Have you decided to start writing your book? Creative writing and the publishing process have changed forever.
It doesn’t matter if you plan to take the route with a traditional publisher or if you want to self-publish your book.
Digital publishing, sometimes called e-publishing, is where everything starts and stops now for published books.
If you are ready to write your book, you should make sure that you have the best book writing programs and tools to do the job.
Writing a book today
A pen and paper are great tools for notetaking, and a typewriter is romantic and nostalgic.
But today, you use electronic files from the beginning to the end of the writing and publishing process.
If you check your app store for free book writing software, you will find hundreds for Mac, PC, Android, and iPhone or iPad.
The only part of the process that hasn’t changed is that you need to have the time to write.
Indie authors are having success and competing with traditional publishing companies. Some are achieving bestselling author status.
You only need to take a quick look at the bestselling books on Amazon to see that many self-published authors are in the top 10 for a variety of genres. In particular, for ebooks and Kindle Unlimited readers.
If you are ready to start your book project, there are a lot of ways you can publish.
But before you start, make sure you have all the tools you will need to do the job.
Choosing the best book writing programs will help you stay organized and focussed and help you to write a better book.
Quality writing counts
A lot of people have a great book idea.
Writing and publishing a book with today’s technology is easy. All you need is a great idea and the writing time to finish your book.
The reality of writing fiction books or a nonfiction book is that only good writing and outstanding books stand a chance of selling.
If you are new to writing and electronic publishing, it is a good idea to work on practicing your writing before you start your book project.
It is not that successful authors today need to be professional writers. But writing good books requires competent grammar and writing skills.
There are a lot of resources and tools available now for a new book writer to help you learn and improve your writing skills.
It might seem odd today to recommend that you read a book. But On Writing by Stephen King is still a great place to start for all new writers.
Writing your book
It starts with a few chapter titles. Then, once you’ve written between forty and eighty thousand words, you can say, “I wrote a book!”
Then the process of carefully preparing your manuscript for publishing begins. For most writers, it means finding an editor and a competent proofreader. It might also require the services of a book formatter as well.
All that is for later, though, because first, you have to write your book.
No one writes a book on the kitchen table with a pen and paper anymore. And the days of sitting down at a typewriter are long gone.
The tools that an author needs today are electronic and digital. Most are very easy to use. But as with anything new, you might have a short learning curve at first.
The two essentials for a serious book writer are a multi-layered word processor and editor designed specifically for writing a book or novel and a first-class spelling, grammar, and writing checker.
The best programs to write a book
When you write a book, you need to be able to work on individual parts of your story.
You will need to have notes or perhaps mind maps about your characters, events, and your story timeline. This is much more than simple word processing can do.
At times, you might need to reorder scenes or even chapters or make changes to your plot. Scrolling back and forward through one long text editor or word processor document is a painful process.
With a good tool, you can easily drag and drop your chapters or scenes into a different order.
The best and most productive way to write a book and stay focused is to use software that is made specifically for the purpose.
Here are some of the best book writing program suggestions for you. All of them will help you in the writing process and later, in publishing a quality book.
Scrivener is one of the most popular premium creative and book writing tools. For many authors it the best program to write a book.
It is feature-rich with all the writing tools an author needs. It is tailor-made for very long writing projects.
Scrivener has everything you need to write a book.
It has an outliner, corkboard, side by side viewing, word count targets, and a full-screen editor for distraction-free writing along with print, export, and publishing tools.
It has all the tools that a writer could ever need. About all that is missing are writing prompts and instant cures for writer’s block.
Scrivener offers a 30 day free trial period. But only days that you use the software are counted. If you use the software every second day, your free trial period will run for 60 days.
Scrivener is available for download for both Windows and Mac. There are also iOS apps for iPhone and iPad.
Shaxpir is an online book writing program.
It comes with all the features you need to write a book.
But it has one significant advantage. You can use the program for free to get you started.
There is a premium version available on a monthly subscription basis. Your choice will depend on what you need.
Here is a quick look at the differences between the two choices.
You can find out more about Shaxpir in this quick one-minute video tour.
- Living Writer (Cloud-based)
- Ulysses (Mac only)
- The Novel Factory (PC only)
Writing checkers and editing
When you finish writing a book, you are going to need grammar software programs and editing tools. These will help you to improve your writing.
While intense editing and proofreading will start after you finish, you still want to make sure that what you write is as perfect as possible after each writing session.
The best way to do this is to use a premium writing checker that will help you find ways to polish your writing style, grammar, and consistency.
There are many free online grammar checkers, such as the Hemingway Editor. But most are not suitable at all for working on a long document.
There are only two I use and would recommend for working on a manuscript. These are ProWritingAid and Grammarly.
ProWritingAid calls itself a personal writing coach, grammar guru, style editor, and writing mentor.
From my experience with using it, I can certainly say that it is not an exaggeration.
Most grammar checkers can find passive voice sentences, incorrect prepositions, and plurals.
But ProWritingAid goes so much deeper into analyzing long-form writing.
There are twenty-five different in-depth reports that will give you so many suggestions as to how you can improve your text.
You can read about all the features in our review of ProWritingAid.
It also has a very big advantage of being compatible with Scrivener.
There are a lot of free and premium grammar checkers. But ProWritingAid is the only one that has all the tools that are essential for authors.
There is a free version available for you to try.
But if you are serious about learning how to write a book, you will probably choose the reasonably priced premium version with all the tools you need.
Grammarly is, by far, the most popular online grammar checker.
It’s my second choice for authors, but you won’t go wrong. It is, though, better at helping correct online writing such as for a blog post or social media entries.
I use it a lot, but only for short-form writing such as short stories and checking that what I write and post online is as accurate as possible. You can read my full review of Grammarly.
It works exceptionally well with the WordPress editor when you use the Chrome extension. For bloggers, it is almost always the best choice.
You don’t have a lot of time when you have a deadline to publish an article or blog post. So it’s always reassuring to have it on hand to help make sure that your text is error-free.
Again there are free and premium versions available.
Start writing your book
Yes, there is a lot of free writing software available online now to help you with many time-consuming tasks.
But if you are serious about writing your book and writing it well, a small investment in the best book writing programs you can find is a small price to pay.
If you decide to use Scrivener and ProWritingAid together, you will have the best two tools available for the long, and enjoyable, task ahead of you.
All you need now is your brilliant book idea, and the passion and energy to turn it into a fantastic story.