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Best Book Writing Software

by | May 21, 2024

Content Manager

Ara Koetts

Ara Koetts, a leading voice at Voxtury.com, specializes in AI content creation, blending technology with creativity. Her insights into AI's impact on storytelling and ethical considerations make her a pivotal figure for anyone exploring digital innovation. Ara's work is a guiding light in the dynamic world of content creation, inspiring confidence and curiosity in her readers.

Here at Voxtury, we’re committed to providing free online tools that aid with writing. We’re not strangers to developing our own software, but today, we wanted to share some of the best novel writing software on the market.

But what does it mean to be the best? What works for one person isn’t the same for everyone else. We know the price is a given. But other features such as grammar checking, book formatting, research and character development all play a part in writing books.

To keep it simple we’ve considered how each software could be the best for someone and matched who we think it suits best. There isn’t a single best writing software, but each of them has merit.

1. Best All-in-One Software: Scrivener

Scrivener 3 is the latest version, but Scrivener 1 was first released in 2007 on MacOS and expanded to Windows in 2011. It has remained stable across both platforms, making it great for both Windows and Mac users alike. 

There was a brief attempt to support Linux, but that seems to have fallen flat. However, a remnant group of Linux users are active in their forums and discuss ways to make it compatible if you’re considering it as a Linux user.

What struck us about Scrivener is its simplicity. It has extensive functionality, which is often coupled with layers of menus, but it feels easy to navigate. We particularly loved the virtual ring binder and synopsis features as great ways to keep track of your story, but research and character sheets are a lifesaver.

There is a free trial for those who are interested in giving it a shot beforehand, but the $60 price point is very affordable. If you’re serious about writing novels, then we think Scrivener could be a great place to start.

2. Best Newcomer: Atticus

Atticus is the new kid on the block, and it boasts many features which make it a worthy consideration. While it’s more expensive than our all-in-one pick, it’s a one-off payment working across all devices and operating systems, plus it comes with free updates!

It includes all the features you expect, such as: word processing, grammar checking, theme editing, book formatting, goal setting, and publishing. However, what feels truly unique about Atticus is its modernness and the underlying technology. While it doesn’t have the legacy of other software, there’s a sense that the ceiling is high.

3. Best for Beginners: Google Docs

Google Docs wouldn’t be the first tool which comes to mind for many budding writers, but it can download into the widely accepted .epub format without adding any plug-ins. 

It’s intuitive; it works identically to Microsoft Word. There’s support across all modern browsers, cloud storage, and an offline application available on mobile devices. All these features are great for getting started with your first novel.

However, one lesser-known feature is the ability to add variables. When writing in Character names, why not add a variable? If you later decide to change that character’s name, then you update the variable and the whole document is updated! This is great for when you have multiple characters who might share names and replace all wouldn’t work effectively.

What’s even better is that it’s completely free. You’re able to get started in Chrome by simply typing doc.new in the navigation bar, or visiting docs.google.com and creating a new document manually.

4. Best for Character Development: Bibisco

Bibisco was born from the idea that character-driven stories are more compelling than plot-driven stories. There’s definitely truth to that approach; each day, billions of people carry out the same actions, but how they do it grabs our attention.

If you’ve only ever used a word editor before, then it takes a little time to get used to Bibisco’s chapter and scene structure. Before you write anything, you must create a chapter. Within each chapter, there are multiple scenes which represent a single narrative unit that takes place in a specific location, at a specific time, and told from a specific point of view. It’s not the most intuitive way to write, but it forces writers to think carefully about story progression from the perspective of each character.

Bibisco helps you to create believable characters through its various tools. There’s a character builder where you answer interview-style questions, an object editor to provide backstory and key events in the novel’s timeline, and a relationship editor to clearly map out the relationship between key characters.

It’s truly an awesome tool available across Windows, MacOS and Linux. There’s a free community edition with a 30-day trial of the $47 paid supporter’s edition. It’s definitely worth trying before buying, as its unique approach to storytelling might not be intuitive.

5. Best for Community: Novlr

Novlr is an exciting community-led software built for writers and owned by writers. There is an unprecedented level of transparency on their long-term roadmap and business goals. They’re ambitious and it’s clear they want to offer something no other novel writing software has done before. 

Once you’ve authored content, where do you promote it? Novlr has a no-code solution for creating author websites. We were blown away by how simple it was to get launched, but that’s partly because of the limited design options. While it’s more than enough for most authors, you’ll not be able to achieve an interactive experience like J.K Rowling’s stories website.

The pricing for Novlr is very flexible. There’s a free version with some limits and then a plus and pro subscription with different features with the flexibility to pay monthly or annually. What’s unique is the ability to also become a co-owner for $99, or you can purchase the lifetime package for $399 to become a co-owner and access Novlr Pro for life.

With hundreds of people already writing and cooperating, it’s difficult to imagine any software being more community-focused.

6. Best for Mac OS: Vellum

Vellum has been around for a long time and is designed to work exclusively with Mac OS. If you’re working with Mac, it’s going to be the most stable publishing software.

Vellum comes with glowing reviews and it was used for award-winning books such as Carrie Miller’s The White Raven, and Lizzi Tremayne’s A Long Trail Rolling. Both authors and a host of many more have left glowing reviews.

When it comes to pricing, Vellum has a truly compelling offering: it’s free to use and only requires payment when it comes time to publish. You can dive right in and explore the features for yourself without any upfront cost.

7. Best for Linux: A Tied Result

We’ll be honest: if you’re using a Linux computer, then you’re making life hard for yourself as a novelist. There’s a limited selection of writing tools, and because it’s a niche operating system, there aren’t any dedicated solutions.

Rather than picking a single best, here are several great options to consider instead:

  • Atticus – an online editor with ambitious development plans
  • Bibisco – stable on Linux but unintuitive to some authors
  • Typora – a minimalist editor with theme options

If you’re a hobbyist writer, and if you’re running Linux, then you’re probably a serial hobbyist, these are some great choices for you to consider.  

Conclusion

With so many distinct options in the market, it’s clear there’s no such thing as a singular best novel writing software. There are a lot of free trials, so it’s worth getting your hands on a few and trying them out for yourself.

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