Free Book Writing Software To Write Your New Book

Free Book Writing Software To Write Your New Book

If you want to write a book, you are going to need very good book writing software.

There are many choices now for book writing programs that are specifically designed for the long task ahead of you.

Writing software for novelists includes tools and features that will help you organize and manage the individual elements of your manuscript.

For new authors, you can choose from many free novel writing software programs to get you started on your book.

A good book writing app will help you manage your writing project.

Dedicated book writing programs will assist you a lot with your research notes, file management, event tracking, character development, and, of course, your writing.

Take a look at the many choices you have for your new book project.

How To Choose The Best Book Writing Software

You need the right tools to write a book

Many new writers and authors start out by using a word processor such as Microsoft Word, iA Writer, or Google Docs.

But word processors are not designed to help you with a long creative writing project.

If you plan to write fiction or nonfiction, you will need dedicated novel writing software.

Word processing, spreadsheets, email managers, and a desktop publisher are for business and administration.

They are not the best tools at all for creative thinkers and the book writing process.

So don’t use tools that are designed to write a letter, a business proposal, or a report.

Forget all about using Microsoft Office and Word or any other word processing software.

You want to write a book or a novel and there is plenty of free book writing software for beginners available now.

You can choose between software programs you can install on your computer or online apps you use in a browser.


Choose the best book writing software

“I want to write a book.”

Okay, then let’s get you started with the best book writing apps for the job.

When you decide to write a book, you want a writing program designed for the task.

Look in an app store for a writing program that is distraction-free (yes, no social media!).

You want to be able to stay focused and concentrate all your energy on writing your book.

There are a lot of writing software packages available for authors.

But, some like Ulysses, Vellum, and even Word can all cost you a lot of money.

Are you a book writer and just starting out on your project of writing your book?

Then there are many free writing software alternatives and editing software that you can try.

There is always a short learning curve when you start using new software programs.

It’s better to spend your time and not your money when you are learning how to use a new writing program.

But the applications in this article are easy to learn how to use and to set up for writing your new book.


What you need in book writing software and apps

It takes a long time to write a book.

That’s why a non-fiction or fiction writer needs software specifically designed for the task.

The main feature of a good book writing program is that you can write chapter by chapter. Some offer scene by scene and also tracking your story development.

Writing a novel is a step-by-step process. A good writing program will allow you to write in these stages.

You also want to be able to keep notes about your characters, events, and if possible mind maps and record a timeline.

An auto-save function is also advisable. It will keep your manuscript stored and saved securely.

Also, check if you can save your work on a cloud drive. Google Drive, Dropbox, or iCloud are good options for extra back up security.

Another feature that is important to many writers is to have a distraction-free mode.

Or at least one that reduces the clutter on your screen while you write in a text editor. Sometimes, a plain text editor is all you need.


It takes a long time to write a book

Books are long-form writing. Working on one huge, long lump of text in one document is cumbersome. It is also prone to file and save errors.

It really is an unsafe way to write a book. The chances of something going wrong technically are very high. This is especially true with Word.

A book writing program is usually a desktop app and is rarely suitable or available as a mobile Android, iPhone, or iPad iOS app. But some do give you a mobile app option.

When you try the book writing software and online apps below and start writing, you will immediately notice the difference.

You will understand why writing a book needs a totally different approach.

Let’s get you started on the right foot but with software at the right price tag. Free.

Here is a selection of the seven best totally free web-based and open source book writing programs, apps, and tools.

There are also details later in the article about four free trial writing software programs, especially suited to more experienced authors.


7 Free book writing programs


1. yWriter (Free)


I have to start with yWriter because it was developed by a writer, Simon Haynes.

He explains the reason for going to all the trouble to create this software, and it should resonate with many writers.

“I really struggled with my first novel. I wrote slabs of text into a big word processor file and I just couldn’t make sense of the whole thing at once. No real overview, no easy jumping from scene to scene, nothing.”

It is a great explanation of why word processors are not designed for writing fiction.

The key feature of yWriter is that it breaks book writing into chapters and scenes. When writing a book, this is a must-have feature.

It also comes with the ability to build characters and locations.

ywriter desktop book writing software


2. Manuskript (Free)


Manuskript is a feature-rich book writing tool.

It has an outliner, word count, and distraction-free mode. It also a novel assistant to help you. With it, you can develop characters using the snowflake method.

You can also keep track of notes about all your characters, the plot, events, and places in your story.

These tools will certainly help improve your writing.

It is well worth a try for a new author.

Manuskript book writing app


3. Sigil (Free)

Sigil free book writing software

Sigil is open-source, free software that is well regarded for producing e-books in epub format.

In this respect, it is similar to, if not even better than Calibre.

It has multiple views including book view, code view, and preview as well as a WYSIWYG editor.

It also has a Table of Contents generator with multi-level heading support.

There is a metadata editor as well as spell check with default and user dictionaries.

It also supports the import of EPUB and HTML files, images, and style sheets.

sigil desktop chapter writing


4. Wordcradle (Free)


Wordcradle is a free online novel writing app that really has a lot going for it.

You can set up projects with word count goals and how much time you want to allocate to your writing aims.

These are great tools to have if you want to practice writing on a schedule.

The character cards allow you to construct a profile for each one during your rough draft. They are set in an attractive table layout.

Index cards are a must when writing a novel.

Wordcradle is equipped to handle all your ideas and to track changes you might make to your storyline.

wordcradle character cards


5. Bibisco (Free)


Bibisco is open-source software. It is specifically designed for writing a novel.

It has all the elements you will need. These include character development and tracking.

There are chapter and scene organization as well as note-taking.

Everything you need to write a novel in one free software package. Bibisco is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.


6. Focus Writer (Free)

focus writer

FocusWriter has one key attribute. It is about total distraction-free writing.

It has many options you need to set things up for your writing your book.

But it has a hide-away user interface that lets you concentrate on the one big thing you want to do. Stay focused and write.

Forget about menus, toolbars, drag and drop or copy and paste with this app.

There is all focus mode with nothing between you and your words.

It is very user-friendly, free, and available for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.



7. Shaxpir (Free and Premium)


For a dedicated book or novel writing app, Shaxpir really packs a lot into its free version.

With the Manuscript Builder, you can use drag-and-drop tools to rearrange any part of your manuscript.

You can move and change the order of scenes or chapters, so you can work on structures that work for you.

shaxpir book writing layout


It’s easy to set up writing goals and track your progress. You can also make specific notes about your characters, places, and events.

There is also the facility to add your margin comments as well as collect any concept art.

It also comes with its own in-built spellchecker.

For free software designed for writing books, Shaxpir offers you a huge range of features.

It is available for PC and Mac users with an option for cloud access.



4 Free trial book writing software programs


1. Scrivener (Free Trial)


I have to include Scrivener on my list.

Scrivener is well-known as the best book writing software program for screenwriters and authors.

It comes with a corkboard, an outliner, side by side viewing, word count targets, and a full-screen editor.

There are also print, export, and publishing tools. It has everything a writer could possibly need.

scivener corkboard


Scrivener is a top quality premium book writing program. It has everything you will need from first to final draft.

However, there is a 30-day free trial period offered by Scrivener.

But it is counted by days that you use the software. If you use it every second or third day, your trial period will last for 60 days or more.

Scrivener is available to download for both PC and Mac.

Take a look at Scrivener in action.

2. Living Writer (Free Trial)

livingwriter logo

When you write a book, you don’t want distractions.

But there are tools you need to use all the time.

Living Writer accomplishes both of these necessities in style.

With this online writing app, all the story elements you need to use are in the left pane of the edit screen.

While it looks simple, there is a lot going on under the hood.

main screen

The one feature I love is the character name auto-complete. It saves a lot of time and helps with accuracy.

Living Writer also integrates with Grammarly, which is a bonus.

One other terrific aspect is that it auto-saves your work, so you don’t have to worry about losing a single word of your work.

When I tested the program, I uploaded a work in progress manuscript and was up and running immediately.

For a new story, there are templates that you can use to give you a guide to your story outline.

template choice

It’s a great app for writers because you don’t need to install any software as it is a cloud-based application.

If you are looking for simplicity, but with all the tools you need to write a book, this app might be for you.

You can read our full review of Living Writer.

Or, take a look at what it can do.


3. The Novel Factory (Free trial)

novel factory

The big feature of The Novel Factory is the Roadmap.

It puts together tested techniques from leading novelists.

It breaks down writing a novel into small tasks so beginners can learn the craft of writing.

novel factory menu

The Locations tab allows you to take down details for your locations.

It includes multiple images to help your inspiration. It helps you to consider all of the senses in your descriptions, in order to build an immersive story world.

In the Characters tab, you can see your characters in an overview. Or you can open each one to see all the details.

These include the introduction, basic information, your questionnaire, viewpoint synopsis, as well as your history and notes.

Once you’ve written your long synopsis, you have the option to automatically generate scenes directly from it.

Adjust where each scene breaks and all your scenes will be created automatically. Then you can get on with writing your first draft.

Unlike some other book writing tools, the Novel Factory doesn’t need hours of learning. It’s intuitive from the very first time you open it.

The Novel Factory is available in an online version that works with all operating systems.  There is also a desktop version for PC only.


4. Ulysses (Free trial)


Ulysses is a Mac and Apple only application.

It works with a unified library that holds everything you’ll ever write a book.

The features are designed to manage writing projects of any size or ambition. You can write notes, blog posts, or a whole novel.

It has all the tools you need for writing, with the main focus on getting the words down.

Ulysses can export to perfect PDFs, Word files as well as ebooks. All totally formatted and styled. You can also export to HTML for use anywhere on the web.

You can even publish to WordPress and Medium from within the app.

Everything is just a click away, with on-the-fly switching of styles and a live preview built right in.

Ulysses operates and syncs on Mac, iPhone, and iPad. It is the ideal writing software for Apple users.

ulysses mobile


Bonus Free Writing App


For more and more writers, an online grammar checker is becoming a must-have editing tool.

Most tools can highlight common grammar and spelling mistakes and offer quick and easy corrections to help improve your writing.

There are a lot of free and premium grammar checking writing tools available online, and most can offer you basic help.

But for a book, you need an in-depth analysis of your grammar use and writing style.

For this, you will need to think about using an editing tool that is designed especially for authors.

ProWritingAid is one of the best choices for analyzing a long manuscript.

It is an online writing tool that works especially well with very long documents.

ProWritingAid is also the only grammar checker that is compatible with Scrivener.

The free version has plenty to offer.

But the very reasonably priced premium version allows you to dig much deeper into your writing.

You can check many different elements in your writing. You can read our full Prowritingaid review for more details.

There are a host of reports, writing tips, analytics, and suggestions on how you can improve your manuscript.



There are lots of choices in the list of book writing software, programs, and apps above.

I’m sure you’ll find that at least one of these free novel writing software programs and apps will help you write and publish better.

Some will help you overcome writer’s block and be more organized no matter what your writing style.

You should also use an efficient and reliable online grammar checker.

The Hemingway Editor is a good free choice. It will keep your use of adverbs, passive voice, and repeated words under control.

Then you are going to be writing more and better every day.

Forget about office applications that are designed for administrative tasks.

Learn how to write a book with tools specifically designed for the purpose of creative writing and maximizing your writing time.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are many fine paid apps which come highly recommended.

But they are very often more suited to professional writers, content writers, and writing a blog post.

You don’t need to make a big investment in book writing software for novels.

If you are just getting started on moving away from Word and Google Docs there are many free choices.

Try a few of these free writing apps and see which one works best for you. They can all help you write a better book or novel.

It might not turn you into a bestselling author overnight. But you never know, do you?

Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent teaching English and writing, as well as testing and taming new technology.

17 thoughts on “Free Book Writing Software To Write Your New Book

  • October 10, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    as a novice in book writing{ just getting my thoughts together on how to start} I must appreciate the input f all here. The advice on the writing software is critical, so is the feedback from those like me, who need an easier way forward. I particularly was concerned of how to track my words, page them, and hold together my creativity long enough to put it down to words!
    Good luck to all writers

  • September 24, 2020 at 12:44 am

    I’d also put in a plug for Write it Now. The trial version doesn’t let you save, but it’s a great way to kick the tires and see how it works. I’ve used both it and Scrivener, and WiN has one thing Scrivener doesn’t: Timelines. It also manages characters and locations better than Scrivener. Scrivener is great for large, fluid projects (I’ve got one in a single file that contains multiple novel-length pieces and another section with over 10 short stories), and has more flexibility if you want to really interlink stuff and go all-out.

  • May 4, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    I want to start writing my book Pain of the hart m first boo I need to no how to get started .

  • April 21, 2020 at 11:22 pm

    Has anybody tried OnlyOffice?
    It looks very good.

  • April 21, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    I write poems .
    Looking for a booklike with flying pages
    where to download one by one each poem.
    My language is spanish.
    Thank you!

  • March 24, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    I downloaded Shaxpir yesterday and got a few hundred words in. My computer restarted itself for an update and I lost everything. As far as I can tell, you can’t manually save with Shaxpir (at least not at the moment) and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how it saves otherwise. Just a heads-up to anyone thinking about that one.

  • February 15, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    I’ve given up on Microsoft since they stopped me from using their latest Version of MS Office by closing my account after I tried unsuccesfully to register the damned thing for use… So now I use Open Office and LibreOffice. I’m editing one book on Open while writing the squal to my latest sci-fi novella The Magisters: Book One on Libre…

  • August 21, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    There is one all-round Book production program out there for decades called OPEN OFFICE , a more than equal package vs. Microsoft Office. They both have a Word component, and the Open Office version Word program is amazing. Of course, all serious would be Novelists need to be using Dragon Naturally Speaking by Nuance and it works in Version 5.3. beautifully, onIy doesn’t work in other versions, or Libre Office Word.

  • July 9, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    I’ve downloaded Grammarly and ProWritingAid of the free writing apps, but how, with the free apps, do I go about checking a complete manuscript? Nor do I see page numbers to keep check on which page I am. Reception here is practically non-existent – none of the writing apps can be used offline. Any advice please?
    Lastly, if I want to improve or enlarge Word Thesaurus that can be used offline and incorporated into the Word Thesaurus, any ideas please.

    • July 9, 2019 at 7:48 pm

      Hi Kasha. Free versions always have certain limitations. That’s why they are free. Yet they still offer a lot of functionality. But you can’t expect to have unlimited access to all the pro tools for free for a long complex manuscript.

  • November 16, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Thanks for the information, I am very motivated to get started on my book project!.

  • September 17, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Just getting started. Thank you for writing this article.

  • July 13, 2018 at 10:42 am

    This was an excellent post, as it’s always good to see the new products on the market and get some evaluation of them.
    And as always, it confirms to me that writing in ordinary wordprocessing with judicious use of styles, page breaks, and grammar checker set to casual, works just fine for me.
    Thank goodness we are all different!

  • July 13, 2018 at 9:19 am

    Surely, the same risk applies, whichever programme you use? Do any of these programmes save your work independently, or would we have to do it?

  • June 12, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Brilliant. I had no idea there was free software for creative writing. now I just have to choose between them. I like the idea of Wordcradle with the index cards. That would be most useful, I think. I also like the idea of Manuskript.
    Thank you for this insight.


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