There’s a lot of software programs out there for writers. Some authors like a simple design with no distractions, other like a lot of features to organize their thoughts, keep track of word count, edit, and more. We’ve rounded up some of the top prospects to help you decide which ones will best suit your needs.
Grammarly – Free for basic, $139.95/yr for premium
Pros: This is a spelling and grammar program that can be used not only for book writing but for emails, social media, and more. You can edit for specific genres. It has browser extensions and mobile apps. Premium features include customized checks for different document types, a plagiarism filter, a function that helps diversify your vocabulary, and more. Frequent subscription discounts.
Cons: No offline editing mode.
Scrivener – $49 for Windows and MacOS, $19.99 for iOS
Pros: This program has a “binder” feature that allows you to break up your book into chapters, and you can drag and drop. You can also view chapters, sections, or scenes as index cards. It’s great for formatting and has templates for various publishing formats. It also has project management features. You can set writing goals.
Cons: Formatting is a little complicated, and collaboration is difficult if you are trying to bring in a human editor. There is an app for iPhone and iPad, but not for android. Also, you have to sync through Dropbox.
Google Docs – Free
Pros: This one is our personal go-to. It’s great for editing and feedback. It’s free. It has a suggestion mode and can go offline so you can use it even when you don’t have an internet connection. It’s also very simple if you want a “no-frills” type of program.
Cons: Not great for formatting, not very many features.
Vellum – Free for basic, $199.00 for eBooks, $249.00 for Press (ebooks and paperbacks)
Pros: The best for formatting print and ebooks and making them look amazing in a short amount of time. Easy to use. Great preview feature.
Cons: Limited styles to choose from. Expensive. Only works for Macs. Can’t create ebooks or print books with the free version.
ProWritingAid – Free for basic, $60/yr for premium
Pros: The best grammar and spell checker. You can install it on your browser or word processor. Affordable. Quick copyediting. Comparable to Grammarly.
Cons: Sometimes gives incorrect or out-of-context suggestions. Free version has a 500 word limit.
Hemingway App – Free for basic, $19.99 for full version
Pros: Checks readability, simple to use, distraction-free writing. In editing mode, it automatically highlights potential problem areas. Good for writing web content since you can publish straight to WordPress. Provides estimated read time.
Cons: You have to copy and paste your writing into it to be checked. Can’t save or export your work in the free version. No formatting options geared toward making books.
yWriter – Free
Pros: Free, good for novelists, breaks the novel into chapters and scenes, space for notes.
Cons: Only works on Windows, but there is a beta version for iOS, no templates, can’t create ebooks with it.
Back up your manuscripts!
This is SO, SO, SO important! No one wants to lose the days, weeks, months, or years worth of work. Do yourself a favor and back it up! Use Dropbox or get a flash drive or external hard drive like those listed below.
Works on both Mac and PC. Includes a Secure Access software download that allows you to password protect anything stored on this flash drive.
One year limited warranty and rescue data services. We recommend only using this on a PC as Macs can be a bit finicky with external hard drives.