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Posted on Nov 30, 2020

Book Writing Software: 11 Programs to Bring Your Book to Life

When it comes to book writing software, there’s no shortage of choice. But not all software options are created equally. Just because it’s possible to write a book with them, that doesn’t mean they will have the features every writer needs for their project. In this post, the team at Reedsy will dig into 11 of the most popular book writing apps available today.

As a publishing network that has helped authors publish over 10,000 books, Reedsy is in a unique position to compare how each piece of book writing software meets the needs of authors in today's publishing environment.

Software Price Real-Time Collaborating Book Formatting
Reedsy Book Editor Free Coming Soon Automatic; includes templates; export to ebook or print PDF
Google Docs Free Yes Manual; downloadable templates
LibreOffice Free No Manual; downloadable templates
Pages Free No Manual; includes templates
yWriter Free No No
Draft Free No No
Frost Free No No
WriteRoom $9.99 No No
Microsoft Word $69.99/year No Manual; includes templates
ProWritingAid $79.00/year No N/A
Grammarly $139.95/year No N/A

If you want to cut straight to the chase and find out which is the right writing app for you, we recommend taking this quick 30-second quiz.


Which writing app is right for you?

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We think that user experience is particularly important here — and since no writer is an island, at some point you're going to need to collaborate with an editor, making that an important consideration as you take your book from first draft to final product.

1. Reedsy Book Editor

Book Writing Software | Reedsy Book Editor

Designed to meet the key needs of authors, our very own Reedsy Book Editor is your one-stop piece of book writing software. With a seamless interface to take you from first draft to fully formatted ebooks, you can write, edit, and publish beautiful books — all in one place. It’s smooth sailing from here. ⛵

💲 Price: Free

💡 Notable Features: Distraction-free interface, cloud saving, export as ebook or PDF, version history, free formatting templates

🤝 Real-time collaborating: Coming soon

2. Google Docs

Book Writing Software | Google Docs

Available to everyone with a Google account (so really, everyone 😅), Google Docs is a web-based office suite that can handle everything from spreadsheets to invoices to, yes: books. While it’s not tailored specifically to your needs as an author, it is fully functional for writing a first draft, editing your document, and formatting it by hand, though that last one gets frustratingly technical.

💲 Price: Free

💡 Notable Features: Cloud saving, easy to share files with anyone, many formatting options (must be done manually)

🤝 Real-time collaborating: Yes

3. LibreOffice

Book Writing Software | LibreOffice

If you want Google Doc's range of features but need to work offline (or stay off Big G's radar) there's always LibreOffice. This free and open-source office suite will handle everything that the big dogs like Google Docs and Microsoft Office can, and will run on just about any computer out there. It’s a great option if you want the in-depth functionality of a major office suite, without supporting a mega tech corporation.

💲 Price: Free

💡 Notable Features: Cross-platform, many formatting options (must be done manually)

🤝 Real-time collaborating: No

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4. Pages

Book Writing Software | Pages

Mac users everywhere will recognize this one: it comes pre-installed on virtually all Apple devices. Like Google Docs and LibreOffice, Pages is designed for much more than just writing a book — so while all the functionality you need is certainly there, there’s a lot of extra buttons and options that you’ll just never use. Still, it’s clean and fairly easy to use, despite all the extra bells and whistles.

💲 Price: Free

💡 Notable Features: Handwriting-to-text (mobile), formatting templates

🤝 Real-time collaborating: No

5. yWriter

Book Writing Software | yWriter

On the other end of the spectrum, we have yWriter. Unlike a full office suite, yWriter is designed to do one thing, and one thing only: write books. Specifically, yWriter is helpful as novel writing software, since it divides your work into scenes, though this feature is a little less useful for certain types of nonfiction. If you are writing novels, however, yWriter makes it easy to organize your work and track your progress — a vital component of drafting any novel.

💲 Price: Free

💡 Notable Features: Scene-based organization, storyboard view, progress tracking

🤝 Real-time collaborating: No

6. Draft

Book Writing Software | Draft

If all you want is to open a document and write, well, Draft has certainly got you covered. You can’t get much simpler than a blank screen and a cursor, and that’s about all you see when you use Draft. There are several more advanced features, including collaborative edits and comments as well as a “Hemingway mode” that prevents you from going back and editing your work. But the biggest benefit of this web-based app is to quickly get your thoughts down — and worrying about everything else later.

💲 Price: Free

💡 Notable Features: Markdown formatting, version control, Hemingway mode (no editing)

🤝 Real-time collaborating: No

7. Frost

Book Writing Software | Frost

Sometimes, the hardest part of writing a book is getting into the write mindset. 😉 Luckily, on those low-motivation days, there’s Frost. Frost runs, for free, in your web browser and immediately immerses you in one of several atmospheric settings, such as: on a tropical beach, in a cozy library, or in the vast reaches of space. Background music or ambient sounds help round out the experience — however, you’ll need to look elsewhere when it comes time to actually format your book.

💲 Price: Free

💡 Notable features: Ambient music, sounds, and backgrounds

🤝 Real-time collaborating: No

8. WriteRoom

Book Writing Software | WriteRoom

One of the earliest distraction-free writing apps out there, WriteRoom fills up your whole screen so there’s nothing but you and your book. It’s a clean and straightforward app, with no extra features to complicate things. However, Windows users are out of luck, as it only runs on Macs.

💲 Price: $9.99

💡 Notable Features: Distraction-free interface with customizable backgrounds, estimated reading time

🤝 Real-time collaborating: No

9. Microsoft Word

Book Writing Software | Microsoft Word

Ah, Microsoft Word: the go-to piece of book writing software since what seems like the dawn of time. With its reputation for helping and frustrating writers in equal measure, MS Word can do everything you could ever want it to in order to make a book. However, figuring out how to do it is another matter (and even then, it’s not always easy). At least there’s no more Clippy popping up to try to “fix” your problems for you…

💲 Price: $69.99/year

💡 Notable Features: Built-in dictation, many formatting options (must be done manually)

🤝 Real-time collaborating: No

10. ProWritingAid

Book Writing Software | ProWritingAid

Moving into software that aims to improve your writing and not just provide you with a space to be creative, we have ProWritingAid. Compatible with many different word processors and apps, ProWritingAid contains grammar checking and style checking, as well as detailed reports aimed at making you a better writer.

💲 Price: $79.00/year

💡 Notable Features: In-depth grammar checking, editing reports, integration with many different word processors and web browsers

🤝 Real-time collaborating: No

11. Grammarly

Book Writing Software | Grammarly

We’re big fans of editing here at Reedsy, and an important part of that is doing a self-editing pass of your work. That way, when you go on to hire a professional editor, you won’t waste their time — and your money — fixing easy mistakes you could have spotted yourself. Services like Grammarly make that easy, by highlighting common errors and offering practical fixes.

💲 Price: $139.95/year

💡 Notable Features: Comprehensive grammar checking, plagiarism detection, integration with many different word processors and web browsers

🤝 Real-time collaborating: No

At the end of the day, no piece of software is going to be fully able to write or edit your book for you — but with these book writing software options in mind, you’ll at least be able to find something that makes the process easier, streamlined, and more enjoyable. Now get out there and start typing!