Best FREE Book Writing Software 2020 | Reviews and Pricing

Best FREE Book Writing Software 2020 | Reviews and Pricing

We’ve all got amazing stories to tell, but not everyone can pen down their thoughts in a captivating way. To make it big and become a successful author, there are a bunch of prerequisites – with determination being most important. And while creativity can’t be manufactured, it can help to have a book writing software.

Let’s face it: Writing isn’t exactly easy. So far, I’ve published over a 1,000 blog posts and 5 books, and I still sometimes find myself struggling to come up with words or get those creative juices flowing.

If you’re currently in the same boat, keep reading. In this article, I’ll review 6 of the best book writing software ruling the market in 2020 (along with their pricing details).

Let’s dive right in.

The 6 Best Book Writing Software Online and Offline

Before delving into the list, I’d like to clear one thing.

A book writing software won’t write a book for you (there are a few AI text generators out there, but we’re not talking about them).

These book writing programs can help you in other ways, by:

  • Providing you with special templates
  • Assisting you with the publishing format
  • Providing other tools needed to make you a productive writer

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the best writing software to try right now:

1. Squibler

Squibler is the book writing software that I created –  designed specifically for writers who struggle with consistency.

It enables you to write faster with more organization for your thoughts. It has everything from assigning notes to chapters and scenes, cork-board layout to see all your notes at once, and hundreds of templates for different writing styles.

Squibler presents a new type of book writing software that makes writing feel easy. 

Here are the key features of Squibler that make it so great:

  • Organizing – you can easily organize your chapters, notes, ideas/thoughts with the simple drag-and-drop feature.
  • 30+ Outline Template – with Squibler, you don’t have to start your draft from scratch. Simply select an outline for a template that’s closest to what you have in mind and get started right away.
  • Native Grammar Checker – this built-in feature removes the need for a third-party grammar checking tool, making editing a breeze.
  • Corkboard – an essential feature for any book writing software. It lets you organize, plan, and watch your draft come to life.
  • Publishing – when the time comes, Squibler will format your book to publish. You can easily export your work via Kindle and PDF and preview to ensure it looks good.

All in all, Squibler can help with:

  • Brainstorming
  • Word count goals

It’s easily one of the best software designed for modern-day writers, by modern-day writers.

Squibler Pricing

Squibler is priced at $9.99 per month, billed monthly with 14 days free.

You can visit Squibler's website here

2. Scrivener, a Desktop Writing Software

I had used Scrivener before stumbling back on this idea to create a writing software.

At first, I found the product's learning curve to be too steep, especially since the UI was a little confusing.

However, I soon learned that this was the main alternative to Microsoft Word for writing books, and for good reason.

Moreover, they've had over 800,000 customers.

Here is a quick sneak-peek of the main features it has to offer:

  • Collect Your Material – the software provides a single platform to manage your manuscript.
  • Corkboard – a virtual board where you can keep track of your changes and plan ahead.
  • Outliner – create super-detailed outlines for every chapter and easily reorganize sections.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg – in addition to the above, Scrivener also lets you compared documents side-by-side, offers formatting presets, and much more.

Again, the only downside is its difficult interface.

I write technical documentation on software for a living and even I think this writing software is complex.

Moreover, it lacks the fundamental benefits of being an online app. This includes a better onboarding flow, community, personalizing experiences, and the ability to understand your users' pain point in their customer journey using data.

With that said, it is still one of the best alternatives to a basic drafting program like MS Word.

Scrivener Pricing

Four packages with one-time payments are available:

  • Standard License – $49 for macOS and Windows
  • Educational License – $49 for macOS and Windows
  • iOS – $19.99 for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch
  • Bundle – $80 for both macOS and Windows

3. Novlr, an Online Writing Software

When I first came across Novlr, I realized it was the closest thing to what we were aiming for with Squibler.. In fact, I thought "why build our product if this already exists?"

When I tried the product, I came across the same feeling of clunkiness. I got the feeling that it was made by coders for writers rather than writers for writers.

If you ignore the learning curve, it’s one of the leading book writing software at the end of the day.

Here’s a quick overview of its main features:

  • Offline Writing – you don’t necessarily need an internet connection to write and save your progress.
  • Focus Mode – remove all kinds of distractions and stay focused on writing and editing.
  • Sync – the tool can automatically sync with both Google Drive and Dropbox.
  • Editing – get smart suggestions, grammar enhancements, and more.
  • Stats – track your writing progress and set personal milestones.

Another down-side of Novlr is that there aren’t any blog posts, videos, or community where you can learn more about writing.

The experience won’t feel very either. Instead, I felt they were saying, "If you think Scrivener is too complicated, well, we're the best alternative to them."

Novlr Pricing

Novlr is available in three pricing plans:

  • Free – $0 for two weeks, upgradable
  • Monthly – $10 per month
  • Yearly – $8.33 per month, billed annually

4. Ulysses, a Mobile Writing Software

Ulysses is one of my favorite writing software. It's almost everything I'd want out of a mobile and desktop app. However, they lack some key functionality by not having an online presence and not making the product specifically for writing books.

With that said, they perfected the minimalist design for writing - even better than how Medium did it.

Let’s see what’s under the hood:

  • Markup-Based Editor – by adding a few characters, you can format your text however you want (like add examples) without lifting your fingers from the keyword.
  • Themes – you have complete control over the color of your editor. Select from a wide range of color schemes (whatever helps you stay focused and more productive).
  • Library/History – this will help you organize everything you write.
  • Auto-Save – never lose any progress, as Ulysses automatically saves your work in its library.
  • Sharing – not exactly for “book authors,” but Ulysses lets you schedule and publish posts on WordPress and Medium.

There are a ton of other features in addition to those above.

I like Ulysses for taking notes, but I didn't feel like it offered everything a book writer would need today in order to be successful.

They were missing not only the educational component but the community and online onboarding experience that can enrich products.

Ulysses Pricing

The following pricing plans are available:

  • Ulysses – $5.99 monthly or $49.99 yearly
  • Ulysses For Students – $10.99 for six months

5. Microsoft Word, a Desktop App

Microsoft Word is the "OG" of the space. They have a desktop and online version for you to write your books.

The program packs a ton of features to help you improve your writing and many writers are familiar with the product.

The downside is similar to Scrivener – they wanted to be everything to everyone. Moreover, there's no personalized experience.

As a result, if you're looking to write a book with the product, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. There's also little education and community around their product for writers interested in connecting with each other.

Here are the main features:

  • Custom Styles – you can customize the different levels of headings and the body text however you like.
  • Cross-Referencing – easily refer to any piece of text to support whatever you’re writing.
  • Custom Layouts – you can also customize the layout of your pages however you want.
  • Table of Contents – easily create a table of contents to your liking.
  • Mailing – need to shoot your draft to an editor? With Word, you can mail your document to multiple recipients right there on the program.
  • Track Changes – easily track, accept, and reject the changes/additions you or someone else makes to your draft.

That’s just a glimpse of what the software has to offer.

Word has almost every feature you'd need to write books, but they remind me of why people choose Canva over Adobe Photoshop – it's the shorter learning curve and simplicity that your users value more than a large selection of features.

Microsoft Word Pricing

It's available in three versions of Microsoft 365 with separate pricing plans.

Microsoft 356 for Home

Here are the details:

  • Microsoft 365 Family – free for one month; $9.99 monthly or $99.99 yearly
  • Microsoft 365 Personal – $6.99 monthly or $69.99 yearly
  • Office Home & Student 2019 – $149.99 one-time purchase for Mac and PC

Microsoft 356 for Business

Pricing is mentioned below:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic – $5 per user monthly, billed annually
  • Standard – free for one month; $12.50 per user per month, billed annually
  • Mic Premium – free for one month; $20 per user per month, billed annually
  • Microsoft 365 Apps – an app-only package for $8.25 per user per month, billed annually

Microsoft 365 for Enterprise

Pricing is listed below:

  • Microsoft 365 E3 – $32 per user per month, billed annually
  • E5 – $57 per user per month, billed annually
  • F3 – $10 per user per month, billed annually

Enterprises can get a quote by contacting the sales team through the Microsoft 365 website.

6. Google Docs, an Online Writing Software

I've written my last four books in Google Docs. I like the simplicity and that it already integrates with my workspace. But it's not easy to use. I have to create a new document for each chapter, then have one main doc linking all the individual chapters to keep them organized. The reason I can't just write the book out in one long Google Doc like in the example below is I need a place for my synopsis and notes.

Here are some of the many features it has to offer:

  • Ability to Add Fonts – a great thing about Google Docs is that it lets you add fonts right there on the app (no need to download and install them separately).
  • Voice Typing – don’t feel like typing? No problem. Simply turn on the voice typing feature and start recording your draft.
  • Styles – like Microsoft Word, Google Docs lets you conveniently use different styles throughout your text.
  • Research Tool – need to do some quick research for your book? Google Docs has a native feature that can get you images, quotes, meanings, and much more about any topic.
  • Suggesting – this is essentially the same thing as the “Track Changes” feature of Microsoft Word.

It's hard to point out the flaws in Google Docs when it is a free product. In addition, there are many benefits to Google Docs, including easy collaboration with live chat and sharing your document with an editor. It also has a quick learning curve.

Google Docs Pricing

It comes in two versions:

  • Google Docs – this is absolutely free.
  • Google Docs for Business – this is free to try. Contact the G Suite sales team for pricing.

What Makes Our Book Writing Software Different?

I noticed there was a HUGE market need for a more seamless software personalization and education. Moreover, an online book writing software that catered to minimalist design demands of those who want to become authors and experienced authors. The best part: by personalizing the experience, we could provide a minimalist experience while giving book writers exactly what they wanted while helping them succeed every step of the way with our educational component.

The world of creating software has seen a lot of changes over the last couple of years. Not long ago, most book writing software such as Scrivener or Ulysses was built on desktop. These founders had little choice as the internet was yet to be explored.

As the internet matured, online creators were enabled. They adopted easy-to-use coding languages and tools for building online software. This led to the realization that they could build companies online without a huge investment.

The online software world exploded for thousands of industries, yet many industries still found difficulty with placing a foothold in it. One such industry included the professional writing industry. That’s why I founded Squibler, a book writing software that finally cracks the code.

Why a Book Writing Software Hasn’t Found its Foothold

As I’ve interviewed writers and authors, the answer was clear. The majority of professional writers are over the age of thirty. Most over forty. They expressed their hesitancy to try new writing software as they aren’t technology enthusiasts.

One ghostwriter noted, “I live in Microsoft Word. And I’m old. I have no desire to learn more software.”

Even though she was only forty-three years old, she couldn’t bear learning another software program especially with her three kids running around.

The problem isn’t that she didn’t want to learn another writing software, but the writing software alternatives to Microsoft Word weren’t easy to learn. For example, the number one book writing software outside of Microsoft Word is Scrivener. And the number one complaint about Scrivener is that the learning curve is too high.

This Amazon review comparing Scrivener to Adobe is particularly interesting. The reason is Canva, a design tool now valued at over a billion dollars, aimed to be the easier version of Adobe for designers. It accomplished this through the effective use of personalization with onboarding and templates. Personalization keeps users engaged, delighted, increases word-of-mouth referrals and much more.

The stats around what makes a SaaS company successful say personalization is at the forefront. It creates a deeper relationship with your customers and increases activation and retention rates which directly lead to more revenue.

Improving activation—which takes place when users first experience the value you promised—by only 25% can result in a 34.30% lift in monthly recurring revenue (MRR).

For users who aren’t technology-savvy, this increase in activation through personalization has a much more valuable outcome. If you’re already scared to try a new writing software, then there’s only one way to get you to adopt it. It’s an onboarding experience that provides a feeling that every step is personalized to your exact needs and gets you your first win fast.

Based on how the writing software personalizes this journey, you may receive a drip campaign that incorporates relevant articles, tutorials, webinars, and case studies. This will help onboard new trial users deep into understanding your software and community.

Final Thoughts

When picking the right book writing software, it’s important to first ask yourself what you need.

Anyone can start preparing a draft on Google Docs, which is free.

But does it have everything that an average writer needs to make the process easier? Not necessarily.

A modern software should be able to at least provide you with flexible personalization, outlining, and productivity tools – packaged in a highly intuitive user-interface.

And all things considered, Squibler is the only option that ticks all of those boxes.

Published in Product, Software, Writing

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10 Responses to “Best FREE Book Writing Software 2020 | Reviews and Pricing”

  1. Shyam Prasad Reddy says:

    you chose a very promising niche! Best of luck to you, Josh!

  2. Armen says:

    Hey Josh,
    This is great! Huge inspiration to follow my dreams!
    Do what you love man.?


  3. Josh Fechter says:

    Thanks Shyam!

  4. Hey Josh. I signed up a few weeks ago. Looking forward to diving in.

    Curious to hear how SaaS would fit in a model that's a typical a one-time fee product. I could be wrong.

  5. […] technical writing for blog posts and is now ghostwriting technical books for CEOs using their own book writing software, I’ve seen the dark and the bright side. The dark side is blog posts and social posts can […]

  6. Stuart says:

    Good luck Josh. The saas world is a fun world to play in. Sounds like an interesting project.

  7. Josh Fechter says:

    Hey Chris, so this model has been successfully done as SaaS with other companies like Ulysses and Novlr. With that said, the MVP is not yet ready. We're hoping it will be in several weeks 🙂

  8. Josh Fechter says:

    Thank you!

  9. Josh Fechter says:

    Thanks Armen! I appreciate it.

  10. Josh Fechter says:

    I hope you're right 🙂