Millions of people use book writing software whether Word, Google Docs, or Squibler. At the same time, many people believe that book writing software only hinders the process of writing a book worth reading.
The funny part is most of these people who claim book writing software doesn’t help you write better books faster have forgotten that Word and Google Docs are still software.
What they mean to refer to when they say, “book writing software doesn’t help you” is software that’s purely dedicated to helping you write a book including Scrivener and Squibler. As the founder of Squibler, I’ve often questioned whether these negative opinions about writing software hold weight.
To understand these opinions, let’s dive into the different writing software that exists on the market today.
Types of Book Writing Software
Here are a few of the most well-known writing software to help you write and publish your book.
- Reedsy, a marketplace for book freelancer (editors, designer, etc) along with software to write your book
- Squibler, a minimalist and personalized writing software
- Ulysses, a minimalist mobile and desktop writing app
- Scrivener, a desktop writing software catered to every writer
Does a Book Writing Software Create Better Books?
By the nature of writing a book, it’s a time-consuming process that relies on creativity and ideation all the way through to make it successful.
What is a successful book, though?
The success of a book is often determined by the number of readers and how much those readers enjoy the book. That comes down to the power of storytelling no matter if the book is fiction or non-fiction. Even though book writing software can’t guarantee you’ll become a best-selling author, it can help you tell a better story.
Moreover, writing software will often have features to fix your grammar and style. The best software will aim to help you create a toe-curling or bead-sweating story. However, a writing software won’t create a better book if you don’t have that creative juice or persistence to see it all the way through.
Now, let’s say you have the persistence and the creativity to write a book. The good news is a book writing software will help you keep that persistence and enable that creativity. The reason is it will provide a section to brainstorm whether that be notes or a summary like in the example below.
In notes, I can list character names, settings, and even sub-plots. The choices are endless. Moreover, book writing software can also provide a library of images and other types of media for inspiration. You’ll no longer have to search through Google and Pinterest to find the perfect picture of a person or setting to inspire your descriptive writing.
The last part is it can give you a head start on research. See, there are many ways to write a book whether you’re writing a novel or a non-fiction book. A book writing software can provide the templates and outlines for these works so you can focus on the most creative aspects. For example, Scrivener provides many templates to choose from in their onboarding process.
These templates are more than providing an outline, though. They’ll help you set deadlines. For example, if you’re writing a book for NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month), then you’ll want a timer set for 30 days because that’s how long you have to write your book. In parallel, many writing software will enable you to track your progress and remind you to keep to the deadline you set.
Does a Book Writing Software Help You Write Better?
As noted in the last section, many book writing software does provide grammar and style corrections. But sometimes that’s not enough. What writers need to become better at storytelling is feedback.
That’s why there are communities that can provide feedback on your work. For example, Reedsy has a huge editor community you can work with. It makes their writing software personable.
For other software, they have more heavy-duty stylized editing specific for storytelling. For example, ProWritingAid is one of the best tools for keeping your writing concise for readers.
It provides the perfect suggestions for novelists to craft better stories. Many people would think Grammarly would be a better fit here, but ProWritingAid specializes in storytelling rather than general grammar.
Another way book writing software can help you become a better writer is by providing writing prompts. There are thousands of writing prompts online, but few attached to an editor. I built-out a writing prompt page attached site to our Squibler software. This way when writers feel inspired by a prompt, they can get write their answer in a structured manner in seconds.
People may argue that all this “structure” isn’t healthy for writing. That writing is too creative for outlines, notes, and summaries. As someone who’s written five books and started eight, I know the difference between the completed ones is that I kept everything organized along the way. The books I never finished were the least structured. Sometimes that meant having chapters in notes spread in countless Google Docs in random folders that I’d forget the name of.
When you do enough research, you’ll realize that there are scientific methods for better inspiration and creativity. The primary method? Externalization into a storage area that is easily searchable. This could be the project section in your writing software like below or the notes and summary in the editor as mentioned earlier.
The reason externalization of your thoughts into categories leads to inspiration and creativity is that 1) you know where you can find your thoughts later 2) it gives you room to think of new thoughts as our brain-space is limited. These are the same reasons many people learn languages by associating words with images in settings – it enables them to categorize their thoughts better so they can free their mind to come up with new ones.
Does a Book Writing Software Help You Focus?
It’s proven that software, when designed well, can improve one’s ability to focus and keep writing.
For example, Duolingo uses gamification tactics from the gaming world that made Duolingo the most downloaded and used education app in the world. There’s no ignoring that gamification works to help people learn and create.
It’s why the writing software, Ulysses, enables you to set goals based on time and word count. It’s like having a personal coach guide you through your writing process.
Another one of my favorite tools when it comes to helping you focus on writing is called The Most Dangerous Writing App. The premise of this writing software is that you’ll lose everything you type if you stop typing. It enables you to base this goal off word count or time limit. For example, if you set a time limit to 5 minutes, and if you stop typing anytime before that 5 minutes is up, you’ll have a short several-second window before all your work is deleted.
Does a Book Writing Software Help You Publish?
Again, the answer is yes, it does help you publish. In the example below, we take a look at Reedsy’s platform. When you finish writing your book, they enable you to format your book’s textual design to your liking in a few seconds while giving you the option to print your book right away. That’s brilliant.
Squibler does something similar. With a more minimalist design, it gives you a one-click export option to download your work. From there, you can upload it directly to Amazon KDP in Kindle format or shoot it over to your friends as a PDF.
Even though these software tools help you publish, they don’t necessarily help you with the book marketing process. Reedsy does provide a number of book marketers to hire to guide you; however, as a marketer and a writer, I know that this is the hardest step of the process. In fact, marketing your book may be harder than writing it.
That’s why entrusting your book with a marketer may not prove the best step for you. It may be better to learn how to market your book on your own.
The reason is marketing today has changed.
A New York Times profile about your book may not move the needle with sales. Instead, it’s the social media share from the influencer in your niche on Twitter or Instagram. One of my favorite books on this topic of creating and marketing a book that stands the test of time is called Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday. I highly recommend you read it.
It shows you that most books take a while to catch on to the mainstream public. The reason is book marketing to hundreds of thousands of sales doesn’t happen overnight unless you have an email list with a million people and a track record of books that have had similar success.
To that end, the book marketing process will remain in your hands for the foreseeable future.
Old Software vs. New Software
In the old software book writing space, you have products like Google Docs and Microsoft Word. Most people still write their book(s) using these products. They do so because there lacks education around software options to help you with the process.
The truth is these products aren’t meant to help you write and publish your book. They weren’t designed with that at the forefront. Instead, they added features along the way to cater to the author-audience including inserting a table of contents and outline.
As a result, you get an experience that isn’t catered just to writing a book. The founders of Scrivener, Reedsy, and Squibler know this. That’s why these writing tools exist – to better your book writing experience. Just remember, these software tools won’t write a book for you. Neither will Duolingo learn a language for you.
What do they give you?
A better starting point. With Duolingo, you’ll still need to practice in-person to become proficient in your chosen language. With writing a book, you’ll still need to work with an editor to ensure you’ve written a quality book. It takes time. And software is only one piece of the puzzle to getting your desired outcome.
Should You Use a Book Writing Software?
The answer is yes. By using a book writing software, it will enable you to tackle the hard problems faster. Moreover, many book writing software is free to try such as Squibler. So in a matter of minutes, you can see whether most of these software tools are worth using for your particular book.
Just keep in mind what I wrote earlier – writing a book takes persistence and creativity all the way through. If you don’t have the ability to keep those characteristics present, then writing a book isn’t for you. In that case, writing software won’t help you. Because it’s only meant to magnify what’s working.
On the other hand, if you have these author-like characteristics, then I’m excited for you to write and publish your book. It’s one of the best decisions you’ll make.