Many first time writers or new authors are uncertain about how to go about writing a book and would like guidance regarding the same. If an app can make writing easier for an author why not use one. How does a new writer know that there is such an app available? How helpful are the various apps for authors? We decided it was time to introduce young and new authors to writing apps that make the work of writing a book easier for them.
As writers, we should embrace technology and its advantages. While it’s entirely possible to write your full novel in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, there are many apps for writing a book, specially designed to help writers. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about the number of writing apps available, this list is here to narrow it down. If you want to invest in a heavy-duty app for writing a book, there are some for you. If you don’t want to pay anything at all, there are some free apps and alternatives on this list. We’ve even included apps that work for Windows, Macs, and even your phone!
Writing a novel may feel like a big task, but with these apps, it can be broken down into manageable pieces. The app will help you plan, write, and format your novel so that it’s ready to be sent out to publishers or to be self-published!:
Paid: A one-time fee of ₹ 3890
Compatibility: Mac OS, iOS, Windows
Scrivener is considered the best app for writing your novel. It is the one-stop-shop that takes care of your every writing need. It’s designed specifically for novels and other long-form writing and allows you to organize by project. Some of the main features include:
- Breaking down the writing process, letting you edit your manuscript one section at a time, and then putting the whole text together for you.
- On the sidebar, you can annotate your work and include notes or summaries of your work.
- Outlining your novel using the “Corkboard” feature so you can rearrange your story by dragging and dropping chapters.
- A library of templates that you can use to format your finished draft. This design element helps you to take your manuscript to the next step, even creating text for the front and back cover of your novel.
- You can make it publisher-ready and export it as a PDF, EPUB, iBooks, Kindle and more.
The only downsides are that it’s paid and that it takes some time before you’re used to the platform. However, Scrivener is the app most used by authors, so it might be worth the investment!
Free Alternative: Reedsy Book Editor (online, no downloadable app)
2. iA Writer
Paid: One-time fee of ₹ 2,299
Compatibility: Mac OS, iOS, Windows, Android
iA Writer is a minimalist writing platform that is designed to keep you focused. Unlike Scrivener, iA Writer is mainly for writing rather than formatting and organizing your draft. The features are perfect for distracted writers:
- When it’s on “focused mode”, the app will only highlight the line or paragraph you are currently typing and fade out everything else on the document. This will keep you focused only on the section you’re writing and block out any distractions.
- Besides its distraction-free features, iA Writer also offers a tool called “Syntax Highlight” which will help you edit out repetitive phrases, unnecessary words, weak verbs etc. This tool will help improve your writing and show you any weaknesses in your sentences.
- While the app does not help much with planning a novel, it does allow you to arrange your chapters or sections and compile them into one final draft.
- iA Writer directly exports files to websites like WordPress, which is also useful for any bloggers out there.
Overall, iA Writer is dedicated to optimizing your writing process and will help you churn out words distraction-free.
Best For : Writing
Free Alternative: FocusWriter (only on Windows)
- Monthly fee of ₹419
- Yearly fee of ₹3,399
Compatibility: Mac OS, iOS
Ulysses is often a favourite among the writing apps for its beautiful interface. It’s almost a mix of Scrivener and iA writer – it’s designed to help you focus but has many hidden features that will take your writing process to the next level:
- It employs a minimalist interface while you’re typing to ensure you don’t get distracted.
- When editing, it allows you to format or annotate your document. You can attach comments, images, research etc., to your text that is easily visible.
- The app is very customizable and you can create your own shortcuts when accessing different features
- It also allows you to rearrange sections when organizing the flow of your novel.
- The best addition is the “filter” feature. You can tag your documents and filter by specific tags, keywords, or dates. For example, if you have multiple documents relating to one character, you can create a tag that allows you to easily find them.
- It also exports directly to WordPress.
Free Alternative: JotterPad (available on Android, Mac OS)
Paid app: One-time fee of ₹ 1499
Compatibility: Mac OS, Windows
Hemingway is great helps you improve your writing. If you’re looking to self-edit, Hemingway offers suggestions to improve sentence structure, word usage, passive voice and more. Overall, the platform will help your writing become concise and to the point, excellent for projects of any kind. The app uses different-coloured highlights to indicate issues with your sentences, and also gives a general review of your text and its readability.
While you can purchase Hemingway as an app, the website is free! Simply paste your text into the website and have your own personal editor.
Best For : Editing
Compatibility: Mac OS, iOS, Windows, Android
Evernote isn’t exactly a writing app, but it is perfect for jotting down ideas and notes all in one platform. You can use one account across devices, which means that all your ideas will be easily accessible in one place. No more scrambling around looking for your genius idea on scraps of paper. Its main tools include:
- Dozens of templates for all your personal and professional needs, including structuring a novel.
- Taking pictures of notes and saves them to their library, in case you do have a handwritten note.
- It lets you tag your notes in specific categories to easily find them.
- Its best feature is the Web Clipper, which allows you to save any web content that inspires you.
Evernote is perfect for writers who are constantly taking inspiration from the real world, allowing them to save their notes and ideas ready to use in their novel.
Best For: Taking Notes
Novelist is a great app for planning your novel on the go. It’s designed for your phone (Android only), and has specific tools for plot, outline, and characters. It’s also a great space to write your novel on your phone. Some of its interesting features are:
- A section dedicated to keeping track of characters, their plot points, and their traits.
- An outlining feature where you can drag and drop your chapters accordingly.
- The “Plot” function allows you to lay out all the elements of your plot, write notes, and add tags or images to each item. By seeing it all laid out, you can organize and edit your plotline easily.
- A progress tracker and due date to make sure you’ll be finished on time.
- Once you’re done, you can easily export it in an eBook format.
Best For : Planning
If you’re struggling with normal editing apps, AutoCrit is the one for you. Rather than helping with standard grammar or writing improvements, AutoCrit tailors its suggestions according to the genre of your novel. Its unique functions are:
- Offering suggestions specifically for novels, like cleaner dialogue, better pacing, and editing filler content.
- Comparing your draft with a book of a famous author. The app will then make customized editing suggestions based on the style of your favourite author.
Best For: Editing
Some Additional Help
Compatibility: Mac OS and iOS
If you don’t want any fancy outlining software, MindNode provides an easy way for you to get your thoughts organized. It allows you to create simple but effective mind maps that will help you plan your novel.
9. The Brainstormer
Paid: Rs. 70
For those writers who can’t seem to come with an idea, here’s a solution. The Brainstormer is a simple app, where you press a button and spin the wheel to get a random plot, subject, setting and style combination. It’s just a fun way to inspire yourself to write!
10. Reverse Dictionary
Sometimes there’s the perfect word that you’re looking for but can’t remember no matter what you do. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us! Reverse Dictionary is here to save the day.
With this website, you can:
- Find a word if you only know its definition
- Explore synonyms and related concepts
- Generate a list of words from a category
- Find the answer to basic questions (E.g. What’s the longest river in the world)
So, no more forgetting words! You’ll be able to write exactly the way you want.
It might take a few attempts to find the right apps for writing a book. Just because everyone loves one app or website, doesn’t mean that you will. Luckily, some of these apps are free so you can always try them out. If you want to see if a paid app is the right fit, almost all of them offer a free trial that’s worth checking out. You will find the right platform for you!
However, don’t forget that the most important part of writing is your talent and creativity, not the platform you’re using. You could probably write something amazing with just a simple Word document. But these apps are here to just help you in the writing process. They have been designed specifically to solve problems that writers often face. Maybe there’s an app in this list that solves a problem you thought was unfixable! You never know what can make your writing process easier.