Have you ever wondered what’s the best program for you to use as an author?
I have and every day I’m constantly searching for the current best and greatest ones. Both paid or free. Today is no different. Along with some websites I visit to make the process a little easier, I wanted to be of some help to the next upcoming best-selling author and list a few tools I’m using this month to help me in my writing process.
- SmartEdit Writer
Software created by Literature and Latte
It is the only commercial writing program on my list at the moment. For the past couple of years, I used Scrivener. The main novel-writing program that many authors swear by. The reason it’s number two on my list and not number one. It’s simple. I’m not using it right now.
I won’t go into too much detail about all the bells and whistles this software can do to make writing your book a breeze. There are many websites that can do that. Instead, I will tell you why I’m not using it.
During my writing process. I get distracted off and on while operating it. Making getting through the writing phase much slower than I’d like. The clunky, overstuffed toolbar along with the ever-growing binder with all the folders and documents.
Yes, I know there is a distraction-free mode. However, since I’m using Windows, my experience with Scrivener, though good I wouldn’t say it’s entirely the best it could be. This is coming from someone that also used the Mac version of the program. Which means we’re missing a lot of features that the Mac audience has already.
The version for Windows is still Scrivener 1. That was built during the time Windows 7 was still the main operating system. Bugs and all.
However, I know that Literature and Latte are making the third version of this lovely program the best it can be for its release on Windows. Whenever that will be. Which leaves me to my next option.
Software created by Bad Wolf Software
This program though not as robust as Scrivener does most of the things I need it too. From using folders and placing documents inside them. Rearranging them however I’d like. Plotting and outlining freely, to adding pictures, files, and images.
SmartEdit Writer also has a built-in self-editing tool to make it a little easier during you’re editing phase of your book. Sure it’s not as great as ProWriting Aid or AutoCrit. But it’s still a good tool to have in your arsenal. At first, when the program was created by Bad Wolf Software he called it Atomic Scribbler.
SmartEdit was a separate software from the writing one. You had to pay to use it. Now however with the latest version 7.8, Bad Wolf had combined the two and made it so you can use SmartEdit for free inside the writing program.
If that’s what you’re looking for. You can still go on to his website and purchase it separately and add it to Microsoft Word. You can do a few other things. Such as looking at your daily or monthly word count chart, a built-in character name generator, and the best part for me. You can also use this app in a distraction-free environment. Although not in the same way as with Scrivener.
Software created by Graeme Gott
Is a great app for creating your own environment while your writing. This app’s strictly used for distraction-free writing and nothing else. This helps if you’re looking for a software that doesn’t have all those extra formatting features that take away from when you’re working on your book. This app uses markdown to format its documents. You can also split your document into scenes, but you can rearrange them the way you can in dedicated novel writing programs.
Software Created by Simon Haynes
This is my least used app on my writing program list. Believe me. It’s a great app to use and best of all it’s FREE. Who doesn’t like free software? I do. Only this is an app that doesn’t allow you to have free rein over how you outline and plan out your book. What you get is what it will be straight out of the box. Another downside is that only writes in RTF format. If your looking for an app that does docx exporting. This app isn’t for you.
For my outlining phase. I don’t really use that many apps. I searched around and used a few to see which one I liked best. Over the years, I had to use three apps at a time but none of them ever allowed me to do what I wanted to make it easier to plan out my books.
That is until I came across an app called, Notion. This app prides itself on being an all-in-one place to store all the information you ever want. Becoming your own personal on the go wiki.
They allow for a free version only up to 1000 blocks but once used up, you must purchase a subscription of $4/month to get unlimited usage.
It’s only been my first month on the personal plan, the $4/month plan, and I’m loving it. Another great thing about this website, is that it allows you to turn it into whatever you want it to be to better suit your needs and brain.
I love Notion and am sure I will continue to use it.
If Notion isn’t the app you’re looking for I highly recommend using Trello. It uses a method called Kanban Boards to allow you to plan out anything you want in the format of boards.
You can decorate it by changing the background, making it look however you want it too. Which was one of the main reasons I loved this website so much.
Another option for you is called Airtable. It’s also a great option to plot out your novel or series. It gives you the ability to use a spreadsheet like views, kanban boards, gallery’s for characters, or calenders. I recommend giving it a look to see if this is to your liking.
The online websites I use for this phase of my publishing journey isn’t many. In fact, I use in total there is only four, among the endless websites I used to give pointers during the process.
Because I’m an author on a major budget, I am obligated to self-editing my works, along with finding beta readers, researching websites and lots and lots of reading. I figure the stories will be the best they can be with what I have.
Here’s the list of online programs I use:
- Prowriting Aid
Many of you I’m sure know what the second and third one’s are but for those that don’t know about Hemingway and Fictionary. I’m going to explain it to you.
Hemingway allows you to import documents into the program and helps you to create short, concise sentences, making your writing more readable and enjoyable.
This isn’t free. The version I have is the second one and that was $10. They now have version 3 out which cost a few dollars more than it’s predecessor.
I’m new to this website and have to use it but it looks promising. And since I’m willing to try anything that could help my writing process and make it smoother for me. I don’t see why not to try it.
I won’t comment too much on it since I don’t have the experience to give a proper review on it. But I will tell you that this editing website was built for writers in mind. Specifically for fiction writers. Which I am. Another thing to note is that it is a subscription service costing a total of $20 dollars to use, though you can sign up for a 14 day free trial.
Book Cover Design
For the last second of items among many that I have. I’ll finish with this and tell you about the programs I used to design my book covers. And yes, I design my own covers. I have been doing graphic designs as a hobby since I was in my preteens and I’m now 25 years old. So you can guess that I have a pretty decent grasp on what I’m doing.
Is considered the best alternative to Photoshop, aside from Gimp. A program I still use today, though not as often since purchasing Affinity Photo.
I can honestly say that it was a bit of a learning curve to get a handle on things. I’m still not entirely intuned to everything this app has to offer but I’ve only been using it for a year.
I’m sure given time. I will get all the basics down. You can create amazing covers with this programs, if you know what your doing and have great images.
You will see what I’m talking about once I reveal my final version of my book cover for Past and Present soon.
An app that lets you create the best swirl like textures for your covers for free. Go to their website and download it. I haven’t used it yet. But I have already created some amazing images from this app. I can’t wait to use them on a cover when I get the chance.
Well that’s all I have for you guys for now. If I keep going it will be a very long post and my fingers are tired and I’m sure if you haven’t already. Your probably just as tired of reading this. So I’ll have mercy on you and call it quits here.
I will post another post someday with an update of any new programs I find and use for you all to discover for yourselves.