For some reason this question’s been coming up frequently: “what software’s the best to write a book?”
The short answer is: whatever you use for your writing sessions now.
Here’s why. Writing a book is challenging, even for people who’ve been at it for years. Learning new software is stressful.
If you want to write a book, keep to your writing routines
You’ll hit “the wall” as anyone does when they write a book. This book crash usually happens around page 100 or Chapter 3. At this stage, you’re looking for reasons to quit.
The book’s crap and you have many, many excuses for not carrying on. The idea’s lousy, you’re too busy, you’ll write next vacation — and so on and so forth.
You don’t need special software to write a book
I adore Scrivener. I’ve been using it for a decade, ever since the beta version. Much as I love it, for the first couple of years I wrote in MS Word, then dragged the docs into Scrivener. Mostly that was because clients and editors wanted Word docs. But also, it was wanting to get stuff done.
You have a writing routine now, even if you’re a relatively new writer. If you tinker with that routine too much, you’ll procrastinate, or worse, you’ll block. Your productivity will go out the window.
Useful software for writing books
After all these years, Scrivener is part of my book-writing routine. My books and writing courses start and end in Scrivener.
I write shorter material like articles and blog posts in Ulysses. Not only is Ulysses a fun writing tool, it also makes it easy to output docs to HTML, PDF, ePub, and DOCX.
I know several authors who write their books in Google Docs. I couldn’t imagine anything more punishing, but kudos to them.
I’ve also heard good things about:
- yWriter, which looks Scrivener-like;
- (free) FocusWriter, a cross-platform app which is minimalist. The bare bones interface is meant to remove distractions;
- (free) LibreOffice, an MS Office alternative;
- (free) Sigil, open source, cross-platform, and useful only if you’re a little techy. Outputs ePub documents. Inputs can include HTML, and plain text. Creates elegant ebooks. If you’d like to try it, this is the official website.
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