Essential book writing tools and software for authors
Writing your book will be a long term project.
There are many facets involved in the writing process that you will need to bring together.
But before you start writing, make sure that you have the very best writing tools for the task ahead of you. You might have already started writing your book in Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
But word processors are designed for office projects and tasks. They are fine for online writing and blog posts, but they are not the best tools at all for writing a long manuscript. Working on a single document for a book is not a good solution.
The writing tools in most word processing software are basic. If you want to improve your writing, you need much more than a simple grammar and spell checker.
There are many free and open-source options for book writing software and writing apps. But if you are serious about writing your book, you really should consider using the very best tools available for your writing goals.
1. Your book writing software
Without a shadow of a doubt, Scrivener is by far the most popular software among authors.
It has everything you need to bring all the elements of your book project together in one place to write and craft your first draft.
Yes, it has all the basics such as full-screen distraction-free writing mode, mind mapping and word count goals. But it has so much more to offer. There are so many features, it will take a short learning curve to learn how to use them all.
You can break down your manuscript into manageable chunks and work on individual chapters and scenes.
There are tools to keep notes about events and profiles of your characters. You can also store research notes and build your story from your outline.
With the outliner, you can work on small parts of your text or your whole document. You can write and review synopses and create folders and subfolders. It is going to be your all in one organiser for your manuscript.
There are so many features you can use. The corkboard uses index cards for every part of your book. You can change the order by simply moving the cards and it will automatically re-order your manuscript.
With research view, you can work on your manuscript alongside the notes and pages you have collected. You can add any piece of content or take notes about a pdf file or a web page.
It is a great tool for writers to have to help you move your story along. It can help you when you feel you might have a little case of writer’s block or need fresh ideas.
In the binder view, you bring all the elements of your book together. Think of it like a big ring binder where your store every element of your work.
When it’s time to write, you can work on any device. You will never be without your Scrivener files. You can use the software on a desktop or laptop, as well as a tablet or smartphone. If you use a cloud drive like Google Drive or Apple iCloud, you can work on your book anywhere, anytime.
Take a look at this short video from Literature & Latte to help you get started. You will discover how much writing power you will get when you write your book using Scrivener.
2. You need to craft, style, edit and continually improve your manuscript
It is not only when you finish your first draft that you need some help.
As you write, you will be looking for better ways to express your thoughts. You will need synonyms and alternative structures to make sure that your writing is not repetitive.
Most authors know that you should avoid the passive voice. But this is only one small grammatical element.
There are many other structures that you will need to work on and improve as you write your book.
Perhaps you have too many sticky sentences, too many repeated phrases, or you have quote mark inconsistencies.
Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could get some quick analysis as listed below to help you as you write?
50% of sentences start with a subject (compared to 61% in published writing).
21% of sentences start with an adverb (compared to 9% in published writing).
5% of sentences start with a gerund. You might want to consider adding some.
0% of sentences start with an infinitive. You might want to consider adding some.
14% of sentences start with subordinate conjunction (compared to 17% in published writing).
14% of sentences start with a coordinating conjunction (compared to 5% in published writing).
5% of sentences start with a past participle. You might want to consider adding some.
0% of sentences start with a verb followed by a subject. You might want to consider adding some.
0% of sentences start with an introductory word. You might want to consider adding some.
Pronoun percentage good (5.1%) Target 4%-15%.
Initial pronoun percentage good (21.4%) Target 0%-30%.
12 dialogue tags found.
46.7% of your document is dialogue.
Well, you can get help like this very easily.
ProWritingAid is more than a grammar checking tool. It is a whole suite of reports and tools. These will help you improve your writing quality, accuracy, consistency and variety.
It digs deep into your writing and gives you helpful reminders and tips. It is the only writing checker that comes with all the features you will need to work on a long manuscript–from first to final draft.
From the main menu, you can select the version of English you use. You can also select a writing style, such as creative, casual or even academic.
When you click on any of the top-level menu items, you access all the analysis and reports for your manuscript.
You can get a quick summary of your potential errors for review.
Or you can access a quick overview of your whole manuscript.
Most importantly, ProWritingAid is Scrivener compatible. So you can use both of these excellent writing programs together as you write your book.
Check this video to find out more about what ProWritingAid can do to help you write better.
3. Position your book competitively before you publish
One of the biggest mistakes new authors make is rushing into publishing once their manuscript is completed.
You need to make sure that you do your category and keyword research. You need to do it well before you think about publishing on Amazon or any other online retailer.
Competitive research is essential if you want to sell books in today’s book market.
You want to make sure that readers can find your book. But you also want to place your book in areas that are less competitive.
However, you must also be sure that there are real sales happening for the keywords and categories you choose.
The only way you can do this is to access real-time sales data from Amazon. Then you can research, test and validate your choices.
There are some free tools available, but they don’t give you much data to work with.
The best way is to use software that will let you delve deep into Amazon’s sales data.
Think of it like positioning in a bookstore. You want to position your book where book buyers can find it.
When you research your categories, you can check the sales volume, today’s sales and the number of competing titles. You can click through to check individual titles and real sales performance.
To find the best keywords you start with a basic seed keyword. Then you can analyse each suggestion to dig deeper.
There are also tools to investigate competitors in your genre as well as tools to find keywords for Amazon Ads.
Take a quick look at how quick and easy it is to do truly competitive keyword research for your book.
You can only be as good as the writing tools you use.
Don’t take cheap shortcuts when you write and publish a book. There is nothing more frustrating than having to continually find workarounds and alternatives to essential features that are missing from free software.
Premium software is unrestricted and you can benefit from all the features that are available. On top of that, you will always have the latest version because upgrades are part of the package.
If you have already started writing your book in a word processor, you can easily import your work in progress into Scrivener and ProwritingAid. You will certainly notice the difference it makes.
It won’t cost much at all to arm yourself with the very best tools you need for the job.
So happy writing and publishing your next bestseller!
Related reading: How Many Words In A Novel? It Depends On Your Genre