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Writing Softwares


Writing solely with a pen and paper has long been a thing of the past. Ray Bradbury might have written Fahrenheit 451 on a typewriter during his lunch breaks, but in the modern age, we have a variety of word processors, formatters, and publishing venues available to us at the click of a button.


With such a wide variety, it can be overwhelming deciding which ones to use. To help make that search a little easier, I've compiled a short list of the softwares I currently use or have used in the past, with pros and cons for each.


Word Processors

1. Microsoft Word

This one's an easy default. It's available on both Macs and PCs (though you do have to pay for the Mac version), and it does everything you need. If you're just starting out writing, this is a safe choice.


Pros:

  • It's easy to use if writing is your only concern. You just create a new document and start writing!

  • It's an inexpensive option.

  • It's readable on pretty much any device.

Cons:

  • Formatting is a nightmare. Click the wrong option, and suddenly all your hard work is a mess.

  • If you don't write in a linear fashion, getting your story in the proper order during the editing phase will be quite difficult.

This is what I use to write my novels. You can download the software for a free 30-day trial, and then it's a one-time payment of about $60. It's essentially a digital three-ring binder, so you can keep your story notes, your manuscript, and anything else all neatly in one file.


Pros:

  • It's designed for creative writing, so you can write scenes in whatever order you please and rearrange them with a simple drag-and-drop feature.

  • Everything related to your story can go in one file.

  • Files can be exported as Word documents, .pdfs, and other formats.

Cons:

  • It is a paid option.

  • There's a bit of a learning curve (though it comes with an extensive, helpful user's manual).

  • Formatting is a bit of a hassle.


Formatters

This software doubles as a word processor and a formatter. I haven't used the word processor function, but the formatting is so simple and straightforward. Simply upload your novel as a Word document, customize the features, and download it as either a .pdf or an .epub.


Pros:

  • It's incredibly straightforward and easy to use.

  • It comes with a variety of fonts and other customizable options.

  • It doubles as a word processor, so you could write your novel on it instead of uploading it.

Cons:

  • It comes with a one-time payment of about $150.

  • Some of the customizing can get a bit difficult; there's lots of trial and error involved.


Publishers

1. KDP

This is by far the easiest self-publishing option. The website is user-friendly and walks you through the process step-by-step. It publishes directly to Amazon and has the options of Kindle, paperback, and hardback books.


Pros:

  • It's free to upload, with unlimited file revisions.

  • It publishes directly to Amazon.

  • It has multiple print sizes for both paperbacks and hardbacks.

Cons:

  • It only publishes to Amazon.

  • Pre-orders are only available for ebooks.

  • The only option for hardbacks is case laminate; dust jackets are currently unavailable.


This is essentially the B&N version of KDP. The process is simple and user-friendly, and it has the options of Nook, paperback, and hardback books.


Pros:

  • It's free to upload, with unlimited file revisions.

  • It has multiple print sizes for both paperbacks and hardbacks.

  • It allows for both case laminate and dust jacket hardback options.

  • It allows for pre-orders of both ebooks and physical copies.

Cons:

  • It only publishes to B&N.


This is a higher-end publishing option, more for those who are interested in selling physical copies over digital. They distribute books to major retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and they also offer the options of bookstores and libraries.


Pros:

  • It's a single upload point that will then distribute your novel to major retailers. That means less work for you.

  • It has multiple print sizes for both paperbacks and hardbacks.

  • It allows for both case laminate and dust jacket hardback options.

  • It allows for pre-orders of both ebooks and physical copies.

Cons:

  • The process is lengthy and a bit tedious, with lots of information to fill out.

  • Customer service is not great.

(Note: I attempted to use IngramSpark earlier this year and had a rather bad experience. They have recently made some changes to their process, however, including removing their $49 initial upload fee. In light of that, I'm considering trying them again.)


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1 Comment


Saraina Whitney
Saraina Whitney
May 17, 2023

Oo, this is a really helpful post!!! Thank you for sharing these resources! ✨

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