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Book Writing Software: 11 Paid & Free Writing Software Tools for Authors

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Charity Jerop


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Book Writing Software: 11 Paid & Free Writing Software Tools for Authors

Are you looking for the best book writing software, to make your writing process more organized, efficient, and focused? 

With so many different writing tools available on the market, it’s no wonder many authors don’t know where to start. 

Want to jumpstart your book writing process?

Join Chandler Bolt from self-publishingschool.com at his FREE Webinar Training as he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row.

Click here to save your spot!

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!

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. 

best book writing software

Here are the 11 best paid and free writing software programs on the market: 

  1. Zoho Writer [free]
  2. LibreOffice [free]
  3. Google Docs [free]
  4. yWriter [free]
  5. Ulysses
  6. Hemmingway app
  7. Scrivener
  8. FastPencil
  9. Microsoft Word
  10.  Grammarly
  11. FocusWriter

Do you really need software for writing 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 whatever 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

Reasons to use 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? 

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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The auto save feature available on some of writing tools 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.

Consider these factors when you’re searching for the best book writing software to use:

  • 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? 
  • 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? 
  • Features. What features are important to you? Do you need spell checker, plagiarism checker, and productivity-improving features? 
  • User-friendliness. Are you tech-savvy, tech-challenged, or somewhere in the middle?
  • The simplicity of the writing software. Do you need all the nuts and bolts, or do you work better with less? 
  • Size of the book writing software. Will the program take up a lot of space on your hard drive? 

Best Free Book Writing Software

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

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 your free book writing software:

#1 – It’s free and 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

#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 your free book writing software:

#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.

#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 your free book writing software:

#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.

#4- yWriter

yWriter is another free writing software worth paying attention to. 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 has special tools to help 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. 

Want to jumpstart your book writing process?

Join Chandler Bolt from self-publishingschool.com at his FREE Webinar Training as he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row.

Click here to save your spot!

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 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?

book writing software

#5- 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. 

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.

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.

#6- 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.

hemingway app for authors

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!

Price: Hemmingway is available in both free and paid subscription. A paid subscription starts at $19.99 at the time of writing this post.

#7- Scrivener

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

scrivener for book writers

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

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. 

#8 – 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. 

#9- 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. 

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 Tools

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. 

#10 – 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! 

#11- 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

So there you have it! Eleven of 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. 

Which software helps you focus and be more productive in your writing routine? 

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