If you are looking for a complete list of the best book writing software, you are in the PERFECT place.
We have spent months testing dozens of writing tools – both paid and free.
This list does not have a goal of promoting any specific writing software. Its purpose is to show you the options so that you can make an informed decision.
Let’s get right into it!
How do authors write? What tools do they prefer – free or paid?
We have conducted a survey involving a few hundred authors and asked them about their preferred book writing software. Here are the results:
Paid Tools (Red) – 54.68%
Free Tools (Green) – 28.11%
Pen & Paper (Orange) – 17.21%
This research proves that most authors are willing to invest in their writing process. Are you among them?
Great news for you – we are starting our list with paid book writing software!
Paid Book Writing Software
Pricing: $49 Standard License / $41 Educational
Rating: 4.8 / 5
Scrivener is one of the most popular writing tools out there. That’s for a reason. It is versatile, organised and affordable.
What are the good features of Scrivener?
- It’s easy to use. You can drag and drop your way to a successful book. There is no need to waste minutes scrolling through thousands of words. This feature enables you to write efficiently and intuitively.
- It’s organised. Scrivener is primarily for long writing projects – like your book! You can break up and organise your text in small chunks or large chapters. It makes it incredibly easy for you to navigate between segments or ideas without losing your tempo.
- You can use templates. Who doesn’t love templates? When they are flexible and properly made – they can be a lifesaver. If you are working on a shorter writing project – like a research paper or your resume – these templates got your back.
- It includes formatting. It is a convenient feature which enables you to export your writing immediately after you have finished working on it. Formats like ePub, Word (.doc), and PDF are all available.
- It keeps you accountable and productive. You can set writing goals inside the app. This feature enables you to stay consistent and track your progress so that you know you are on the right track.
- You can do research. We all know how much research goes into each valuable writing project. The hard part is keeping it organised and accessible. Scrivener allows you to open your research material right next to your work, take notes and not interrupt your primary writing process.
- You can work on your phone. If you are an iOS user, you can download and install their app on your phone and write on the go. We all know how useful this feature can be. Ideas come and go at weird moments, and we are not always sitting next to our computer.
What are the downsides of Scrivener?
- It takes time to learn how to use it. Scrivener has a lot of useful features. An abundance of features usually bring one downside with it – you need to learn how to use them if you want to make the most out of the app. However, there is this fantastic course called Learn Scrivener Fast which can help you learn everything you need to know fast and easy.
- There are no collaboration features. If you are co-writing a book, then Scrivener as a book writing software might not be the best choice for your team.
Who can use Scrivener?
The creators of this book writing software call it a go-to app for writers of all kinds. You can be anything from a professional screenwriter or a novelist to a student, and you will find massive value in Scrivener.
However, the software is not for just about anyone. It is essential to understand that the target audience is mainly writers.
The fact that you are reading this article means you probably are an author yourself.
It also means that you have probably heard of Scrivener at one point. Maybe you have even tried it.
Since we have mentioned it…
Is there a free trial of Scrivener?
They have a 30-day trial which gives you plenty of time to get a feel for it. Another great thing is that it means 30 days in the app. If you use Scrivener every other day during your trial period – you will be able to use it for 60 days!
Where can I learn how to use Scrivener?
There is always a fast and efficient way to learn anything online these days – if you know where to look.
It’s an online, step-by-step course organised in 5 modules. It will enable you to learn how to use Scrivener in no time!
#2 Microsoft Word
Pricing: $69.99 – $149.99 / Year
Rating: 4.6 / 5
No list of best book writing software would ever be complete without the good old Microsoft Word.
There is probably not a single writer on the entire planet who has never used Word at one point of their writing career.
It has been around for quite some time, and it doesn’t plan on going away any time soon.
What are the good features of Microsoft Word?
- It’s reliable and familiar. Chances are – you have spent your fair share of time in Microsoft Word. You know how to use most of its features, and you trust that it will not fail you.
- You format as you write. Word formats your document on the go.
- It’s easy to work with other people. Whether you need to send your document to an editor or a friend – they probably use Word themselves. They will easily be able to access the file and do their part of the job.
- You can correct your mistakes. Microsoft Word offers you an opportunity to check for any spelling and grammar errors as you go. (We all know they happen no matter how hard we try!)
What are the downsides of Microsoft Word?
- It lacks advanced features. If you are looking for something fancy – this is not the book writing software for you. It may be efficient and polished, but it’s farm from advanced.
- Your workflow will suffer. Unlike Scrivener, which is extremely flexible and tailored for your writing process, Word works linearly – and so will you. You might not like it, but there is not much space for a flexible workflow here.
- It works much better with shorter documents. Trying to write a novel in Word is a brave task. Your mouse scroll will work overtime.
Is there a free trial of Microsoft Word?
Yes, there is a 30-day free trial, just like with Scrivener. The only difference is that it is an actual 30-day trial. It doesn’t refer to 30 working days.
However, the chances are that you are already familiar with Word enough that you won’t be needing a trial any time soon.
Pricing: $49.99 / Year or $5.99 / Month (US)
Rating: 4.6 / 5
Ulysses is a great book writing software if you want a clean working environment, clear of all distractions. You can explore all of the software’s features here.
However, there is one downside to Ulysses – it is not for PC users. So, dear Apple users, you can use the app on your Mac, iPad or iPhone.
What are the good features of Ulysses?
- It has a clean, tidy and beautifully designed interface. When it comes to user experience and design, this is the case with most Apple software, so no surprise there.
- There are a few views and distraction-free modes you can choose from to optimise your productivity while writing.
- You can set and track writing goals! This feature is a useful one for all of you ambitious and productive writers out there.
- Ulysses has a library that holds all of your writing material. The library enables you to handle projects of all sizes quickly and efficiently.
- Fast syncing and flexible export options are a significant upside when using Ulysses. It syncs automatically between your connected Apple devices. Also, you can export in a large number of formats and send your manuscript directly to anyone who needs to see it. Formats included are .epub, .pdf, .docx, etc.
What are the downsides of Ulysses?
- It’s not for PC users. Although it is an excellent piece of software, the limited availability makes it a nonexisting option for quite a few authors.
- The monthly or annual subscription model of payment. When it comes to the book writing tool they are going to stick with for a long time, most people prefer to pay a one-time fee for the license.
Is there a free trial of Ulysses?
Yes, there is a 14-day free trial included with all the subscription packages so that you can try Ulysses and see if it is the book writing software for you.
Pricing: $96 / Year or $9.99 / Month
Rating: 4.8 / 5
LivingWriter is the new kid on the block. This software keeps rising in popularity. In case you have never heard of it, let us explain what makes it so great.
What are the good features of LivingWriter?
- It is made specifically for authors and novelists. Since we are talking about book writing software – LivingWriter had to be mentioned as one of the better options.
- Drag and drop organisation for your chapters, subchapters and different story elements. You have an on-screen sidebar which will enable you to work without switching windows or tabs.
- It offers a unique feature that we haven’t come across in any other book writing software: LivingWriter helps you improve your plot! How does it do that? It has a database of plot outlines created by best-selling authors which you can review and implement in your story where you think the approach would fit.
- There are Smart Text and Auto-suggest features which make writing a bit more efficient. You can store character names, locations, etc. and the software will recall them as you are typing to save you a few seconds of your time.
- You can set writing goals – word counts, deadlines, and similar benchmarks to measure your progress.
- It is cloud-based so you can work from multiple devices.
- It saves your document automatically, similar to Google Docs.
- There is no need for downloads and installations. Log in, get a free trial or pay for your subscription and you can start working!
- One option came to us as a small surprise, in a good way! You have the option to integrate it with the Grammarly browser extension for spell-checking and style corrections. It works for both the free and the premium Grammarly version as well.
What are the downsides of LivingWriter?
- Although the on-screen sidebar can be useful, it is also currently not possible to hide it. This means that you won’t be able to enjoy an entirely distraction-free writing environment if you wish to do so.
- There are no mobile apps at the moment, so your writing endeavours are limited to your desktop.
- For some people, the fact that it is a cloud-based software and not a desktop application is a downside.
Is there a free trial of LivingWriter?
Great news – there is a 30-day free trial for LivingWriter so that you can test out the software for yourself.
Free Book Writing Software
#5 Google Docs
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Every list of free book writing software has to start with Google Docs. It is a popular writing tool that people use for various writing purposes – book writing amongst them.
Google Docs is an online application that has a lot of benefits – one of the best being that it is entirely free.
What are the good features of Google Docs?
- The feature that draws a lot of people into using Google Docs is its effectiveness as a collaboration tool. You can easily share your writing project with your team. Google Docs enables you to make changes, leave feedback and comments, and even chat.
- It saves all of your changes automatically! Forget about having to remind yourself every couple of minutes to hit the save button.
- You don’t have to worry about file formats anymore, since Google Docs and Microsoft Word are compatible and you can easily convert one format into the other.
- You can use quite a few templates for shorter writing projects.
- You can access your documents from any device and any place where you have access to the internet.
What are the downsides of Google Docs?
- There are not that many formatting and outlining features. However, to outline your writing, Google Spreadsheets can come in handy.
- It may not be the best choice of software for authors. Long writing projects require specific user interface capabilities. Google Docs may not shine in that field.
Rating: 3.8 / 5
Focus Writer is a lightweight basic text writer. Its main goal is to create a relaxed writing environment without the features of complex word processing applications.
What are the good features of FocusWriter?
- It blocks out all distractions and helps you focus on your writing.
- Focus Writer is straightforward and easy to use since there is not that much to the software itself.
- You can add your background picture to customize your writing environment or get inspired.
- There are no required installations to use Focus Writer. It’s as easy as it gets.
What are the downsides of FocusWriter?
- It has a minimal choice of features. While that is the point of this software so that it can help you to be more focused and productive, there are still times when our writing requires some more complex tasks. Focus Writer comes short there.
- Focus Writer is limited in formats as well – you can only open and edit .txt files.
- There are no spell checks in this software. If you have ever written a paragraph in your life, you know how handy that feature is in any writing software.
- There are no editing capabilities. It is what it is – a writing software.
Rating: 4.2 / 5
Pages is a word processor and writing tool for Apple users.
What are the good features of Pages?
- It has a convenient and easy-to-use interface.
- You have access to custom templates. The ability to shorten the unnecessary parts of your writing process is always a good thing. Pages is a writing software which excels in flexibility and choice of the available templates.
- You can easily record, edit, and play audio directly on the page that you are writing.
- You can create a table of contents. It will stay in a sidebar and make navigation through your document a piece of cake.
- It offers offline collaboration. You can make changes to the shared documents while you are offline. The changes will be applied once you connect to the internet again.
- It saves your edits automatically. Who here hasn’t forgotten to save their Word document at least once in their lives?
What are the downsides of Pages?
- It is no match for more powerful book writing software like Microsoft Word.
- It lacks a lot of useful features, especially more advanced typography features.
Rating: 4.0 / 5
yWriter is a powerful word processor designed for writing novels. It has a lot of useful features, and it is perfect for writing a book. Best of all – yWriter is completely free!
Check out this guide on how to use the software.
What are the good features of yWriter?
- You can organise your novel easily by breaking it down into chapters and scenes. Next to scenes, you can also create characters, items and locations.
- It enables you to drag and drop your scenes into different chapters and rearrange them. You can even mark them as ‘unused’ if there is no place for a scene you have written in any of your current chapters.
- There is a storyboard view, which enables you to get a visual layout of your work.
- yWriter displays the exact word count for every file in the project, as well as the total word count in your book.
What are the downsides of yWriter?
- This book writing software is only available for PCs. Once again, limited availability comes into play as a big downside. However, they have released a version for Androids recently.
Free to Start (Pricey Upgrades Available)
Rating: 4.1 / 5
FastPencil is a publishing service and writing community. The team behind FastPencil software says it is the one-in-all solution for creating, distributing and selling your print or eBook.
Check out this article for a complete overview of the services they offer.
What are the good features of FastPencil?
- You can collaborate with other people working on your writing project. Since quite a few other pieces of book writing software out there lack this feature, it is a big plus.
- FastPencil allows you to publish your book in different formats: Print, PDF, ePub 3.0, and Mobi formats, as well as paperback and hardcover for printed books (with or without jacket).
- They handle distribution, sales and delivery for you! I bet there isn’t an author out there who would love this.
- FastPencil platform offers you easy tracking of your sales. See where the sales are coming from, calculate royalties and view reports.
What are the downsides of FastPencil?
- If you intend to publish your book through this platform, do your best to make an informed decision. Some negative reviews are circling out there. However, we haven’t gone that deep into their service, so we can’t say anything with certainty.
Rating: 3.8 / 5
OpenOffice is, to put it simply, a free and limited version of Microsoft Office. If you are on a budget and are looking for software to do the job for you, this might be the choice for you.
What are the good features of OpenOffice?
- The software is very lightweight and runs fast and smooth. If you are using an old PC or laptop for your writing work, these are some great news.
- It does a similar job to Microsoft Office without the high cost.
- OpenOffice provides compatibility of the generated files with Microsoft Office – this will make the transition to OpenOffice smooth and quick.
- It’s easy to use – the interface is intuitive and already familiar to most users.
What are the downsides of OpenOffice?
- It has a bit outdated interface and does not feel as sleek and enjoyable to use as some of the latest book writing software.
- Document sharing and collaboration might not be one of the strengths of OpenOffice.
- Expect to run into some formatting issues with the software.
More Writing Software
The next set of tools we are going to cover are not entirely book writing software, but they are useful additions to your writing process.
We will include editing & proofreading software, productivity software and other valuable suggestions that we picked out.
Let’s go through the list.
Spell + Grammar Check & Editing Software
Additional Useful Software
Congratulations! You have gone through the entire list. Hopefully, if you have started using the tools that we recommend, your writing process has become much more enjoyable and productive.
But what happens once you finish writing and formatting?
You are going to need a stunning book cover design to make you stand out and help you skyrocket your sales!
Head over to our book cover design service right away!
We have given you all the information you need to choose the right tools and bring your book writing process to perfection.
Now, let’s hear it from you – which of these tools are you going to start using right away?
Let us know by leaving a comment below right now.