The 5 Best Free Book Writing Software For Your Novel

By Carly Forsaith, updated on April 13, 2023

So you're writing a novel, but think free book writing software might be able to help you do a better job? You might be right. In this article, you'll discover five of the best free tools on the market.

  • In this article, we'll show you that you really don't need to pay for software since you can get perfectly decent ones for free.

So read on!

The 5 Best Free Book Writing Software

Alright, let's get to it. Here's the big reveal, the 5 Best Free Book Writing Software!

1. Reedsy Book Editor (RBE)

A writing tool and editor in one, Reedsy provides a user-friendly experience to help you create a book that's pretty much ready to publish once you're finished (it typesets as you write, and you can save the file as an ePub or PDF). And it's a web-based app, so it saves in real time.

A few of its best features include:

  • Easy-switching between pages;
  • Personal goal-setting to keep you on track;
  • Built-in spellchecker, or you can integrate Grammarly.

Another thing I really like is that it stores old versions of your manuscript, like Google Docs, so if you removed passages and find you want to go back and grab them to add them back in, you can easily do so.

2. Bibisco

While a lot of software is great for writing in general, Bibisco was created for novel writing specifically.

  • It is much more than a writing tool; it helps you plan your story.

It features:

  • Tools to help you design your characters, put together the story blurb, develop the setting, etc.;
  • The Architecture Screen enables you to flesh out the different elements of your story;
  • A minimalist interface that doesn't distract from the writing.

3. yWriter

yWriter was created by a writer, which is really cool because it's like, writers supporting writers, and also, he designed it knowing exactly what he would have wanted when writing his own first novel.

Best bits:

  • Designed to help you split your writing into scenes and chapters;
  • The no-frills interface keeps things simple;
  • 'Storyboard view' gives you an overview of your project

4. Zoho Writer

Zoho is a pretty basic solution for your writing. It isn't explicitly designed for story-writing, so it has no fancy add-ons or extraordinary features. But sometimes that's just what you need.

Zoho could be for you if you like the simplicity of a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs but would enjoy a few added features.

Top marks for:

  • Cloud software, meaning you can access it anytime and from any device;
  • Clean and stylish interface;
  • Floating menus that appear when you make a selection keep the screen nice and tidy.

5. Evernote

Evernote has both a free and paid version, but I'll just be reviewing the free version, but it's always handy to know there are extra perks available.

I wouldn't have listed Evernote as a tremendous book-writing software, but in my research, it was a popular option among many authors. So, I tried it myself, and I must admit that I agreed. What makes it so great is that it's the mother of all note-taking apps (in my humble opinion), and I'm an organization geek, so note-taking is one of my core values.

I'm unsure if I would use it as my one-and-only book-writing tool. Still, I would definitely use it alongside one of the software listed above, as it will enhance your clarity of mind tenfold before you start and as you continue the process of writing your book.

Do You Really Need Free Book Writing Software For Your Novel?

Getting to work on a novel is a specific kind of writing; after all, a novel is one of the longest pieces of content out there. A word-processing document is usually all one needs to write a blog or essay, but you might have better options if you're writing a novel.

Imagine, for instance, that you were hundreds of pages in and wanted to return to a particular passage. It could take you hours! And time is definitely a factor when writing a book. Whether self-publishing or writing for a publishing house, you're probably on a deadline.

  • Time is too precious, and even a few minutes saved can make a big difference.

That's one of the things writing software can help you with.

Some other benefits of using writing software to write your novel are:

  • Tools to organize your novel
  • Increase your productivity
  • Keep everything in one place
  • Having a visually appealing screen can help motivate you
  • Stay focused

Now, of course, you don't want to prioritize choosing software over actually writing since the most crucial thing is actually getting started, and spending ages selecting the exact right tool can be just another way of procrastinating.

That's where we come in! I'm giving you my five favorite free writing software for your novel in this article. There are many more out there, but at the end of the day, you only need one, so I've decided not to overwhelm you with tons of options. You'll find that five options are plenty.

What to Look Out For in Writing Software

Before we get started, I wanted to go over a few things. While I recommend the tools below, you must determine your own needs to pick the best software for you.

  • First of all, I'm a big fan of using a free software - especially if it's your first book.

You don't know what you need yet. By all means, if you've got the disposable income to spend on writing software, shoot for the stars, but if there are other things you feel your money would be better spent on, then I can assure you you can get something very decent for the very low price of free.

Here are some great features to look out for in free book-writing software:

  • Overview. Does the software give you a bird's eye view of your novel? Can you zoom out, as it were, and see how many chapters you've written and where you've taken notes? A very handy feature to help with organization.
  • Table of contents generator. Some software will automatically generate a table of contents and keep updating it as you write. So, for instance, if you add a chapter, it'll automatically be added to the table.
  • Character name auto-complete. This one's a bit nerdy, and you wouldn't think it saves that much time, but it really does! Set it up so that the software recognizes when you're typing one of your characters' names, and it will auto-complete it for you.
  • Chapter and scene organization. Want to switch your chapters and scenes around? If your software comes with this feature, organizing your content is as easy as a simple click.
  • Add notes. A criminally overlooked part of writing a novel is taking notes as you write. If a brilliant idea pops into your head while you're in the middle of a great paragraph, you might not have the capacity to think about where it should go or any of those minor details. You just need to jot it down while it's in your head and return to it later. A notes feature on your writing software will keep you from accumulating Post-it notes all over your desk.
  • Auto-save. Most software includes auto-save nowadays (at least it does if it's online), but still, you'll want to make sure. If you were around before the days of cloud storage and online writing programs, you'd understand the distinct pain that comes with losing hours of work if your laptop runs out of battery or there's a tech glitch.
  • Spell checker. There are many spellcheckers out there, and you may well have a fave one you like to use already. But if it's separate software, copying and pasting hundreds of words from one software to another. It's always a handy bonus if there's one integrated.
  • User-friendly. This is a big one for me. I don't want to spend hours figuring out how to use the software. I want it to be intuitive. Is it just me?

Final Thoughts on Free Book Writing Software

So there you have it; my top-five free book-writing software. As I mentioned earlier, you might not need software. A good old word processor might just do the job for you.

But for me, using the right software can really enhance the experience and assist my creative juices in flowing. Not only that, if you're an app fiend like me and a sucker for trying a new tool, you might find that a nifty piece of software also increases your enthusiasm when it comes to the crunch.

Either way, you've got nothing to lose in trying one or several of these tools and seeing if one of them is the right one for you. But remember, don't let that distract you from getting started. The most important thing is actually to write.

Good luck!

If you found this article helpful, check out our blog for more info and tips to improve your writing.

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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