Software for writing a book: Which one is the best for you

If you’re just starting out, I’m sure you’re wondering if there’s such thing as software for writing a book.

The short answer is yes, there is a software just for writing a book. What’s even better, you can run the software on Windows or Mac.

Heck, you can even use the same software on your phone too. Now you can write whenever inspirations strike you since what you write on your phone will be synced with the file on your computer as well.

Just like any other software out there, this software will depend on what kind of writer you are.

And let’s not forget that this is software we’re talking about here. Some writing software will have a steep learning curve. So, you may need to take some time to familiarize with the software before you begin writing.

With so many software for writing a book to choose from, here are some of the software you can use to write a book. And it’s possible that you already have this software installed on your computer as well.

The available software for writing a book

Microsoft Word

I’m sure that Microsoft Word comes to mind when we’re talking about the software for writing a book.

And you’re right about that. Microsoft Word is indeed one of the software you can use to write a book. Heck, you can even use it to design a book cover.

Yes, you read that right. You can use Microsoft Word to design a book cover not just for your ebook, but for your print book as well.

I’ll be covering more about using Microsoft Word to design a book cover in the book cover section of the guide. But for now, you should rejoice since you can use Microsoft Word for doing the essential part of self-publishing your book.

Don’t have Microsoft Word on your computer? Well, don’t worry since you can buy the full version online or at your local computer store.

If you don’t feel like buying the full version, you can also use Microsoft Word Online which is available for free. All you need to do is to register or sign up with your MSN or Skype account and you’re good to go.

Even if you can use Microsoft Word Online for free, I still recommend you to get the full version since the Insert Bookmark feature is only available in the full version of Microsoft Word. You need the Insert Bookmark feature to create Table of Contents for your ebook.

In case you’re wondering, I’m still using Microsoft Word to this day even after years of becoming a full-time author.

Who should be using Microsoft Word

Recommended for those who are just starting out. It’s also perfect for those who are a plotter since plotters tend to write a book in sequence rather than in a jumbled order.

I’m a plantser which is a combination of a plotter and a pantser. But I’m more of a plotter since I prefer to write in sequence. I feel more organized that way.

How to get Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is already pre-installed for the most part if you’re using Windows computer. If it doesn’t, then you need to buy Microsoft Office.

In addition to Microsoft Word, you will also get Excel and PowerPoint when you buy Microsoft Office.

Microsoft Office is also available for Mac as well.

WPS Writer

WPS Writer works more or less the same as Microsoft Word. Even the interface looks similar to Microsoft Word too.

What makes WPS Writer stands out is how lightweight the program is compared to Microsoft Word. If you’re like me who has a problem with Microsoft Word keep crashing, then WPS Writer is a much better alternative to Microsoft Word.

The free version of WPS Writer allows you to generate Table of Contents which is only available for the full version of Microsoft Word.

The downside of WPS Writer is you can’t use the custom fonts that you downloaded online. That’s what I notice when I realize that the same fonts I use on Microsoft Word aren’t available on WPS Writer.

Another thing I notice about WPS Writer is that it can mess with the formatting of the original Microsoft Word file. That’s what I notice when some words are missing the space in between in the Microsoft Word file that I open using WPS Writer.

Even worst? There are a lot of problems that I have to fix!

The good news is these problems go away when I open the same file in Microsoft Word.

There’s no doubt that you can use WPS Writer to open any Microsoft Word files. But be wary that the transition may not go as smooth as you thought it would be.

Who should be using WPS Writer

WPS Writer is perfect for those who are looking for the free alternative to Microsoft Word and you have yet to write a single word or do any major formatting for your book.

Since it works more or less the same as Microsoft Word, you can also use it to design a book cover for the ebook and print version. But you may not have many font choices since the fonts that you install on Microsoft Word aren’t compatible in WPS Writer.

How to get WPS Writer

You can get WPS Writer by installing WPS Office. In addition to WPS Writer, you will also get WPS Presentation and WPS Spreadsheet when you install WPS Office.

You can also purchase the premium version of WPS Office if you want more features such as more fonts option.

Google Docs

Google Docs is another software you can use to write a book. And it’s free too.

The interface looks similar to Microsoft Word, so it shouldn’t be hard for you to get used to it.

Unlike Microsoft Word, the functions in Google Docs are rather limited. It works just fine if you’re looking for a software that allows you to write a book on any device.

But if you want it to do other things such as formatting and doing a book cover design, you may not be able to do that with Google Docs.

Who should be using Google Docs

Due to its online nature, Google Docs is perfect if you’re co-writing a book with another person.

You can access the file through your Google Drive. Using Google Docs to co-write a book will save you the hassle from having to keep emailing the file back-to-back.

And the changes that you make on the file will be synced immediately too.

How to get Google Docs

You can get Google Docs when you install Backup and Sync from Google. In addition to Google Docs, you will also get Google Slides and Google Spreadsheets when you install Backup and Sync from Google.


While many authors that I know use Scrivener to write a book, you can use Scrivener for any long-form writing such as screenwriting and academic paper.

On the surface, Scrivener doesn’t seem like worth getting it because it doesn’t look much different than any other software for writing a book out there.

But what makes Scrivener different is it makes it easier for you to organize your writing.

Have a cool idea for a scene but you don’t know which chapter to fit the scene? You can create a new file within your Scrivener dashboard and write the scene.

If you no longer need the scene, you don’t have to include the file with the scene you write previously. You can select whichever file you want when you compile it into a complete manuscript.

While Scrivener seems more for those who write fiction, you can also use it to write nonfiction books and academic papers too.

Does your writing process require you to have a look at the reference materials?  

You can also use Scrivener to organize your reference materials. Rather than searching all over your computer for your reference materials, you can access them directly from your Scrivener dashboard.

The only downside about Scrivener is it can be confusing when you’re using it for the first time.

If you’re thinking of getting Scrivener, I highly recommend you to download the trial version and watch the tutorial video to get an idea on how Scrivener works.

Who should be using Scrivener

If you’re a pantser, there’s no doubt that Scrivener is a heaven sent for you since you can write whatever scenes or section of the book you want. And you can think of how to organize what you write later.

Scrivener is also perfect for those who write in a genre or anything that depends a lot on the research materials.

How to get Scrivener

Scrivener is available for purchase at Literature and Latte website. You can also download Scrivener trial for Windows and Mac there as well.

Which software you should get?

If you’re just starting out and you prefer a piece of software that can do more than one thing, then there’s no doubt that Microsoft Word is what you should get. I’m pretty sure that it won’t take that long for you to be familiarized with Microsoft Word’s new features and interface, especially if you’ve been using it for as long as I do.

If you’re planning to co-write a book, you can also use Microsoft Office Online to do just that. But it may not be convenient for some people since not many people have an MSN account. If you’re more into co-writing, then Google Docs is perfect for you.

If you’re pantser and you’re planning to write for the long haul, then it doesn’t hurt to invest in a good writing software like Scrivener. After all, Scrivener doesn’t just make your writing process much easier. It can also speed up your writing process too.