We all have amazing stories to tell, but not everyone can pen down their thoughts in a captivating way. To become a successful author, there are many 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 find myself struggling to come up with words and get those creative juices flowing.
If you’re currently in the same boat, keep reading. In this article, I’ll review 12 of the best book writing software ruling the market in 2021 (along with their pricing details).
Let’s dive right in.
Table of Contents
The 12 Best Book Writing Software Online and Offline
Before delving into the list, I’d like to make one thing clear:
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 book writing software to try right now:
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:
- Character sketching
- Setting and location
- Word count goals
It’s easily one of the best software designed for modern-day writers, by modern-day writers.
Squibler is priced at $9.99 per month, billed monthly with 14 days free.
You can visit Squibler's website here
I had used Scrivener before stumbling back on this idea to create a book 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.
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
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 streamlined either. Instead, I felt they were saying, "If you think Scrivener is too complicated, well, we're the best alternative to them."
Novlr is available in three pricing plans:
- Free – $0 for two weeks, upgradable
- Monthly – $10 per month
- Yearly – $8.33 per month, billed annually
Ulysses is one of my favorite book 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.
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
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 in 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
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 because I need a place for my synopsis and notes. With that said, it still makes for a good book writing software.
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.
7. Hemingway App
Hemingway is a simple yet effective readability scanner. It doesn't offer a list of complex features and tools. However, it does provide a detailed overview of your content and help you make your text more understandable.
The app comes in two versions, an online free version and a paid desktop app for Windows and Mac operating systems.
The online version scans your writing for complex phrases, hard-to-read sentences, passive voices in text, irrelevant use of adverbs, etc.
These issues are highlighted in your text in different colors, along with suggestions to improve them. Furthermore, Hemingway also scores your content's readability according to the academic standards.
For example, if your content has complex vocabulary, long sentences, and hard-to-read sentences, it will give you a 10th or 11th-grade score. On the other hand, it will rate it as 5th or 6th-grade content if it is simple and easy-to-read.
Typically, content scored for lower grades (because of easiness and simplicity) has a higher reach and engagement. Therefore, editing your content on the Hemingway app may help you achieve a huge reader base.
in addition to the above features, the paid version of this book writing software has much more to offer. Let's take a look.
- Offline usability – you can download the desktop version on your Windows or Mac computer and use the Hemingway app offline. Even in the offline mode, the app reviews your content and gives all the required suggestions.
- Text formatting – with the Hemingway desktop app, you can format your text for webpages or any other blogging platforms.
- Export feature – you can export your content as HTML, Microsoft Word, other text editors, and share with your colleagues.
- Direct publish – it lets you publish your content directly to blogging platforms like WordPress and Medium.
Above everything else, both the online and desktop versions of the app have a user-friendly and easy-to-follow interface.
Hemingway App Pricing
You can access the free online version on your web browsers and enjoy all the basic features without paying a single dime.
Download version 3.0 of the desktop app for a one-time payment of $19.99.
Every piece of content requires proofreading for spelling mistakes, grammatical issues, out-of-context sentences, etc. An experienced writer can pretty much improve their drafts themselves. However, it's a lot more challenging for a beginner to detect complex grammatical errors or point out their vocabulary issues.
Fortunately, there are some software that help content creators compose and edit content. Among the top book writing software, we have Grammarly.
Grammarly comes in two versions, a free version, and a premium version. The free version offers various features, including grammar and spell check, integration with web browsers to assess social media posts, emails, etc., and integration with Google Docs (currently in beta testing stage).
The free version may be ideal for some writers. However, if you want to become an efficient writer and improve your accuracy, you need the premium version.
Aside from the basic features offered by the free version, Grammarly's premium version offers the following key features:
- Genre-specific writing style – after pasting your content in Grammarly, it prompts a questionnaire form with a series of questions about your writing style, intent, audience, etc. Once you choose the desired options, Grammarly gives tailored writing suggestions based on your set goals and audience.
- Plagiarism detector – with this feature, you can cross-check your content against (approximately) 16 billion web pages.
- Vocabulary enhancer – Grammarly suggests synonyms, gives definitions, lets you add words to your dictionary, and gives you an explanation of grammar rules. Not only will this enrich your vocabulary, but also boost your creative juices.
On top of it all, Grammarly helps you become a better writer by enabling advanced grammar checks and laying out your performance stats via email.
As mentioned earlier, the free version doesn't require a single penny from the user. However, to unlock the premium version's advanced features, you have to choose from the following plans.
- Monthly – $29.95/ month
- Quarterly – $19.98/ month (billed as a single payment of $59.95)
- Yearly – $11.66/ month (billed as a single payment of $139.95)
The pricing works on a subscription basis, and making an upfront payment at once breaks it down to a reasonable monthly price.
Among the other top book writing software, ProWritingAid is a widely used tool, popular in the writers' community.
You can use the free version of this software to optimize your content efficiently. However, it has some limitations to it. For example, the free version only scans 500 words of your text at a time. Other than that, the free version doesn't integrate with other programs and can only be accessed online.
Nonetheless, despite its limitation, it is a go-to tool for many writers. Here's why:
- Extensive reports – unlike any other software, ProWriting Aid offers 20 reports highlighting elements like redundancy, vague wording, sentence length variation, over-dependence on adverbs, and more.
- Writing mentor – with this software, you can compare your work with an accomplished writer's work in your genre.
To use its advanced features, you need to subscribe to the paid version of this app, which unlocks the following features.
- Additional reports – the paid version offers 25 reports unveiling deep insights about your content.
- Ease of use – with the paid version, you can evaluate any length of content in the desktop app.
Other than that, the most appealing feature is easy payment plans. As opposed to other software, it has flexible yearly subscription plans.
You can purchase the premium version of this software in affordable price packages listed below:
- One year – $60
- Two years – $90
- Three years – $120
- Lifetime – $210
As you can see, the prices are quite reasonable. Furthermore, if you like the tool and want to use it for the long-term, you can buy their lifetime plan.
FastPencil is another useful book writing software in our list with an easily navigable dashboard, collaborative editing feature, and many more.
Just like Google Docs, it's entirely a web-based platform that can't be accessed without the internet. However, it offers some useful features that make up for this inconvenience.
- Collaborative editing – with Fast Pencil, you can invite collaborators, assign them tasks, track each other's tasks, and upload mutually accessible assets.
- Different layout templates – once you're done with your book, you can preview it in different layouts like business, fiction, memoir, etc. This will allow you to have an idea of how your published book will look like.
- Sell your books – distribute your e-books to Amazon, Apple, Ingram, Kobo, etc., and track your sales.
Furthermore, you can also track the channels that bring you the most sales and royalties and maximize your focus there.
They offer a vast array of services to the authors, including managing writing projects, book design, marketing, and publishing. The pricing for each service is mentioned below.
- Editorial services – for basic and advanced project setup, they charge $299 and $499, respectively. Get a quote from the team for additional services like transcription, content editing, manuscript evaluation, etc.
- Design services – purchase design services starting from $50.
- Marketing services – get premium marketing packages starting from $75.
- Publishing services – purchase different publishing services for a price range between $9 to $599.
Visit the website to learn about the detailed pricing plan for different services.
11. Write or Die
Sometimes, writers need a push to keep working and stay away from distractions. What if I tell you that there's a tool that starts producing a mayday signal the moment you stop typing?
Yes, you read it right.
There's a tool that goes by the name Write or Die.
Write or Die is an online web application that fights writer's block and compels the writers to keep working on their project.
If the writer stops typing, the application starts making a loud noise and turning the screen red. Furthermore, it lets the users punish themselves if they lag behind their set goals – which is an extreme step but often a necessity to fight procrastination. However, this feature makes this app playful and motivates the writer to achieve their goal in a fun way.
Here are a few features of Write or Die that make it unique and useful for the writer.
- Preference settings – before starting any piece, the writer can set word goals, timer, grace period before the alarm goes off, and runtime calculation of words written in a minute.
- Kamikaze mode – when this mode is on, your words will get deleted one by one from the app if you take too long of a pause from writing. This will nudge the writer to keep writing and achieve their daily goals.
Once you're done, you can save your work in a text file and begin another writing session if you're feeling motivated.
Write or Die Pricing
All the features listed above are free to use. However, if you want to log your statistics, gain experience, project metrics, and more, buy the pro plan for $20.
12. IA Writer
As compared to Write or Die, IA Writer is a milder distraction-free book writing software. Its minimalist interface adds to its grace and cuts out the noise that generally distracts a writer.
What makes it unique is this software's availability on Mac OS, Windows, Android, and iOS, making it the most accessible tool in our list.
Here are the key features IA Writer has to offer:
- Focus mode – this mode lets the writer focus on the sentence they're writing by blurring out everything else in the document.
- Flexible content blocks – this feature lets you build flexible blocks of text, swap them around, add media files, and more to your content. Once you're done, you can combine separate content pieces into one master file.
- Parallel PDF preview – as you're writing/editing your content, this app lets you see your content in the paginated PDF view. This feature lets you rectify the format changes when your content is translated from a text file to a PDF file.
In addition to the above features, this app also allows a fluid integration with Microsoft Word.
IA Writer Pricing
IA writer app is available for the aforementioned operating systems. The pricing for each version is listed below.
- macOS – you can purchase the IA Writer app for your Mac systems for $29.99. This version comes with a 14-day free trial.
- iOS and iPadOS – buy this version for your iOS devices at the same price of $29.99. However, it doesn't offer a free trial.
- Android – you can purchase a yearly subscription of $4.99 for your android devices or make an upfront payment of $29.99 at once. You get a 30-day in-app trial for this version, which upon satisfaction, you can turn into a yearly or lifetime subscription.
- Windows – buy IA Writer for your Windows systems for $29.99 with a 14-day free trial.
You can get price reductions and discounts for this app as well. Visit their website to learn more about that.
What is the Best Book Writing Software?
I noticed there was a HUGE market need for a more seamless and personalized onboarding personalization and education with a book writing software. 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 book 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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some other common questions about book writing software:
What is the best free software for writing a book?
The best free software for writing a book is Google Docs. It's a great option if you don't need to organize your writing in sections, and it also allows changes without saving them first - which could be helpful for people who are always making adjustments and updates as they go along with their book-writing process.
Can you write a book in Microsoft Word?
You can write a book in Microsoft Word if you are writing a book that is less than 80 pages. If you're looking for something with more robust features, Squibler may be a better option - but keep in mind it only allows changes without saving them first, so this could pose some problems if you like to make adjustments as you go along the way.