For years, authors really only had one efficient and effective way to personally format professional books and that was by using a software called Vellum. However, Vellum only works on Mac, and is extremely costly. Plus, it's really only for formatting and doesn't offer anything else beyond that.
So, this got me thinking…what if I could create an easy-to-use software that helped authors format unique, beautiful and professional ebooks and books, have it work on all computers and not just Mac, be much cheaper and add more features and capabilities not currently offered?
Well, that's exactly what we just did by making Atticus.io.
But as you'll see in this review of Atticus, we're not just going to stop at formatting. My true dream in building Atticus is to actually create a software where authors can plan, plot, outline, write, collaborate and format all in one place. When describing Atticus I like to tell people, “If Scrivener, Google Docs and Vellum got together and had a baby, its name would be Atticus.”
So, in this review, I will not only show you what we've done so far, but what we're working on, and how we'll get there.
Let’s dive in.
- What Atticus is
- How to use it
- A list of features at launch
- Forthcoming plans for new features
Table of contents
- What is Atticus?
- How Does Atticus Work?
- Atticus Cost
- Complete List of Atticus Features
- 1. Cross Platform Use
- 2. Pre-built Theme Templates
- 4. Ease of Use
- 5. Autosave, Cloud Storage, and Backups
- 6. In-app Spell Check
- 7. Offline Use
- 8. Exporting Options
- 9. Importing Options
- 10. Device Previewer
- 12. Word Count
- 13. Chapter Elements
- 14. Full Bleed Images
- 15. Large Print Font Options
- 20. ProWritingAid Integration
- 21. Support Team
- 22. Volumes and Parts
- 23. Find and Replace
- Upcoming Features for Atticus
- Atticus Review: The Bottom Line
What is Atticus?
Atticus is a software that currently gives authors an excellent way to write, and format their books at a lower cost and with equal results as a program like Vellum. However, one day it will be the all-in-one solution for writing, formatting, and collaborating.
Atticus not only has a ton of features at launch, but also boasts a HUGE number of upcoming features that will make it the be-all, end-all of writing software.
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Why Have an Interior Formatting Software?
All you have to do these days is open a book and you'll see a ton of things you may not have noticed before. Things like chapter headers, titles over the pages, a complex table of contents, and more.
And honestly, to get these features, I realized that most tools were either too complicated (like Adobe InDesign) or they were too expensive (like Vellum).
So, I decided to make my own.
This tool will not only make it easier to format books, but it will keep readers from leaving your poor reviews because you had a poorly-formatted book. Because if you didn't spend the time or used a tool like Atticus to make your book look nice, that pulls the reader out of the reading experience, which is the last thing we want to do.
Why Am I Qualified to Talk About Atticus?
I don't know…it might have something to do with the fact that I'm the creator?
Seriously though, Atticus is a brain-child for me. I've always thought there was a lot lacking in other writing and formatting tools, and I really didn't think that authors needed a dozen different tools just to get through the writing and formatting process. So I decided to make my own.
I can confidently say that Atticus is the best formatting software, as we've done a side-by-side comparison on the leading alternative, and Atticus just has more features. Plain and simple.
Additionally, it's shaping up to be a solid writing program as well, and we're working on collaboration. Essentially, we'll be turning it into the ultimate mashup of a solid formatting program, combined with the best of Scrivener and Google Docs.
How Does Atticus Work?
Atticus is currently both a word processor and a book formatting software. You can write, edit, and export your novel with ease.
You start in the dashboard where you can create a new book or upload an old one (there are a variety of ways to import a book that I’ll get to in the features section).
Then you’re brought to the word processor element of the program, where you can create chapters (or front and back matter elements), and begin writing. In this section, you can create and reorder chapters just like you can in Scrivener, and are offered an array of writing tools.
New features are being added to Atticus all the time to really make this one of the most fun, aesthetic and helpful book writing software out there – without being complicated or convoluted. We'll talk about this later, but we'll be focusing on adding special writing modes, analytics, character or note cards, collaboration, and more.
From there, it lets you format the book and export to ebook or print, to use in KDP, IngramSpark, Draft2Digital, or wherever you sell your books.
In other words, it has everything that the top formatting and writing software has, and there’s more coming to make it the best in the industry. Furthermore, you can see how it compares to vellum, and what others thought.
The cost of Atticus is one of its strengths. Programs like Vellum cost $199 for just eBook and $249.99 for ebook & print book capability.
Atticus, on the other hand, costs only $147 for unlimited books and ebooks.
Plus, that price is for a lifetime purchase. $147 will get you the current version of Atticus, plus all future updates.
So, you get all the capabilities as before, but for a fraction of the cost.
Plus, there is no subscription, so there is no risk of ever losing access to your work.
Complete List of Atticus Features
Atticus is packed full of features, so for this review I'm going to break down all of them one by one.
1. Cross Platform Use
This is, by far, the strongest feature that authors have been asking for. Vellum does not work on Windows and only works on Mac. Plus, their website even says that they do not plan to create a Windows version, so waiting is not an option, which is crazy to me.
Atticus, on the other hand, is available not just for Mac, but for Windows, Linux, Chromebooks, as well as in your Internet browser.
2. Pre-built Theme Templates
Now we get to the big guns. Atticus’ theme builder is one area where the program shines above the competitors.
The theme builder allows you to create and save your own custom styles for your book, or use a variety of pre-rendered versions.
First of all, Atticus comes with a lot of different pre-built themes that you can use, a function that already gives you more variety than other apps. These themes are designed to fit a number of different genres and tones. Chances are, if you don't find what you want here, you can create one that works. Which brings me to…
3. Build Your Own Theme Template
If you want, you can build your own theme from scratch. Or you can modify existing pre-built templates as well.
The theme builder allows you to create and save your own custom styles for your book. This can include, but is not limited to:
- Your font and font size
- The style of your chapter headers
- Custom images in your chapter headers
- Custom ornamental breaks
- Your print trim size
- Your header and footer styles
Each of these can be customized to your liking, saved, and used again and again in your books. This is one of my favorite features that was important that we get right in the development process.
4. Ease of Use
I wanted to design Atticus to be intuitive and easy to use, while not sacrificing functionality. And I think we did it. You shouldn’t have to watch a whole course just to figure out how to use a piece of writing software.
That sets it above other programs that might have a lot of features, but also a huge learning curve.
5. Autosave, Cloud Storage, and Backups
The Autosave function makes it easy to keep from losing your work. All you have to do is write and format, and it will take care of the rest.
The books in Atticus are saved to the cloud. Everything is saved on secure servers, meaning you can access it from anywhere, and you don't have to worry about your computer breaking down and losing all your data.
Additionally, you have the option to backup your books, either one at a time, or all at once. It’s secure and you therefore you don’t have to worry about losing your work.
6. In-app Spell Check
Atticus is set up to have spell check natively in the app, with integrations with ProWritingAid as well. While we'd like to integrate with Grammarly, it's a bit of a difficult company to work with and the way they designed their program, it's a bit problematic – but we'll keep trying.
7. Offline Use
While Atticus is cloud based, you can use the program and many* of its features offline if you so choose.
To do this you can to download the Progressive Web App (instructions here) onto your computer or smart device, or you can log in with a browser before you go offline. That way you can take Atticus with you wherever you need to go. The only time you'll need to be connected online is either initially login in, when you upload a document, export a document, and when you collaborate (a future feature).
*You will still need access to the Internet the first time you log in, and to export a book.
8. Exporting Options
Atticus will export to three different text formats:
- An EPUB-format eBook
- A PDF file for print
- A DOCX file for editing and other uses.
Note: Atticus is no longer planning to export to MOBI, since Amazon has completely discontinued the file type.
9. Importing Options
Atticus also allows you to import a document, if you are taking an old book and importing it into Atticus, for example.
Atticus currently supports DOCX and RTF for importing, with more options on the way. Our MOBI and EPUB imports are functional, but we are working to improve them. Currently, DOCX and RTF work better, so if you are transitioning from Vellum to Atticus, you can export to RTF in Vellum, then import into Atticus.
10. Device Previewer
To see how your manuscript looks when formatted, Atticus boasts a device previewer with 14 different device possibilities to preview, including print. I always love to check out how the book will look in a variety of different devices.
11. Print Previewer
With the print previewer, you can see exactly what your book looks like in print, complete with headers, page numbers, chapter themes, line spacing, endnotes, you name it!
Additionally, you can immediately download the PDF from device previewer so you can have the print version available instantly.
12. Word Count
Atticus lets you see three types of word count:
- Your entire book
- An individual chapter
- A specific selection
This way, I can check to see how my book, chapter or selection is coming along giving me more options for tracking than most writing software out there.
13. Chapter Elements
Chapters are not the only element that you need when formatting your book. You need adequate front and back matter as well. Atticus has you covered.
For front matter, there are elements built for copyright, title page, blurbs, dedications, epigraphs, forewords, introductions, prefaces, and prologues.
For the main body you’ve got chapters, full page images, and even a custom option.
For back matter, there are epilogues, afterwords, acknowledgements, author about pages, and also by pages.
All of these are essential parts of your book.
One upcoming feature that I'm really excited about that should be coming out VERY soon, is the ability to create your own page, and make it a template. This way, you can use it in other books instead of having to recreate it – like your Bio page, Copyright page, or even your Also By page. Furthermore, we'll be adding a feature to this where if you update information on a saved template, you can have Atticus auto apply it to all of your books that uses the template.
So, say for example, you just published a new book. You could go into a book, update your Also By page to include the new book and with the click of a button, all of your books can be updated with the same information just like that. For those of you with multiple books, this can be a real time saver.
14. Full Bleed Images
A full bleed image is one that extends all the way to the edge of a print book. This is a feature that is often tricky to get right without a massive program like Adobe Indesign, but Atticus makes it happen!
15. Large Print Font Options
Large print is growing in popularity as a viable option for those with limited eyesight. And while many programs let you have a large font to produce what they call “large print books”, there's actually a number of other steps you have to take to make them compliant with government guidelines.
Atticus, on the other hand, does all of these things for you, which gives it a huge advantage over the competition.
Learn more about large print in our article.
16. Reusable Elements
Have you ever gotten tired of copying and pasting your “Also by” page to all of your different books? Wouldn't it just be easier to have one universal “Also by” page and make it so every update to the universal page would automatically update all the books that use it?
Well, that's exactly what Atticus does.
Atticus has reusable elements that you can specify. Once you've changed a reusable element, you can then choose to update it for all other books, or you can change it for just a single volume.
17. Goal Settings
Atticus also has goal and habit settings to keep you motivated to write!
You can set the estimated word count for your book as a goal, as well as your deadline, then it automatically calculates for you how many words per day you need to write in order to make that goal.
Additionally, you can set a daily writing habit goal, so that you're never missing those writing streaks!
18. Dyslexic Font
In addition to the large print fonts above, Atticus also comes with Dyslexic font settings, so your print books can be printed specifically for those with dyslexia. And not only can you do this in the print formatting, but you can also set it up in the writing section if you also struggle with dyslexia.
Speaking of the writing section…
19. Writing Preference Settings
When writing, you can change the font or size settings so it better matches your preferences as you write or edit.
Sometimes, editing a book in a different font can actually help you catch more mistakes. This is particular useful if you are dyslexic.
We even included Comic Sans, because guess what? It's actually a good font for editing!
20. ProWritingAid Integration
It’s no secret that we at Kindlepreneur recommend ProWritingAid as the best grammar and spelling tool out there. So it should come as no surprise that Atticus has ProWritingAid integration. All you need to do is make sure ProWritingAid is installed in your browser plugin, and you can use it while working in Atticus.
So if you didn’t want to break away from Google Docs or Word because of its ProWritingAid integration, you don't need to worry about that any longer.
21. Support Team
Support is one of the most important aspects of a software tool for me. I took great pains to make the Publisher Rocket support team the best in the business, and if you’ve appreciated their support, you’ll love the support behind Atticus.
The software is constantly being tweaked, upgraded, and improved based on customer feedback. If you’ve got problems, we can help!
22. Volumes and Parts
With Volume and Parts, you can divide your story into several different subsections with chapters in each. This is particularly useful if you’re creating box sets. You can also subdivide a chapter into individual scenes as well.
23. Find and Replace
Another feature Atticus has is the Find and Replace feature, which will allow you to search through your entire document (or a single chapter) to find a specific word or phrase, and allowing you to replace it with whatever you need.
24. H2 – H6 Headings
This is another of my favorite features: for non-fiction authors, Atticus has the ability to create multiple levels of headings, meaning you can have main headings, then subheadings underneath those headings, etc. Here's what that looks like:
Additionally, you can customize the size and style of each heading type, which actually means that fiction authors can make use of the headings as well.
By selecting a specific style font, you could create the illusion of a hand-written note or a text that you could use insert into your text. So headings are not just for nonfiction authors!
Here's the what the heading formatting looks like in Atticus:
Upcoming Features for Atticus
Atticus is a living program with a ton of new features coming down the line. While it’s already primed as a formatting software, it’s set to become the last piece of writing, organization, plotting, and collaboration programming that you’ll ever need.
Here is a rundown of some of the features currently in development, or soon to be. And if you're curious to learn more, check out the Atticus roadmap to see what's being worked on currently, and what's coming soon – we like to be open about out timeline 🙂
A Dark Mode
For the night owls among us, Atticus will eventually have a dark mode that will present a darker theme of the Atticus work space.
Here is a concept of what that might look like:
In addition to motivational and productivity features, Atticus will eventually have tools to help plot and outline your novel, as well as provide features to aid in your characterization and worldbuilding.
Another of the big features eventually coming to Atticus is the ability to collaborate between users.
This will be a great feature for those who want to write novels together, but it also applies to collaboration with editors, writing coaches, writing groups, and virtually any situation you can think of where collaboration would be helpful.
Eventually Atticus will also have version history, or the ability to save and revisit past revisions of your manuscript. This will eliminate the need to have a ton of files with each different revision of your manuscript.
Atticus Review: The Bottom Line
As you can see, Atticus is an easy-to-use software that will help authors build professional books and ebooks, and is cheaper than Vellum. But, Atticus isn't going to be only a formatting software. In time, with the planned new features, it will be more than that.
- Far more affordable than the leading alternatives
- Available on all conceivable platforms
- Easy to use
- Contains all the major features of Vellum, with more on the way
- A dynamic theme builder
- Works as a formatting software and as a word processor
- A stellar support team
- Not all the features are available at launch
The Bottom Line: I truly believe that Atticus is geared to be the best book writing and formatting software on the market, and it does so for less than the trending market price, and on far more platforms so every author can take advantage of it.