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:
- Organize your writing
- Gain self-confidence
- Write more crisply
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!)
15 Book Writing Software Programs That Can Make Your Life Easier
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.
- Virtual corkboard feature for note cards organization
- Drag & drop outliner
- Works with Windows, Mac, iPad, and iPhone
- Easily applicable within Microsoft Word and many other programs
- Steep learning curve*
*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
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.
- Easily share your work-in-progress via email or a link
- Access from any device
- Performance slows when tracking changes on documents of 80 or more pages
- Unable to toggle between Tracked Changes and Final Version without accepting all the changes
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?
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:
- Google Docs
- Google Chrome
- Microsoft Word
- Detailed explanations
- Built-in Thesaurus
- Context-focused grammar checker
- Free version
- You need a premium account to access its best features
Price: $50 for 1 year, $75 for 2 years, $100 for 3 years, or $175 for life
I recommend trying the free version first.
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:
- Checks sentence structure
- Monitors word choice
- Guards against plagiarism
- Examines style
- And much more
- Free version
- Google Chrome plugin for easy use on the web
- No Scrivener integration
- Doesn’t work on mobile devices
- You need a premium account to access its best features
Cost: $29.95 per month, $59.95 per quarter, or $139.95 per year.
Try the free version first.
A creative writing software that guides you through the novel writing process.
Novel Factory prompts you to:
- Write your story’s premise
- Develop characters
- Make notes
- Follow the Hero’s Journey outline
- A built-in word processor
- A split screen view
Novel Factory is designed for Windows and is currently unavailable for Mac.
Focuses less on grammar and spelling and more on writing style.
- Sentences to be edited, whether lengthy and complex, passive, or unnecessary
- Overused words
- Easy to understand and use
- Suggests alternatives to overused words
- Allows text formatting
- Teaches much more concise, straightforward writing
- Suggests edits and offers tips to improve overall writing style
- Ranks your writing by grade level
- Eliminates most adverbs
- Doesn’t take voice or style into account
Cost: Free if used on the Hemingway Editor website (you can then copy/paste into your document), $19.99 to purchase your own version.
A note taking app that allows you to:
- Sync with other devices
- Share notes with anyone who has access to your account
- Save screenshots, web articles, and PDFs in one place
- Search easily within the program
- Customize templates
- Scan and save documents
- Integrate with other programs (like Google Docs)
Cost: Basic Evernote free, Premium $7.99/month, Business $14.99/month
Designed by a writer for writers, yWriter is a word processor that helps organize your novel into scenes and chapters.
- Tracks words per chapter and total word count
- Allows for the breakdown of scenes, note-taking, character description, and scene details and goals under separate tabs within each chapter
YWriter currently runs only within Windows.
A simple word processing software for Mac users.
- A distraction-free interface
- Saves all your writing in one spot
- Easily sync documents with other devices
- Split-screen view
- Auto-save and backup
- Allows you to set and track writing goals
- Allows you to publish directly to WordPress and Medium
Cost: App download free, subscription $4.99/month or $39.99/year
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.
- Allows you to design and format a book
- A variety of styles
- Easy import capabilities
- Editing within the app
- Allows preview of print or e-books
- Easy export
- Allows unlimited exports, depending on program purchased
- Not word processor
- More expensive than similar tools
- Available only for Mac
Cost: $199.99 for publishing unlimited e-books, $249.99 for publishing unlimited e-books and paperbacks
A bare-bones word processor.
In full-screen mode, toolbars disappear until you scroll over them.
- Simple, customizable design
- Allows you to track writing goals (by time or word count)
- Available for text only
- No spell check
Hailed as “Evernote for creatives,” a visual story-telling tool for Mac users.
It enables you to:
- Organize notes all in one place
- Use as a whiteboard or storyboard
- Upload images
- Save images, text, and weblinks
- Upload images and text from your phone
- Flexible drag and drop
- Allows team collaboration
- Limited export options: PDF, PNG image, Word file, or plain text
- Available only on Mac and the web
Cost: Basic version free, premium version $9.99/month
Offers tools for self-publishing.
- Write within the platform or upload a manuscript
- Format your book
- Publish in e-book and print (ISBN and retail barcode included)
- Distribute and sell your book worldwide
- Manage sales and royalties
- Cannot use offline
- Expensive beyond writing, designing, and formatting
Cost: Free, with additional paid publishing packages
…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.
- Creative tools to flesh out characters, places, items, and events in your story world
- Free version without many restrictions
- Easy to use, almost no learning curve
- Simple design
- Great organizational tool for Outliners
- 30-day money-back return policy
- Paid version says “pay what you want,” but the minimum is 15 euro, which will be a little more in US dollars
- Open-source software still receiving updates (be sure to save often, even with the autosave feature)
- No mobile app
bibisco has a free version and a premium version that starts at 15 euro for a one-time purchase.