The Best Book Editing Software For Modern Authors

best book editing softwareWhat book editing software should authors use?

Ask any author which part of his job he would like to avoid, and you’ll hear the same answer: editing.

The writing itself is a torturous process, since writers are struggling with a torpedo of confusing emotions and thoughts.

When they are finally done with the book, they have to face another challenge: fixing what they thought was perfect.

Writers usually like leaving this part to professional editors, but they still have to go through the first draft several times before publishing it.

The book editing tools in this guide cover different aspects of the editing process: spelling, grammar, logic, background information, repetitiveness, and readability.

It won’t take much time for you to test them and realize that the post-writing stages are not frightening at all. Some of them even pair nicely with your note-taking apps of choice!

BEST BOOK EDITING SOFTWARE
GRAMMARLY
  • Easy to use thanks to a great user interface
  • Features a powerful online grammar checker
  • Great writing insights
TRY GRAMMARLY →
PROWRITINGAID
  • Relatively accurate
  • Lots of nice features for self-editing
  • Suitable for fiction writers and Scrivener fans
TRY PROWRITINGAID →
SCRIVENER
  • Great for editing large manuscripts
  • Powerful writing and self-publishing features
  • Affordable
TRY SCRIVENER →

1. ProWritingAid

ProwritingAid grammar checker
Editing a book in ProWritingAid

ProWritingAid is a popular alternative to Grammarly for authors.

You can use it to edit your writing for typos, grammar mistakes and also check for plagiarism. Writers can also add custom words, like character names, to the ProWritingAid dictionary.

The point of ProWritingAid is to improve the readability of your writing and eliminate all grammar issues. You can analyse a text of up to 3000 words with the free version, so you might want to upgrade to a Premium account.

Business writers can also use ProWritingAid to create a style guide and share with others on their teams.

If you write fiction or use Scrivener, it should form a key part of your writing process as it works directly with that app. Basically, you can use it to check and edit all of your manuscript at once inside of Scrivener.

A desktop app is available for Windows and Mac.

Both Grammarly and ProWritingAid are part of my daily writing process. I usually recommend ProWritingAid to fiction writers.

If you want to learn more, read this review of ProWritingAid vs Grammarly

Pros
  • Works with Scrivener
  • Ideal for fiction authors
Cons
  • No mobile apps
  • Not a replacement for a proofreader… but none of these tools are

2. Grammarly

Grammarly grammar checker
Grammarly in action

Grammarly is a top editing tool used by writers and authors in many different genres.

It will help you check your work for grammar mistakes, typos and inadvertent issues of plagiarism. You can paste chapters of a book into Grammarly or alternatively use the dedicated plugin for Google Docs or Chrome.

Grammarly also recently rolled out a business version which includes collaboration features like a dedicated style guide.

This is particularly useful for those writer a lot of non-fiction as you can collaborate on ebooks with other team members.

Grammarly works everywhere via plugins, add-ons and dedicated apps for Android, iOS, Apple Mac and Windows. It also works with Microsoft Word.

It’s not built with novelists in mind though, and you will need to check chapters individually using the desktop app. Still, it’s a good writing tool to consider. 

Pros
  • Free version available
  • Works everywhere
Cons
  • Not possible to paste in an entire book at once
  • Not a replacement for a human editor or proofreader

3. Scrivener

Graphical user interface, application, ProWritingAid
Scrivener

If you plan on editing a book yourself before hiring an editor, Scrivener is a good choice. You can set a target word-count and custom status for individual chapters and parts of your book including: first draft, read for a final edit and so on. 

It also includes drag and drop functionality for moving around different parts of your book. 

These makes it easier to see at a glance what stage individual parts of your book manuscript are at before pressing publish.

Scrivener also includes a distraction-free mode if you want to line edit a troublesome chapter without losing focus. Basically, it presents you with your manuscript and hides the desktop.

Pros
  • Built for authors
  • Ideal for large projects
Cons
  • Modest learning curve
  • Requires come customisation to get right

4. AutoCrit

Book editing report
AutoCrit

Real authors rarely rely on automated editing software, but AutoCrit is different.

This tool will analyze your entire manuscript and suggest insightful improvements in terms of repetition, word choice, the strength of writing, pacing and momentum, and more.

The report will force you to rethink every sentence and paragraph you’ve written. It’s a good choice if you write short stories and fiction.

Pros
  • Built for novelists
  • Genre-based suggestions
Cons
  • Not as accurate or feature rich as Grammarly
  • Expensive considering what it does

5. Hemingway App

Hemingway Editor
Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway famously advised writers to kill adverbs and the passive voice from their books.

As an author, you can easily do it for free with this Hemingway App. It will highlight adverbs in blue and instances of passive in green. Hemingway Editor will also indicate when you use complicated turns of phrase. 

This online tool will help you edit a book so it’s style is simpler and more captivating.

Pros
  • Free
  • Built with Ernest Hemingway in mind
Cons
  • No grammar checking
  • No plagiarism checking

6. Vellum

Vellum graphical user interface
Vellum

Vellum is a a type of book editing software for formatting manuscripts into stand-out Apple, Kobo and Kindle ebooks as well as print books.

Unlike Adobe InDesign, it’s relatively easy to use. It also includes functionality for indie authors series about creating high-quality books. You can even drag and drop chapters of your manuscript.

It will help you assemble a series of books, produce advance copies, add store links, social media links, and other media.

I used Vellum regularly before self-publishing books on stores like Amazon.

Vellum is Mac only for now.

Pros
  • Way easier than learning Adobe InDesign
  • Great looking book templates
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Mac only

7. Google Docs

Google Docs Grammar Checker
Google Docs

I’ve used Google docs extensively to collaborate on book chapters with an editor who lives in a different zone. Google Docs simplifies reviewing and tracking changes. It also includes a commenting feature and revision history.

For authors on a budget, Google Docs book editing software is a good choice because it’s free. You can of course use a word processor like Word to replicate many of these features too.

Pros
  • Free
  • Ideal for collaboration
Cons
  • Hard to navigate large manuscripts
  • Working online gets distracting

8. SmartEdit

Word grammar checker
SmartEdit

This is one of the rare online tools that are specifically for revising novels and short stories. This means that you won’t need to cut the text into several sections just to run it through the software.

Although SmartEdit cannot replace a real editor, it will help you spot most of the flaws when you go through your own draft.

The tool runs a series of 20 individual checks on the content. Then, it highlights the possible problems such as misused or misspelt words, adverbs, repetitive words and phrases, and more.

Pros
  • Works with Word
  • Built with novelists in mind
Cons
  • Meant for Word only
  • Less options and suggestions than Grammarly

9. WordRake

WordRake Graphical user interface, text, application
WordRake

Your book will magically become more appealing when you cut out all unnecessary phrases and words.

That’s a difficult thing to do when you read the draft version, since you want to express yourself with as many words as possible.

WordRake proofreading software will increase your awareness: you can make a stronger impression by using fewer words.

Pros
  • Works in-line with your manuscript
  • Identifies useless words
Cons
  • Quite pricey considering it’s Word-only
  • Not author specific

10. After the Deadline

After the Deadline graphical user interface
After the Deadline

This is a grammar checker that’s much more efficient than Word’s Grammar and Spelling feature. The main difference is that After the Deadline focuses on context.

When you run the content through this software, it will underline all potential issues. However, the tool also offers explanations that help you make the text flawless and more readable.

Automated tools are great for conducting spelling and grammar checks, but don’t forget that you shouldn’t trust them unconditionally.

No software can replace an actual editor, which is why we offered a versatile collection of online resources. The right combination of tools will help you polish out your manuscript to perfection.

There is no need to be afraid of the editing stages.

You don’t have to aim for perfection when you try to proofread and edit the book you wrote; just make it as clean as possible before forwarding it to the editor.

Pros
  • Useful if you’re stuck
  • Accurate
Cons
  • Not meant for large manuscripts
  • Online online

Need an Online Editor Your Book?

Many writers are comfortable editing drafts or books on their computer using  applications like MS Word or Scrivener. If you’d rather edit a draft online, good news. Many of the tools in this guide will help.

That said, here are a few of my preferred first draft online editors:

I like Hemingway Editor. If you need free writing and editing software, start here. Just paste, your chapters in one-by-one.

It identifies needless adjectives and adverbs that you should cut from later drafts. Both Hemingway Editor and Grammarly can help improve sentence structure.

Next up:

Google Docs is a good draft online editor for writers who work with editors in different locations. It includes a revision history and backs-up your Google doc automatically.

The Grammarly web app is particularly useful for revising drafts on the go. You can copy a draft from Word or Scrivener and setting writing goals like word counts, tone of voice, style and so on. 

The new version of Grammarly Business also includes enhanced collaboration features for larger writing projects. 

For example, authors can share their work with a book editor and even create a custom style guide. However, it doesn’t support multiple languages beyond British, American and Canadian english.

That dictionary for copy editors on a team, spread across locations. It can also help fiction writers who use lots of odd character names!

The premium version will also help you improve your writing skills as it provides additional context to errors and other editing mistakes.

The Final Word On Book Editing Software

Novel writing is hard work. When you finish a first draft, you’re still left with the challenge of turning it into something publishable.

Thankfully, with the right book editing software you can quickly and easily edit it without falling behind. The tools in this guide should form part of your workflow before publishing your next book.

Just remember to work with a proofreader and editor too for longer pieces of work.

Want more? Check out this list of writing apps.

BEST GRAMMAR CHECKER: Top 4
GRAMMARLY
  • Easy to use thanks to a great user interface
  • Features a powerful online grammar checker
  • Great writing insights
TRY GRAMMARLY →
PROWRITINGAID
  • Relatively accurate
  • Lots of nice features for self-editing
  • Suitable for fiction writers and Scrivener fans
TRY PROWRITINGAID →
GINGER
  • Free version of Ginger is relatively powerful
  • Useful for non-English native speakers
  • Personal dictionary a nice addition
TRY GINGER →
WHITESMOKE
  • Accurate
  • Relatively easy to use
  • Suitable for businesses
TRY WHITESMOKE →

Book Editing Software FAQs

What are the three basic steps in editing?

Every manuscript goes through at least 3 stages: a structural edit, a line edit and proofread.

What does a book editor do?

A book editor will check the structure of your book, copy or line edit parts of it and potentially proofread it. It depends on who you hire and how much you pay.

What are the different types of book editing?

There are several types of book editing, including developmental or structural editing, line or copy editing, proofreading and fact-checking.

What is the best book editing software?

Scrivener and Google Docs are both useful for book editing. Scrivener enables you to track the status of individual chapters. Google Docs is built for collaboration with an editor and other writers.

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10 thoughts on “The Best Book Editing Software For Modern Authors”

  1. Hi .. Love the helps and will bookmark or copy link in my writer’s helps! I am 60% done with ‘rough draft’. Long story but it didn’t begin with an outline (not my fault ?). So it’s taken longer due to that and illness along the way> Hope all is well with you and yours and your readers! God Bless and thanks! Rick

    PS read and trying the Hemingway app I hope!

    1. Hello Rick,
      I am bookmarking the above names as well,
      I am enjoying all this “inside” time and writing away. I hope you are feeling better and will read your book when it’s ready. One of mine is out already, but I’m at the beginning of my path. Take care.
      Thank you website, I just discovered a bunch of programs that can help me, Hemingway and AutoCrit sound interesting.
      Have a great day everyone.

  2. Some great tips here, thanks! I use Autocrit all the time. The lovely Leona Hinton just wrote a guest post on my blog you might find equally helpful: 10 Power Tools to Make You an Editing Wizard (http://goo.gl/6tUu5s). Thanks!

  3. Thanks for sharing your wonderful collection. I’m not really a writer but i do blog but not all the time. I haven’t hears most of the tools you shared but this will be very helpful. Proofreading is a very time consuming task and by using a tool, it will save you tons of time.

  4. Thank you so much for including us on this great list, Robert! I hope some of your readers give ProWritingAid a try.

    All the best,

    Lisa Lepki
    ProWritingAid

  5. If you love to write and doing job as a content writer you should use these tools for edit your content.

  6. Bobbie Lee Robinson

    Hi, I’m Bobbie Lee Robinson, I’m a former death row inmate who lived 17 feet from Florida’s electric chair for 20 years. Doing this horrendous experienced I wrote a book title”They gave me the electric chair and i gave it back”. Most professors like Charles Ogletree at Harvard university,and Sharon Lower at Florida International university compared my story to the movie”green miles”. And the few editors i dealt with compared my trial scene to the movie”Justice for all by Al Pacino”. All I’m seeking is for the opportunity to tell my side of the story. And the possibility of you being that person to make it a reality. I thank you for your time and consideration,and i look forward to hearing from you. My #(786) 227-2728

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