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Book Writing Software: 15 Best Book Writing Software Tools (Free & Paid)

Written by

Charity Jerop

https://selfpublishing.com/author/charityjerop/

Published on

2020-09-10

On the hunt for the best book writing software to write your book?

Writing software can be hard to come by, especially since what might work best for you, doesn’t necessarily work for someone else and vice versa.

Some might argue that the medium is not the issue – they’ll tell you don’t worry about fancy writing software, just start writing.

And while that may be true for some, in our experience with helping thousands of authors write and self-publish a book, we’ve found that every author has a tool that helps them organize their writing, and increase their productivity.

Software specifically designed to write a book can make your writing process more organized, efficient, and focused, ultimately allowing you to write your book faster.

We’ve compiled the best free writing software for beginners, but there are some paid tools included here that require some learning, too.

best book writing software

In this article, we’ll not only take a detailed look at the free writing software tools available to authors, but we’ll cover some paid tools, as well. 

Here is the best book writing software: 

  1. Zoho Writer [free]
  2. LibreOffice [free]
  3. Google Docs [free]
  4. yWriter [free]
  5. Evernote [free]
  6. Novelize
  7. Ulysses
  8. Hemmingway app
  9. Scrivener
  10. FastPencil
  11. Microsoft Word
  12. Grammarly
  13. Freedom
  14. ProWritingAid
  15. FocusWriter

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What is Book Writing Software?

Book writing software is a program designed to streamline the book writing process using technology on a computer or other device. It is mainly a word processor with added benefits specifically for authors and novelists, such as book organization tools, story development features, and more.

Related: Novel Writing Software

There are many options for free book writing software, as well as paid writing software for all budgets and price points. Depending on your own needs as an author and writer, there are many book writing softwares to choose from.

Maybe you’re a writer that’s just getting started on how to write a book. Or maybe you’re a seasoned writer that’s researching how to become an author and you’re ready to commit to your practice with the best book writing software available. 

No matter what type of writer you are, there is software designed to streamline your writing process. It’s just a matter of finding the perfect one to fit your needs!

Do You Really Need Software to Write a Book?

We know what you’re thinking. All that’s needed to write is pen and paper.

In simple terms, yes – you don’t need a fancy writing tool to actually write. In fact, humans have been expressing their creativity and ideas through writing using the most basic tools available for centuries. 

But every writer needs a medium, which is the tool that you use to write on or with. The efficiency and ease-of-use of the medium can affect the writer’s productivity.

Think about how easy a typewriter or keyboard makes it to type a 50,000 word novel; now, imagine having to write that many words by carving it on stone. See how the medium can affect your productivity as a writer? 

Technology has made the writing process easier – there’s no doubt about that. But is writing software necessary? 

I posed this exact question to a group of writers to see if they really use software. Based on their feedback, it’s clear that writers like you value these programs. Every writer has their preferred book writing software, and some use multiple writing software programs. 

Take a look at some of the responses: 

best writing software

That’s just a quick look at how many real-life writers actually use book writing software to improve their efficiency and organization.

So, the next time you’re in need of gifts for writers, consider buying them a subscription to their favorite book writing software of choice.

The Pros to Using Book Writing Software

Of course you can write using whatever tools are available to you, but there are some important reasons to consider using special software for writing a book. 

Writing is already hard – why make it even more difficult by not utilizing the tools that were designed to make the process easier? 

Related: Book Templates

When you make technology work for you and not against you, great things can come out of it – like that book you’ve been meaning to write!

Here are the main reasons to use book writing software:

  1. Your book files are organized in one place. No need to have each book chapter file saved in various places throughout your desktop. Keep it clean and organized with book writing software. With most tools, you can even access files from anywhere, making it easy to pick up where you left off no matter where you are, or what time of day it is.
  2. Special built-in features designed to make your writing life easier. The best writing software programs have built-in features that can prevent a ton of issues. For example, you can check for spelling and grammar mistakes on-the-go, which cuts down your editing time. Or use features like a plagiarism checker, which automatically highlights sections in your text that need citation.
  3. The auto save feature will automatically save your work as you type. Losing your unsaved work due to unavoidable circumstances (like your power going out) is a thing of the past! Auto-save is a lifesaver when it comes to ensuring your book progress is continuously updated.
  4. Prevent distractions so you can focus on writing. Some book writing tools have features to block you from unnecessary distractions. This ultimately helps you get done with your book in the shortest time possible, and helps you create a productive writing space.
  5. Create a productive writing process. Once you learn the ins and outs of your book writing software, you’ll feel comfortable making it part of your writing process. Chances are, you won’t want to write without it! 

Now that you know why it’s important to give book writing software a shot, let’s dive start with the free book writing software available. Then, we’ll move on to book writing software tools that offer paid versions. 

As we go through the list, it is important for you to consider certain factors when choosing which writing tool is best for you. 

There isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to writing. What works for one author, might not work for another author.

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How to decide which book writing software is best for you:

  1. Cost of the software. Think of your budget. Can you afford to invest in writing software, or do you need to rely on the free versions for now? 
  2. Accessibility. Think of where you write. Do you need to be able to access your book manuscript from multiple devices (like a phone or tablet), or do you only write on one specific machine? 
  3. Features. What features are important to you? Do you need spell checker, plagiarism checker, and productivity-improving features? 
  4. User-friendliness. Are you tech-savvy, tech-challenged, or somewhere in the middle? There are some book writing software programs that require a steep learning curve for more advanced writers, and others that are great for beginners.
  5. The simplicity of the writing software. Do you need all the nuts and bolts, or do you work better with less? 
  6. Size of the book writing software. Will the program take up a lot of space on your hard drive? 
Writing SoftwarePerfect for...CostAccessibilityProsCons
Zoho WriterThose in need of a versatile cloud word processorFreeOnline and offline-Great for on-the-go writing
-Can be used across all devices
-Not specific to book writing
-No distraction assistance
LibreOfficeThose in need of a free alternative to Microsoft WordFreeOffline-Versatile suite options
-All the features of Word
-Autocorrect & grammar tools
-Not specific to book writing
-No distraction assistance
-Not cloud accessible
Google DocsThose in need of a free, flexible optionFree with a Gmail accountOnline only-Autosave
-Easy collaboration
-Smooth editing
-No distraction assistance
-No formatting functions
-Online only
yWriterThose in need of a free software designed especially for book writersFreeOffline-Novel organization tools
-Designed specifically for authors
-Storyboard view
-Limited importing availability
-Upgrading to new versions can be clunky
EvernoteThose in need of a digital notebook set up for various topics and researchLimited free with pay-to-upgrade optionOnline-Organized notes
-Versatile
-A research hub
-Notebook set up can be limiting for book formatting
NovelizeThose in need of a robust writing software specifically for novelists and fiction writersStarts at $5/monthOnline-Designed for fiction
-Minimal, distraction-free design
-Outline options
-Word count tracker
-Costs money
-Online only
UlyssesMac usersStarts at $4.99/monthOnline-Available on multiple devices
-Minimalist interface
-Customizable editor
-Desktop publishing features
-Costs money
-Only available on Apple products
-Set-up is not always user-friendly for books
Hemingway EditorThose that need software to improve and edit writing in real-timeStarts at $19.99/monthOnline and offline-Easy to use
-Promotes strong writing
-Distraction-free feature
-Suggestion explanations are minimal
-Limited features
-Visual attention might cause distractions
ScrivenerThe career author that plans to write numerous booksStarts at $49.99 (one-time fee)Offline-Progress tracking
-Outlining capabilities
-Plotting features
-Costs money
-Learning curve
FastPencilThose in need of an all-in-one book writing software (from writing to publishing)Limited free option with paid featuresOnline onlyEnd to end book writing softwareNo offline editor, may charge royalties if you publish through them
Microsoft WordThose in need of a simple, reliable classic without all of the bells & whistlesStarts at $129.99Offline, Device-specific-Spelling/grammar check
-Ease of use
-Outline view
-Limited accessibility
-No auto-save
-No distraction assistance
GrammarlyThose only in need of a robust writing checkerFree with paid optionOnlineUses Artificial Intelligence to check writing for errors and improvementNot specific to book writing
FreedomThose that need a tool to block distractionsStarts at $6.99/monthOffline, Device-specific-Eliminates distractions on all devices
-Increases productivity
-Auto-set features
-Not writing specific
-Doesn't allow for research while writing
ProWritingAidThose in need of a powerful tool to improve writing Free with paid optionOnlineCan be used with many book software programs to suggest improvements and fix errors-Not specific to book writing
-Extra features cost
FocusWriterThose in need of a ord processor with distraction-free featuresFreeOffline, device-specific-Blocks distractions-Not specific to book writing

Free Book Writing Software For Beginners

Before we dive in to the best paid book writing software, let’s take a look at some of the free options available to beginner writers.

We always recommend taking advantage of some of the free tools out there, so that you can get a feel for what you want to invest in. There are plenty of free book writing software for beginners to choose from, so try a few (or all!).

These free book writing tools have the basic essentials to provide you with the features you need, so that you can have more time for writing.

#1 – Zoho Writer

Writer by Zoho, also known as Zoho Writer, is an online word processor that comes with special features to help you write from anywhere and at any time you want to. It is a cloud software, which means you can access it on all of your devices, no matter where you are. 

Even better, Zoho has different templates for you to choose from, depending on what it is you need to write.

Benefits to using Zoho Writer as a free book writing software for beginners:

#1 – It’s readily available. You do not need to sign up or log in to be able to use it. And to add, Zoho Writer is user-friendly and if you are a team of writers, you can work together and share the documents with each other using the share button at the top right corner.

zoho writing software for books

#2 – You can write offline, without internet access. To add, despite this software being on online writing tool, you can still write your way offline and have you’re work synced to your account.

#3 – You can use it across all devices. You can also use this book writing software across all the devices be it your phone, Tablet, or a PC. No need to worry about accessing your manuscript from the wrong device

This book writing software is free.

#2 – LibreOffice

Developed by the Document Foundation, LibreOffice is open source software that prides itself on being a free office suite. While it boasts other programs for spreadsheets and charts, Write is the name of its free word processor. 

Benefits to using LibreOffice Writer as a free book writing software for beginners:

#1 – It’s a robust one-stop-shop for writers. And it’s similar to Microsoft Word (which we’ll cover in our paid writing software section). 

libreoffice writing software

#2 – It’s an effective word processing tool with helpful features for authors. It wasn’t only created for writers, but can be used by anyone who needs a word processor. At its core, it can be used as a powerful book writing software for authors. The autocorrect and spell checker tools allows you to catch grammar and spelling mistakes in the fly. It also supports other languages no need to worry if you want to write your book in your native language.

#3 – It provides useful templates. LibreOffice includes readily available templates to choose from, that are properly formatted to meet your needs. All you need to do is add your text! Whether you want to write your resume, brochures, letters or your book, these templates can save you time and come in handy for clean, crisp formatting.

This book writing software is free.

#3 – Google Docs

Google Docs is by far the most common and widely used writing software, and this list of free book writing software tools wouldn’t be complete without mentioning it. 

Google Docs is a word processing tool that comes with your Google account. If you have a Gmail account then you already have access to Google Docs.

Benefits to using Google Docs as a free book writing software for beginners:

#1 – You can write and access it from anywhere. Like Zoho Writer, it’s a cloud platform, which means you can write anytime inspiration strikes. You can also use this book writing software when you’re offline and don’t have access to WiFi or internet. 

best book writing software

#2 – Your work is autosaved. Each time you key a letter, your Google Doc will save your progress. No need to worry about clicking the “save” button every time you add a new page in your book! You can also view revision history, in case you accidentally delete or change something that you want to restore.

#3 – It’s easy to collaborate with a team, another writer, or an editor. Additional features streamline the collaboration process, such as sharing your work with others. Be it your co-author, editor, you are a click away. You can also use the track changes feature for the editing process, so you can see exactly what your editor has changed. 

Note: A major downside to using Google Docs as your book writing software is that it does not support heavy formatting and outlining. Therefore, writing an entire book on this platform can be a bit challenging, but you can still use it for short stories, articles and note-keeping.

This book writing software is free.

#4 – yWriter

yWriter is another free writing software worth paying attention for book writing. If you are a novelist and need to be able to write a well-planned and structured novel,  then this software is for you. Developed by Simon Hynes, a programmer and author, this program was especially designed for other book writers. 

what is ywriter

Benefits to using yWriter as your free book writing software:

#1 – It helps you break down your book to chapters and scenes. It can be frustrating using a regular word processing tool to structure your novel. Since yWriter was designed for novel writers, it features an organization component to help you plan and structure your book.

#2 – Word count tool helps you know the number of words in each chapter. This is helpful when you need to keep track of how  many words are in each chapter, especially if you’re trying to meet a certain count. 

#4 – It’s a stand-alone application. This can be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on your needs. Since it’s an application, you need to download it to your device, and it can’t be accessed from a cloud, like Zoho Writer or Google Docs. However, if you only write in one area and on one device, this might not be a big deal. 

Note: Since yWriter is a free book writing software specifically designed for authors, it does not come with any templates. It might not be a good choice if you’re looking for an all-around word processing tool for completing tasks other than writing your book. 

This book writing software is free.

#5 – Evernote

Evernote has both a free, and paid version. You can use the free version as a word processor and note-taking software, or pay for the premium version if you want extra perks.

While Evernote isn’t designed specifically for books, the tool’s organization makes it a feasible option as a book writing software.

Benefits to using Evernote as your free book writing software:

#1 – Streamlines note-taking process. At it’s core, Evernote is a writing software that’s designed to make note-taking easy and efficient. This makes it a useful book writing software because the same note-taking organization principles can be integrated into the process of writing a book.

#2 – Versatility makes for easy customization. While Evernote isn’t designed for just authors and novelists, the versatility it brings to users with multiple uses for the program come in handy, especially for those writing a book. The ability to create notebooks, tags, and sort information, as well as robust AI-suggested content means that this book writing software is a power-house for personalization. With enough tweaks and adaptability, Evernote is a super versatile program that you can adjust to fit your needs best.

#3 – A hub for your book research and inspiration. Anyone who is in the process of writing a book knows how often a random surge of inspiration, or piece of research, hits us as we write. Evernote is perfect for housing all of our inspirational quotes or research, without derailing our book writing efforts altogether.

Related: Inspirational Writing Quotes

This book writing software is free.

Best Paid Book Writing Software

Now that we’ve covered the top free book writing software tools available, let’s move on to the paid book writing software. 

If you’re concerned about investing in a paid book writing software, then do as much research as you can on the product before you buy it. Also, consider the costs of your initial investment – will it pay for itself when you start earning book profits?

#6 – Novelize

Novelize was developed by writers, for other writers. The app is characterized by a clean, minimal interface with convenient built-in tools to make writing your novel easy in one dedicated platform.

Unlike other book writing software on the market that requires you to download a program to your computer, the Novelize app can be accessed on any device that has access to the Internet. If you want to try the app out first before committing, take advantage of the 17-day free trial, and continue with the service if you choose to pay.

This book writing software starts at $5 per month

Benefits to using Novelize as your book writing software:

#1 – Geared towards fiction writers. While writers can use this app for writing a nonfiction book, the overall set-up looks to be more conducive for fiction novel writing. The contents are broken down into chapters and scenes, and the “Notebook” view comes with helpful sections to break down characters, location, events, and settings.

#2 – Minimal, distraction-free design. The layout of the app is simplistic and minimal, with plenty of white space. The tabs and field text are in a soft gray, to limit distractions. The Novelize team understands that for most writers, simple is better!

#3 – Built-in tools to improve character development. One of the perks that sets this book writing software apart from others is that it has a built-in tool to develop characters. The tool includes a Name Generator, and a template for adding character stats, internal and external conflicts, relationships, and more.

#4 – Simple outline option. While each chapter is broken down into sections, there is also a simple book outline option in the “Summaries” tab. Here, you can add details about your novel’s overall summary, along with specific details to break down the beginning, middle, and end for quick reference.

#5 – Customizable word count goal and tracker. Trying to hit a specific writing goal? Novelize has you covered. Instead of having to track your word count goal externally through a spreadsheet or other means of recording, the app allows you to set your goals and tracks it for you accordingly. What a timesaver!

#7 – Ulysses

Ulysses is also another full-fledged book writing software specifically designed for Mac users. Whether you are a Sci-Fi writer or learning how to publish an eBook writer, Ulysses is an all in one software that allows you to focus on your main business – writing. 

This book writing software starts at $4.99 per month

ulysses writing software

Benefits to using Ulysses Writer as your book writing software:

#1 – Minimalist interface. Getting distracted while writing can hurt the flow of your creative juices pretty bad. Ulysses comes with a minimalistic interface to help you stay focused and productive.

#2 – The customizable editor comes with special perks. You can choose to switch to typewriter mode. You can attach additional information from images, pdf, keywords, notes, and anything in between.

#3 – You can publish directly to WordPress and Medium. Instead of having to copy and paste all of your text from your writing software into a website, you can simply publish directly to the site. This is especially helpful for authors that blog.

#4 – You can share your writing in any file format you want. No more complicated conversion processes to be done outside of the book writing software!

Note: Ulysses is only available on Apple products at the time of writing this.

Price: You have to pay for a subscription for you to enjoy its awesomeness.

#8 – Hemingway App

Have you heard of Hemingway App yet? If you have, then chances are you know either love it or hate it. As the name suggests, Hemingway is a word processing app that is simple and easy to use, but is very visual.

This book writing software starts at $19.99

hemingway app for authors

Related: Hemingway App Review

Benefits to using Hemingway App as your book writing software:

#1 – It comes with advanced editing and revising tools like the spell and grammar checker to help you come up with the finest writing piece. It uses different colors to highlight sentences/words that need restructuring.

#2 – There is a helpful sidebar display that shows things like the readability level of your writing, as well as your overall word count. 

#3 – It has a free editor. Even if you don’t want to pay for the subscription, you can still use the free editing tool! 

Note: We’ve all been advised to not edit as we write, especially when during the book writing process. Since Hemingway draws a lot of visual attention to errors, this could slow your writing down if you’re one to get distracted easily!

#9 – Scrivener

Almost every modern book writer out there (regardless of the genre) swears by this powerful book writing software.

It’s jam packed with features and tools to help you organize and write your book, but there is a learning curve to be aware of.

If you want to try Scrivener out, plan to take some tutorials before investing in this program to determine if it’s really right for you.

scrivener for book writers

And this is likely because Scrivener was specifically designed for writers.

This book writing software starts at $49.99

Benefits to using Scrivener as your book writing software:

#1 – Scrivener boasts a user-friendly drag and drops features available on its user interface. The outliner tool helps you work on your book while having an overview of what your chapter, a page or even the whole book would look like.

#2 – Includes research tools for easy reference. The snapshot tool allows you to take snapshots that you want to view and reference later, without losing your train of thought.

#3 – You can set writing targets. Setting targets can really boost  your productivity game as a book writer. Scrivener has a target setting tool to help you set your own targets and work towards achieving them.

#4 – Customizable organization with the binder tool. If you are the type of writer who likes working on an organized and well-planned piece, then Scrivener is your perfect match. The binder tool allows organizing your manuscript in files, sub-files, sub-sub- files and so on.

Note: While Scrivener is a super robust software for writing a book, you’ll most likely have to watch a few tutorials to learn how to master it. 

Price: The cost to purchase Scrivener varies depending on your device. 

#10 – FastPencil

This is also another writing software that can take your writing game a notch higher. With FastPencil, you can draft, edit, publish, and even sell your book through some of the best booksellers in the industry.

Benefits to using FastPencil as your book writing software:

#1 – It’s an all in one software. Just like we mentioned above, you can use this writing software to not only write your book, but it also can include editing, publishing, and marketing services – depending on your needs and budget.

#2 – It’s fairly easy to learn how to use. The software is pretty user-friendly, and there isn’t a high learning curve when you’re figuring out how it works. 

#3 – You can use it to write your book in an organized manner. Because it is designed specifically for book writers, there are tools to help you section off chapters.

#4 – A variety of special features are included, such as being able to preview how your book will look live. Another handy tool is the chat tool, which makes collaboration with other writers and/or editors easy. 

fastpencil for authors

Price: FastPencil is available for free if you only want to use it as a word processing tool, but you can pay for access to  more advanced features. 

This book writing software cost depends on service

#11 – Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is one of the most common, and widely used word processors out there, because it’s pretty much the oldest one.

But even today, it remains a top contender as the book writing software preference for many authors. 

This book writing software starts at $129.99, but might be included with your device

microsoft word blank page

Benefits to using Microsoft Word as your book writing software:

# 1 – It’s very user-friendly and many writers already have experience using it, whether they learned it in school or at work. While it’s an older program and has been updated numerous times, its function remains the same overall. 

#2 – The simple visual interface can create a distraction-free writing space. Other than the top toolbar, the rest of the window is reserved as your page, with ample room for your text. 

#3 – You can create and use templates. Because it’s so versatile, Word has many options for customizing the functions to meet your needs as you write your book. For example, you can use headers to create chapters or sections of your book. 

Price: If your device doesn’t already include access to Microsoft Word, you can buy it; the price will vary depending on your needs and which package you want. 

Bonus Writing Software Tools To Help You Write Your Book

We’ve covered eleven of the best free and paid writing softwares available for aspiring authors. But wait – there’s more! 

While the last two writing tools we mention aren’t exactly word processing software programs, they are tools many authors find helpful to use in their writing practice. 

#12 – Grammarly

Grammarly is not just a writing tool but also an AI-powered program to help you write a clean, crisp book that’s free from common errors, such as grammar and spelling.

There is a free version available, but the paid version offers more advanced features like the plagiarism checker tool.

You can even add Grammarly as a Chrome Extension, so it can edit and revise any writing you do – from emails, to social media posts, and more! 

#13 – Freedom

When you’re writing from a computer or laptop, it’s easy to get distracted with the internet just one tab away – distracting you from your work , and preventing your book from actually getting written. This is where Freedom comes in. 

Freedom helps you stay focused by blocking sites on the internet that might shift your attention.

free writing software

#14 – ProWritingAid

We cover all the nuts and bolts of this writing tool in our complete ProWritingAid review.

But for a quick summary, ProWritingAid is a tool that can be used with many book writing software programs, and is a robust tool that checks grammar, spelling, edits style, and offers a number of writing improvement insights based on AI-powered reports.

If you’re looking for a tool to pair with your book writing software of choice, and are dedicated to improving your writing quality and style, then ProWritingAid will offer more than any standard spellchecker can.

Get ProWritingAid here.

#15 – FocusWriter

A word processor that touts “distraction-free” features, this simple book writing software is designed to keep writer’s focus on their writing.

Although it’s not as high-tech as some of the other writing programs available, it’s not meant to be. FocusWriter uses a hide-away interface with a customizable environment and autosave. It’s not fancy, but it is useful! And really, the fancy programs are usually the ones that we get sidetracked with due to shiny object syndrome.

Download FocusWriter here.

So there you have it! The best writing software programs you can choose from to streamline your writing process, improve productivity, and get your book written faster. 

Researching the different writing softwares and tools can be overwhelming, but remember: it’s important to pick programs that work for you.

What works for one writer, may not work for you! If you start using one software, then discover that it’s not right for you – that’s okay. You don’t have to commit to one writing tool if it’s hindering your productivity. 

Once you find the perfect book writing software for YOU, the rest will all fall in line. 

What’s your favorite book writing software?

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Charity Jerop

Content Writer at Charity Jerop
Charity Jerop is a freelance digital content writer and coach. If she is not crafting a compelling piece you will find her running around after her kids in the house with a cup of coffee in one hand, of course.
Charity Jerop