As self-published authors, we’re always looking for a better combination of tools and apps to improve our writing and cut down on the amount of editing needed.
At the same time, you’re probably acutely aware of the pain that comes with trying too many different tools. Sometimes, less really is more! Every new tool involves a financial cost as well as the investment of time needed to learn its features.
So is AutoCrit worth your time and money?
In today’s full AutoCrit review we’ll explore exactly what AutoCrit is capable of, break down its cost, and give our recommendation on whether this app is right for you.
Let’s get to it!
What is AutoCrit?
AutoCrit isn't like any other tools we've seen. The closest comparison would be Grammarly or ProWritingAid, but it isn't exactly like either of those.
Like Grammarly and other writing analysis and improvement apps, AutoCrit’s basic concept involves analyzing your text to identify its strengths and weaknesses. It then suggests areas of improvement.
However, unlike other software solutions, AutoCrit is designed with fiction authors firmly in mind. While Grammarly and ProWritingAid are useful for writers of every type, AutoCrit is mainly suited to fiction authors aiming to improve their craft.
AutoCrit also claims to be suitable for academic writers and journalists, but in our opinion, its features will be most useful for fiction writers.
Think of AutoCrit as an automated feedback partner for your next fiction story.
Now that you know the basic concept behind AutoCrit let’s delve deeper into its features and capabilities.
What does AutoCrit do?
Of course, it's easy for software like AutoCrit to make grand promises about how it can help your writing and the problems it solves.
But what does it actually do?
When you use AutoCrit you will see that the software analyzes six main aspects of your writing.
AutoCrit offers feedback based on your story's:
1 – Pacing and Momentum
Having plodding pacing is a quick way to get your reader yawning and keen to put your back down without finishing it.
A good sense of pacing and momentum is something editors have a feel for after years of reading and critiquing different stories, gaining an inherent sense of what does and doesn't work.
So how is AutoCrit able to give you feedback in this area?
AutoCrit has scanned millions of books across different genres, so the software has a vast range of data on how long optimal chapters, sentences, and sections are for different styles of writing. The tool displays this data visually so you know how your book stacks up.
Authors with experience using AutoCrit have praised the tool’s ability to identify the very same pacing and momentum problems that real readers mentioned in their reviews.
2 – Dialogue
Let’s face it. Bad dialogue is one of the fastest ways to yank a reader out of the blissful suspension of disbelief and remind them they’re reading a story rather than enjoying something realistic.
Dialogue might seem simple on the surface but so many authors fall into the trap of using inappropriate dialogue tags or writing in a wooden or unrealistic way.
So is AutoCrit helpful at offering dialogue improvement suggestions?
The main way that AutoCrit aims to improve your dialogue is by identifying redundant dialogue tags or adverbs that lessen the impact of your character's speech. It's easy to fall into writing these without necessarily being consciously aware, so having AutoCrit identify them can strengthen your story.
3 – Strong Writing
Strong writing stems from the avoidance of cliche, repetition, and redundant words that weaken sentences.
AutoCrit can scan your text and identify weak writing that you could easily overlook during your self-editing process.
Of course, AutoCrit's improvements are only suggestions. You're still in complete creative control, so if your writing is identified as weak by AutoCrit but is a conscious choice on your behalf, you are free to retain it.
AutoCrit's assessment of your writing's strength will never replace the ability of a human editor. However, it can offer a lot more than a typical self-edit. This has the result of making better use of your editor's time and saving you money in the process.
4 – Word Choice
Have you ever read back a piece of your own writing and thought ‘why the heck did I use that word so many times…and how did I not notice’? AutoCrit aims to eliminate that issue by identifying inappropriate word choices, excess repetition, and identifying times where you start sentences in the same old boring way.
5 – Repetition
Repetitive words and phrases can sometimes be stylistic choices by the author. However, they're sometimes simply the product of going unnoticed.
Often, reading your work out loud will help you identify any repetitive words or phrases which land heavily on the ear and distract from the meaning of your writing. But it's always easy to overlook some. AutoCrit eliminates this problem.
6 – Compare to Fiction
The unique feature that sets AutoCrit apart from other somewhat similar tools is the large number of books it has scanned to generate the data it works from.
It claims the number of books it uses for data to be in the millions. This is hard to verify but there is no real reason to doubt the claim. One of the cool features offered by AutoCrit is a direct comparison with how your book compares to its scanned data for the following genres:
- General Fiction
- Movie Script
- Short Story
- Young Adult
It also allows you to compare by author, both fiction and nonfiction. So, for example, if you were writing a self-help book, you could assess how your sentence lengths compare to Tony Robbins’. If you were writing a young adult fantasy book you could measure your stats against J.K Rowling’s.
Depending on your way of thinking, this might strike you as either very cool or antithetical to the nature of creative work. However, in our opinion, it's a useful feature. Say you want to ensure your work is paced similarly to a particular genre or author you admire. AutoCrit removes the guesswork.
So now you know the main areas of assessment that AutoCrit carries out on your text. You’ll probably agree that these are most useful for fiction authors, as nonfiction authors are unlikely to find much value that they wouldn’t get from Grammarly or ProWritingAid.
If you like the basic concept of AutoCrit and think it could add value to your writing and self-editing process, read on to discover how it works in more detail, the extra bonuses it offers, and how it stacks up to competing services and tools.
What does AutoCrit score mean?
AutoCrit gives your text an overall score. This is similar to the rating provided by Grammarly if you've ever used that.
It assesses the number of improvements it believes should be made relative to the length of your text, rates them according to how important they are, and gives your writing a numerical value between 0 and 100.
It’s important to not get too caught up on the score itself. AutoCrit is only making suggestions after all. You might not agree with them and as the author that is your prerogative and right.
However, the score is useful in terms of allowing you to get a feel for how much improvement you might need to make, and is also valuable in comparing two different texts.
What’s a good score on AutoCrit?
As stated in the last section, it’s important not to think of AutoCrit scores as good or bad as such, more like just how much scope there is for change.
However, the makers of AutoCrit state that most successful books tend to score at least a 70 in their experience, and often range between 70 and 90. You might want to use those numbers as a ballpark when assessing your work.
Is AutoCrit better than Grammarly?
General writers probably won’t find much value in AutoCrit that isn’t present in Grammarly, but if you’re a fiction writer, you’ll probably find the extra features make it a better choice, provided you agree with the recommendations made and feel they improve your process.
Grammarly integrates more widely than AutoCrit and is useful for many types of writing. However, the massive number of books AutoCrit has scanned and the unique analysis it provides to fiction writers make it an arguably better choice.
What is the AutoCrit community?
The creators of AutoCrit are keen to emphasize that when you invest in this tool, you’re getting more than just software.
Depending on the level of membership you end up choosing for AutoCrit, you gain access to extra services outside of the core software such as a mobile app, community discussions, talks from famous authors, and preferential access to done-for-you services like editing and critiques.
Although these services look attractive on the surface, it’s important to stop and think about how much value you would get from them. After all, quality done-for-you services are widely available through various platforms. Also, there are plenty of quality writer discussion groups available that don’t require an AutoCrit subscription.
That’s not to say that there isn’t value in the extra offerings from AutoCrit. If you think they’re a good fit for your needs and you can see yourself participating in them to an extent that justifies the extra membership cost, then by all means go for it! We’re definitely in favor of authors being offered extra help. Just make sure it’s the right fit for your needs rather than being wowed by the idea rather than the reality.
Does AutoCrit offer courses?
As well as its core offer of the AutoCrit online editing tool, the company also provides educational courses to writers.
The courses on offer at AutoCrit currently consist of two different types – one set of courses that you receive as a bonus when you purchase the highest tier of membership, and a separate set of courses that are available for a standalone price that also includes access to AutoCrit.
Let’s take a quick look at both types of courses.
When you sign up for the highest level of AutoCrit access, Annual Professional, you also get access to two courses:
- Eliminating Repetition. This course teaches writers how to keep their writing varied and engaging.
- How to Write Better Dialogue. This course teaches the principles of crafting realistic conversations between your fictional characters.
While these courses cover useful topics, it's questionable how worthwhile they are as standalone courses.
For example, would you really want to take an entire course about dialogue? Wouldn’t it be better to take a broader fiction course that covered dialogue as just one aspect of the bigger picture?
Also, it's interesting to note that these courses are almost an admission that AutoCrit on its own won't teach you everything you need. The tool identifies both repetition and dialogue errors – but apparently not to the full extent you need to be an effective writer.
Aside from the courses bundled with the highest AutoCrit plan, the company currently offers the following two courses on a standalone basis:
- Story Sorcery: Write Fantasy. Lasting for a month, this course teaches you the fundamentals of fantasy writing with a series of online lectures, exercises, and a supportive community of fellow learners.
- Nightmare Fuel: Write Horror. Just like the fantasy writing course, this offer provides a month of tuition to help you craft better horror tales.
Both courses are listed at a regular price of $298 but are available for purchase at $149. Whether the courses are ever sold at the full price or that’s just a marketing gimmick isn’t exactly clear.
How much does AutoCrit cost?
So now that you know everything AutoCrit does, and the various extras on offer, let’s get down to the detail of how much it will set you back.
At the time of writing, AutoCrit is available at three different price points:
- Free. Very basic access to AutoCrit including grammar and spelling and a few of the more advanced editing reports like repetition, but without access to the vast majority of the features that make the paid offering worth it.
- $30 a month. Full access to all of the editing reports from AutoCrit as well as its comparison to pro author capabilities. This tier also grants access to the membership community and other bonuses.
- $297 a year. Paying for an annual subscription in one go gets you everything from the monthly subscription tier as well as access to the bonus courses mentioned above as well as a cost-saving of around 2 months a year.
So which option do we suggest?
Unless you're sold on everything AutoCrit is capable of, it makes sense to start with the free tier. Check it out and get a feel for what the tool does and if you like the basic experience of using it.
If it’s a good fit for your needs, try a month of the paid tier. Get access to everything the tool does so you can make a personalized comparison with your other self-editing options.
We're willing to bet that, for the majority of people reading this, you will only be editing full manuscripts a few times a year at most. So it might make better financial sense to subscribe monthly when you're in the self-editing phase, and then cancel for the months you don't need the tool.
Is AutoCrit worth it?
Ultimately, we’re firm believers that every self-published author needs a self-editing tool. Whether you opt for Grammarly, AutoCrit, or ProWritingAid is down to personal preference.
These tools will never replace the need for a human editor. They just aren’t capable of that level of insight and feedback.
But if you like the sound of AutoCrit and you write fiction, why not give it a go? Compare it to your existing self-editing solution and see if it’s a better fit for your needs.