarly will highlight anything that needs your attention and make suggestions for how to fix each problem. You can accept or reject each suggestion. Once you’re happy with the document, you can run the plagiarism checker to ensure you haven’t inadvertently replicated someone else’s work.

Grammarly is available as a web-based app or desktop software. You can install it on Microsoft Office, on your phone or iPad, or as an extension on your web browser.

A free version of the software exists, but it only corrects spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. To take advantage of the other features described above, you’ll need to purchase a premium plan for $29.95 per month, $59.95 quarterly, or $139.95 annually.

Read our full Grammarly review.

Final Verdict

The market is full of book writing software options, which means it can be challenging to choose the right one for your needs. Before you commit, thoroughly research any book writing software you’re seriously considering.

Scrivener is a great place to start your search. The software helps you get organized and focus on your writing. Plus, it generates files of your completed work that you can submit for print or e-publishing.

Compare The Best Book Writing Software

Software Key Features Operating System Price
Scrivener Best Overall Digital corkboard; drag-and-drop outline; footnote support Mac, Windows, iOS $49 Mac/Windows; $19.99 iOS
Google Docs Best Free Software Real-time collaboration; full revision history; mobile app Any desktop or mobile browser Free
Novel Factory Best for Novelists Novel writing roadmap; plot outlines; character development tool Any browser for web version; Windows only for desktop $75–$600 per year 
Vellum Best for Book Formatting Instant book formatting; unlimited software preview; advance e-book copies Mac $199.99 for unlimited e-books; $249.99 for unlimited e-books and paperbacks
Publisher Rocket Best for Book Marketing Strategic positioning on Amazon; keyword generation for ads; author assistance $97
Grammarly Best for Book Editing Accessible on any device; multiple billing options; plagiarism checker Any desktop browser; Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android versions available Free or $139.95 per year

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Book Writing Software? 

Book writing software is software designed to help you write a book. The software generally focuses on specific aspects of the writing process, like drafting, editing, or marketing.

Book writing software can either focus primarily on formatting and writing a book or organizing an outline with scenes and chapters or even developing plots and characters.

How Can Book Writing Software Help Writers? 

Depending on its specific purpose, book writing software can help writers:

  • Become more efficient and prolific 
  • Develop the story, characters, and setting
  • Organize ideas
  • Complete the draft
  • Edit the manuscript
  • Format the book
  • Market the finished product

Based on your situation and capabilities, you may need to use multiple pieces of software.

Who Should Use Book Writing Software?

You should use book writing software if you struggle with:

  • Writing consistently
  • Organizing your thoughts
  • Fleshing out story elements, like plot, setting, and characters
  • Completing book writing projects
  • Polishing a finished draft
  • Marketing your book

While you’ll still need to do the hard work of actually writing, the software can help you master your craft.

How Much Does Book Writing Software Cost? 

Book writing software ranges in price from free to several hundred dollars per year. Free software can be helpful if you’re on a limited budget, but it sometimes lacks desired functionality. The pricier software typically includes more features.

Methodology

We carefully looked at 10 book writing software solutions before selecting our top picks. We factored in each software’s functionality, ease of use, and price. We also considered notable features that set the software apart from the competition.

All of our top choices offer support for at least one part of the book writing process, a robust suite of features, and a good value for the cost.