The Top Software for Writers of 2020 + [Coupons and Extra Resources]
Are you looking for the best software for writers to help you save time, stay more organized, and produce amazing work?
By now, you've probably realized the advantages of using professional-grade software. Pro tools can give you a timesaving edge throughout your entire writing process.
But how many programs do you really need? And which ones are the best?
That's why I'm here…to break down our top picks when it comes to software for writers.
In this article, you will learn our top picks for:
Before we jump right in, I want to state I am going to be using some affiliate links in this article. These won't take any money out of your pocket. In fact, our affiliate relationships allow us to offer special discounts! It just helps to keep our coffee pots a-brewin' so we can keep bringing you the quality content you deserve.
So, without further ado, here are our top picks of software for writers.
The Best Software for Writers
|Ideal Use||Price||Get It Now!|
|Scrivener||Best Overall Writing Software||$45 for Mac and Windows|
$19.99 for iOS
(SAVE 20% OFF THROUGH OUR LINK W/ COUPON CODE: KINDLEPRENEUR)
|StoryShop.io||Best Fiction Writing Software||Lite: Free|
Pro Monthly: $9.99
Pro Annual: $99.00
|ProWritingAid||Best for Editing Software||$60 (for 1 year)|
$90 (for 2 years)
$120 (for 3 years)
(SAVE 20% OFF THROUGH OUR LINK AND COUPON: KINDLEPRENEUR20)
|Vellum||Best Formatting Software||Vellum Press: $249.99|
Vellum eBooks: $199.99
|Publisher Rocket||Best Amazon Book Marketing Tool||$97 (LIFETIME PURCHASE)|
|Krita||Best Free Book Cover Maker||FREE|
If you've ever read this blog, you may already know how I feel about Scrivener. Long story short… It rocks!
Honestly, Scrivener is the complete package. This software provides top-notch help from the beginning to the end of the writing process. Not to mention, it's a full-blown word processor. There is no other program out there that has this type of power. Let's take a look at just some of the features that make Scrivener second-to-none.
Scrivener's unique corkboard feature is just awesome. It's literally a virtual corkboard complete with index card abilities. Simply write out or upload new index cards and arrange them on the board as you see fit. This is great for arranging your scenes, filling gaps, and story boarding — all in an easy to operate drag-and-drop mechanic.
If you've listened to James Patterson's MasterClass, you know the importance of a proper outline. But sometimes outlines can get complicated–especially standard linear outlines. That's where Scrivener steps in and makes things easier. Instead of single line outline entries, you can outline via scene, chapter, or act. The result? You can actually create outlines that are ideal for longer works.
Ever notice how many notes you scribble down during your writing process? If you're anything like me, those notes end up getting scrambled and then lost. Well, lost until you've already changed your whole plot concept. But with Scrivenings this problem is alleviated. Keep all your notes in a neat and organized system that is easy to adjust and rearrange (via Scrivener's drag-and-drop).
Scrivener offers templates for any and all kinds of writing — from blogging to fiction novels. This is an especially amazing tool to help those who are new to writing a manuscript. And if you can't find the template straight from Scrivener, you can always upload your own!
The Bottom Line on Scrivener
Scrivener was my personal introduction to pro writing software, and I still come back to rely on it. It's that good. If you're frustrated with other word processors or are looking for more organizational capabilities, Scrivener is for you. When asked, “What software would I recommend if I could only choose one?”, the answer is clear. It's Scrivener.
Extra Resources for Scrivener
- Scrivenerville: Your best source for Scrivener tutorials and custom templates
- Scrivener 3.0 Review: My full in-depth review where I get into much more detail about the power of Scrivener.
- Ten Reasons to Write Your Novel in Scrivener
When it comes to writing fiction vs nonfiction, the differences in method, theory and application seem endless. Especially when it comes to world building. With non-fiction, it's much easier to create the world because… well, we're living in it. Even historical pieces tend to be easier since we have actual evidence dictating that era. But what about fiction writing? How do you build a world where nobody has ever been?
This is where StoryShop.io comes in handy. It's a great organizational platform designed to immerse you inside of your work, become one with the world you are creating, and ensure that your structure comes out solid.
Let's take a look at some of the things StoryShop.io can do for you.
Become One with your world with StoryShop.
If there's any software out there specializing in world creation that's better than StoryShop… I don't know about it. They offer 36 different world building categories with completely customizable tags and descriptions. You can harness these descriptions together to ensure that you don't miss any plot holes.
Use StoryShop's top notch Outlining capabilities to ensure the best flow possible.
Some of us are great planners. Things are best when they're linearly set from one step to another. And some of us… not so much. Spiderwebs of data and scenes help you to analyze the interconnections between each piece. One person's perfect plan is always another's nightmare. But that's OK. StoryShop allows you plan, organize, and outline according to your specific style.
Collaborate with ease using StoryShop.
Co-authoring or collaborating on a book may seem like the easiest way to go about writing. But… that's not necessarily true. As a matter of fact, collaborating provides it own unique set of challenges. StoryShop allows you to easily invite collaborators into your project and edit the material without all the back and forth mess.
Write anytime, anywhere!
StoryShop is a cloud-based program which you are able to access from all major platforms. This allows you to jump into work whenever the next idea or scene pops into your head.
The Bottom Line on StoryShop.io
If you're looking for an entirely new lease on your creative writing process, StoryShop might just be the program for you. Dive in and create worlds you've only dreamed of. And do so at your own pace and style.
Extra Resources for StoryShop.io
If you're a writer, you need great editing software. We're not perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. So it's good to have backup when it comes to our grammar and style choices. And there's no better software to do that than ProWritingAid.
ProWritingAid is more than your average spell check. It's a self-proclaimed “grammar guru, style editor, and writing mentor in one package.” And I tend to agree with that claim. So how can ProWritingAid help you out?
ProWritingAid can help your grammar anywhere.
ProWritingAid has the best spell and grammar check out there. It has the ability to integrate seamlessly for all of your needs from online writing to Word documents. ProWritingAid even integrates with our overall pick, Scrivener.
ProWritingAid adapts to your writing style.
Let's face it. We all don't write the same. We all have different styles that have different requirements for writing. For instance, casual writers may use slang and informal language, but that's something you want to avoid in more formal writing. ProWritingAid actually knows this. You can simply set ProWritingAid to monitor for a certain style, and it will do so appropriately.
ProWritingAid offers real-time scoring when you're writing.
Some editing programs only point out mistakes after you've completed writing. This means you've gotta go back through and start making changes. But with ProWritingAid, your errors are spotted and marked in real time. This allows you to correct your document as you type.
ProWritingAid has the best Progress Reports.
If you were to ask anyone the key defining feature of ProWritingAid, the answer would probably be the reports. ProWritingAid offers over 20 DIFFERENT REPORTS ranging from Diction to Repeats to Alliteration!
The Bottom Line on ProWritingAid
If you're looking for a top-notch editing platform, look no further than ProWritingAid. I personally rely on ProWritingAid's ability whenever I do any kind of writing. And I will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
The only big con is ProWritingAid is only available in English, so if you have a German blog like my friend does, you won't be able to benefit.
- Grammarly: Grammarly is another good piece of editing software for those looking for something different than ProWritingAid. I still believe that PWA is the better choice and you can check out why here!
- Hemingway Editor: Hemingway is a unique online editor that helps you adjust your writing style and regulate the complexity of your writing.
No list of top software for writers would be complete without a top notch formatting tool. And we definitely have our favorite. Vellum! Vellum's mission statement is clear: “Make beautiful books.” And they do just that.
Now… There are two major caveats to using Vellum.
- It's not the cheapest tool on this list. As a matter of fact, it is the most expensive. However, if you're looking for peak performance and top quality, Vellum can give you just that.
- It's only available for Mac. Sorry PC Users, this is Mac-exclusive. And I don't see that changing any time in the near future. In order to receive similar results on a PC, multiple programs are going to have to be utilized.
But for those Mac users out there, let's address a few things Vellum can do to help make your self-publishing journey a success.
Control editing and formatting processes with ease.
If you're looking for a full-on custom format for your book, Vellum's got you covered. Change everything from chapter layouts to paragraph indentation and style to block quotations and ornamental breaks. And do it simply. There are no confusing click paths. Just cruise through their Book Styles and you'll be on your way in no time.
Pre-made professional style templates are available for use.
Not all of us are so artistically inclined when it comes to formatting styles. But no need to worry about that with Vellum. Vellum comes pre-loaded with ready-made templates you can apply to your book. Just search through their wide array of selections to find the best fit for you. This process alone saves you so much time, effort, and even money spent hiring an outside designer.
Box set creation is a breeze.
As I'm sure all of you out there know, a box set can be a powerful tool for any author. But those who have created them will tell you… Things can get a bit complicated. Not with Vellum. They make it easy to organize your volumes, import your books, and give proper credit to contributors. Also, you can easily apply the same uniform theme and formatting across the set to create a beautiful, pro-made box set.
Create print edition with simplicity.
A great additional source of revenue to your eBook is being able to provide a print edition. Print books can be awesome for collectors, your biggest fans, and even as a proof copy for yourself. But actually going through the process of formatting one…not so awesome. Once again, Vellum comes to your aid. It makes it so simple to create and format a print version all on your own without having to eat the cost of hiring a professional formatter. In order to access this feature, you must purchase the Vellum Press package. However, by doing so you get the ability to create unlimited eBooks AND paperbacks.
The Bottom Line on Vellum
Simply put, Vellum is hands-down the best formatting software for writers available on the market today. However, it's biggest downfall for us authors is that it is only available to Mac users. If you believe Vellum is something you can't live without, you may want to consider swapping over to Apple.
Extra Resources for Vellum:
- The Write Life: Vellum Review
- Why Joanna Penn moved from Scrivener to Vellum
- Formatting for Print with Vellum 2.0
Alright, I may be a little biased here but… Publisher Rocket is the best software available when it comes to marketing on Amazon. Amazon is the largest self-publishing platform available, so getting the info Rocket provides is just amazing. With Rocket, you no longer have to go through Amazon self-publishing alone.
Publisher Rocket is a downloadable software that works on both PC and Mac and helps authors pull back the curtain of Amazon and see what's actually happening – what people are looking for, how they buy books, how much money they are spending, and how your competitors are doing. This is accomplished through 4 different search features:
This feature is perfect for determining what keywords you should use when publishing your book on Amazon. Kindle keywords are the words readers type when searching for a book to buy, and choosing smart keywords can make your book appear in front of more potential readers. Now, the old-school way of finding Amazon keywords is a long and arduous process. But Rocket can provide you with real Amazon keyword data in seconds — dramatically shortening your search time and making your life easier.
Another thing you need to consider when publishing your work on Amazon is what category it will fall into. This is super important. If you register your book in the wrong category, it gonna be much harder for your potential readers to find your book. Rocket has access to thousands of Amazon categories (which are constantly being updated) that you can explore to find the right ones for you.
Ever wonder how your major competitors are doing on Amazon? You should. Because there is a lot to learn from them, and it helps to inspire you to set higher goals. And Publisher Rocket can provide some of this information. Rocket's competition analyzer provides info such as book title, author, ABSR, average monthly earnings, and much more!
AMS Keyword Search
Rocket also offers you help when preparing your AMS ad campaigns. As you may know, AMS Keywords do differ from your standard Amazon keywords. That's why Rocket provides you with specialized suggestions for this including book titles, author names, ASINs, and other unique phrases. (As a side note, if you're looking to get started with AMS ads, check out my FREE COURSE. There you can learn the basics before jumping into the world of paid advertisement.)
The Bottom Line on Publisher Rocket
Even if I weren't the creator of Publisher Rocket, my opinion would still remain the same. I'm proud of this tool and the accolades it has received. Rocket has helped thousands of authors including the likes of Joanna Penn, Jeff Goins, Pat Flynn, and others all around the globe. Just remember, if Rocket isn't right for you, you can always take advatage of our 30 Day No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee. But… I believe you'll love Rocket so much you won't want to return it.
Extra Resources for Publisher Rocket:
Now, there's a few different book cover makers out there. And if you've got the creative gumption and want to make your own book cover, you're going to need one of them. Photo editing and cover making software for writers can come at a pretty steep price point. Like Photoshop for instance… If you take advantage of Adobe's Creative Cloud pricing, you can get plans starting at $498/month!
I don't know about you, but that's just not an option for me. But the thing is… You don't have to spend any money at all to get an awesome book cover maker! Instead opt for a free option like Krita. Krita is like a Photoshop that you can get for free. And that's pretty rad. Here's some of what Krita can do for you.
Customize your workspace with Krita.
Don't you ever wish that you could change a program's layout? Like maybe move a text bar here or a window there? With Krita, you can alter your user interface to just the way you like it, and save it that way for future use. This way you feel more comfortable when entering your creative zone.
Stabilize your brush stroke.
Not everybody was cut out to be a surgeon. But that doesn't mean we have to just settle for shaky hands. Krita's brush stabilizing feature helps to eliminate accidental scribbles, making sure your lines stay crisp and clean every time.
Create the perfect brush.
Krita offers 9 unique brush engines — each with a wide array of customizable options. You can alter the brushes in just about any way imaginable to create an infinite amount of options. And when you settle on a favorite brush style, simply save it to your toolkit using Krita's unique tagging system.
Form seamless wallpapers with Krita's wrap around mode.
Have you seen those cool wallpapers and book covers that are essentially a repeated pattern (like a checkerboard, but much more complicated)? They're pretty neat stuff. But have you ever tried to put one together? It can honestly be a total nightmare. Just making sure you have the margins correct and the right overlap will make you want to invest in Bayer Aspirin. But Krita's wrap around mode makes it super easy to repeat and create patterns.
The Bottom Line on Krita
When it comes to necessary software for writers, you're going to need an image or photo manipulating program. And Krita is one of the best around. Not to mention it's completely free! It's completely open-sourced and runs off donations. So, if you find yourself enjoying Krita just as much as I do, go ahead and send some love their way.
- Canva: This is another super popular photo editing software for writers. It's completely online based so no download required. Their free version is pretty nice, but you're going to have to upgrade for any of the premium features.
- GIMP: GIMP is one of the oldest photo editors out there, but still one of the most commonly used. And that alone speaks to its credentials.
And for an added bonus…
When it comes to promoting and outward marketing of your book, you're going to have a real task ahead of you. From ARCs to Advance teams to giveaways and group promos, the real work of seeing your book's success come to fruition is only just beginning. That's why platforms such as Prolific Works or NetGalley can be so useful!
But… they're expensive–especially NetGalley. However, this is where newcomer StoryOrigin enters the equation.
StoryOrigin is a book marketing and promotion tool that can help your book reach its maximum potential. And do it all for FREE! Yup, that's right…for free. They're currently in a FREE BETA phase, so if you want to take advantage of their exciting, new program…Now's your best chance to test 'em out.
Here's just a smattering of services they offer:
- ARC Management and Delivery
- Universal Book Links
- Reader Magnets
- Audiobook Promo Codes
- Newsletter Exclusives
- Group Promotions
- Email Integrations
- And Much More!
But you gotta act fast. I'm not sure how much longer this FREE BETA is going to last.
The Best Software for Writers 2019 Wrap-up
For now, I believe the tools I've shared are the best programs a writer can get. Here's a quick recap:
- Publisher Rocket
That doesn't mean some new software for writers won't come out of nowhere and change my mind. But if you're looking for tools to help you write more productively and create great work, these programs are the perfect place to start.
Hey Guys, I’m Dave and when I am not sipping tea with princesses or chasing the Boogey man out of closets, I’m a Kindlepreneur and digital marketing nut – it’s my career, hobby, and passion.