What do you use to write?
Some authors swear by the good old typewriter. Both George R.R. Martin and Tom Wolfe don’t use any modern technology to write.Who’s to judge?
A typewriter does not distract you from writing with pop-ups and updates. It does not ask to be fed electricity to let you work.
And it (almost) never breaks. Which saves you from disruptions in your creative process, unnecessary expenses, and trouble that anyone using a computer may have to endure. But it’s not easier. And it’s not faster.
If you want to become a best-selling author, consistency and efficiency are key to your success. You can’t waste time.
The bottom line is, even with its evident flaws, technology will make you a more efficient writer. You just need to pick the right one that works for you and your writing workflow.
From basic word processors to dictation software, and more – we take a quick look at the what’s out there.
The Best Paid Book Writing App - Scrivener
We’re starting with the writing program that’s been promoted by NY Times best-selling authors,Hollywood’s top screenwriters, and many up-and-comers – Scrivener. For more than 15 yearsScrivener has been writers’ favourite software for writing fiction, non-fiction, screenplays, even poetry. At this point, Scrivener is virtually a verb. So, what has made Scrivener such a sought-after piece of technology?
The app’s biggest advantage is the way it handles long-form content like books and screenplays. Let’s say you need to find a small piece of information in your 300-page book. With a text editor, your best bet was to use the 'Find' function. Not ideal.
At Scrivener jumping between ideas and chapters is quick and easy. Plus, there are tons of ready-to-use templates already.
- Makes writers be more efficient
- Regular updates and feature additions
- Templates you can customise to optimise your writing
- Available on most platforms
- No Android or Linux support
- Might be overwhelming to get started
The Best Free Book Writing Software for Beginners
If you’re looking for free writing software, there are tons of browser-based options.
With different add-ons, Google Docs can be a good tool to store and format your book. The content is automatically saved (no need to worry about hitting ‘Save’ after every line). If you want to share you work, people can view it live and even add comments!
And you can also use Grammarly, the Hemingway app to improve your writing.
It does an amazing job to provide a distraction-free writing environment. And, when you think about it, it’s all you need.
But if you want something more geared around writing for free, check, the FocusWriter.
Arguably, the software’s best feature is FocusedText, which grays out everything out, except the space you’re writing on. It also offers a calendar, goals, built-in and customisable themes, and more.
- Available on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
- Goals with a built-in calendar
- Writing timer
- No templates
- No book formatting
- No mobile support
Best Book Writing Apps for Mac – Vellum & iA Writer
While it’s quite expensive, you can get a lot out ofVellum. In fact, it’s fair to call Vellum a book-publishing powerhouse.
If you do the writing, Vellum will do everything else from formatting to converting your work ready for publishing on Amazon KDP,iBooks, or Kobo.
If you need writing software just for ebooks, you can get Vellum eBooks for $199. Vellum Press ($249) will produce both unlimited ebooks and paperback books.
As to which one is better - Scrivener or Vellum?They both are good for different reasons. If you have the money to invest and plan to publish a lot of books, in the end, Vellum will pay for itself.
- One-button style adjustment (8 distinct styles)
- Auto-generate pages (table of contents, copyright page, etc.)
- Easy navigation
- Preview feature
- Instant conversion to Kindle, Apple Books, Kobo, and more
- Only on Mac
- High cost
But another piece of software, the FocusWriter is much better for the process of writing. iA Writer can sync documents using iCloud or Dropbox from within the editor for use across multiple devices. It also comes with noise-free writing experience, so you can focus on your work.
Dictating your book
In the beginning, we said that we’ll pick one piece of software for each category. This one’s a unique case. Finding speech-to-text software won’t be problem as there’s a lot of options there. What you ultimately need to consider is the that your writing process can be quite different.
You can easily dictate on your iPhone or Android device but if you’re looking for a more specialised software, take a look at Screen Notes. It has basic editing functionality, other already well-integrated with the writing software (Scrivener, MS Word).
There are three reasons why you might consider dictating– health reasons, speed and increased creativity. But you need to get used to the process and get get used to transcribing and editing. It’s a skill you have to practice. So dedicate time for deliberate practice. Then most dictation apps will be good for you.
There seems to be a piece of software for everything now.
We don’t suggest burning all your paper notes. Although, if you have ever found yourself lost in a pile of notes and writings, you’ll understand how today’s writing apps elevate your writing process.
Technology takes time to learn. It’s often frustrating to a point you’re sure you’re better off without it. But in most. cases, if you stick with it, you’ll become a better writer.