It’s time to write your book. What tools do you need to get the job done though? Book writing software comes in all shapes and sizes. A long time ago, writers were limited to pencil and pen or a typewriter, but not today. Writers can use any number of software platforms, sourced in an app, a program or on-line.

I’m going to go over a few of the more prominent book writing software programs currently available to writers, discussing what I believe are the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Book Writing Software: Microsoft Word

Microsoft’s word-processing suite has been the go-to book writing software for writers since the early 1990’s. There is a very good reason for that too. If you have a computer, which you more than likely do, it likely already has a perfectly good copy of Microsoft Word on it.

Word is everywhere. It’s on the library’s computers. It’s on your work computer. You cannot escape it.

One of the main advantages of Word is that ubiquitous quality. Since the software is everywhere, you’re not going to need to lay out any money right away. Word is also a very sturdy program. Writing on the current version of Word is a reliable platform for your work.

There are a few disadvantages of Word, however, issues worth mentioning. For one, if you don’t have a copy of the program already, it can be expensive. Downloading the full suite of Office software costs upwards of $200. Using their current subscription service business model, the sticker price comes down a bit to be a little less expensive, but the cost of staying in the current version is a steady chunk of money every month.

What About Dedicated Book Writing Software?

When I refer to “dedicated book writing software” I’m talking about niche programs like ScriveneryWriter, or Ulysses. Programs like these offer you basic word processing functionality, streamlined and augmented for a writer’s needs.

There is a lot to like about these providers, especially Scrivener, which many writers I know swear up and down by. The advantage of dedicated book writing software is that all of the functionality is tailored to writer’s demands. They help organize manuscripts, specifically elements like character and setting. This software lacks a lot of unnecessary functionality that broader scoped programs like Word need to appeal to general users. 

The disadvantages of software like this are numerous. One, they’re not commonly used programs. If you’re using Scrivener, you can rest assured that community-based computer, or the computer at your Aunt Laura’s when you go visit, won’t have what you need. Another is that these smaller programs are less sturdy than the larger competitors, given to more glitches and functionality concerns.

If you want reliability and flexibility, this may not the place to go.

The Advantage Of Google Docs

This is where I think book writing software is going in the not so distant future. Google Docs is a robust, flexible, based in the cloud service that is available anywhere you go. It is an amazing service, an entire suite available for free with your Google account.

Those are the clear advantages of using Google Docs. Anywhere you can log into a browser, you can access all of a;; your book files. It makes writing in mobile situations as easy as writing at home. Talk about robust, too. Google Docs’ auto-save functions makes losing your work a near impossibility.

If you feel like the transition to Google Docs might be difficult, think again. You can upload Word files into Google Docs as well as download those same files back into a Word format, so you can share your work freely.

I have been using Google Docs for six months and I feel like I’m never going back.

There is one clear potential disadvantage to Google Docs. If you have any hesitation about buying into the “Google World” this is not for you. If you’re not interested in streaming your life in with their universal influence, you may well want to look elsewhere.