The Best Book Editing Software For Modern Authors

This article profiles some of the best types of book editing software available for authors today.

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 storm of confusing emotions and thoughts.

When writers finally finish writing 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.

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 these apps and realize that the post-writing stages are not frightening at all. Some even pair nicely with your note-taking apps of choice!

Apps We Recommend

ProductAvailabilityUse ForFree Trial Learn More

Browser, web and desktop appsGrammar checking, self-editing, plagiarism reportsYesLearn More
Prowritingaid logo

Desktop appGrammar checking, self-editing, plagiarism reportsYesLearn More

Desktop & iOS appLong form writing projects$45Learn More

Living Writer
Web and mobileStory outlines, novels14-daysLearn More

1. ProWritingAid

Use for: Self-editing
Pricing: Free to a one-time payment of $240

ProwritingAid grammar checker
Business writers can use ProWritingAid to create a style guide and share with others on their teams

ProWritingAid is a popular alternative to Grammarly for authors.

You can use it to edit your writing for typos, grammar mistakes and to 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 analyze up to 3,000 words with the free version so you might want to upgrade to a Premium account.

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

If you write fiction or use Scrivener, this app should form a key part of your writing process. Basically, you can use the app 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 and anyone who likes Scrivener.

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

  • Works with Scrivener
  • Ideal for fiction authors
  • No mobile apps
  • Not a replacement for a proofreader
Ideal for Fiction Writers

ProWritingAid is a powerful, accurate grammar checker and style editor. It's suitable for fiction writers and doesn't require a monthly subscription.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

2. Grammarly

Use for: Checking your work for grammar mistakes
Pricing: From $29.95 per month to $11.66 for an annual subscription

Grammarly grammar checker
Grammarly works everywhere via plugins, add-ons and dedicated apps for Android, iOS, Apple Mac and Windows

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

It will help you check your work for grammatical 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 recently rolled out a business version that includes collaboration features like a dedicated style guide.

This is particularly useful for those who write 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. 

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

Grammarly is a top spelling, grammar and plagiarism checker. It'll help you find and fix errors fast, and it works everywhere. The free trial is useful too.

Become a Writer Today is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

3. Scrivener

Use for: Writing books and longer-form works
Pricing: $45

Scrivener includes drag and drop functionality for moving different parts of your book

If you plan to edit 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 the first draft, read for a final edit, and so on. 

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

These options make it easier to see at a glance at what stage individual parts of your manuscript are at before sending to an editor.

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

  • Built for authors
  • Ideal for large projects
  • Modest learning curve
  • Requires customization

4. AutoCrit

Use for: Manuscript writing
Pricing: From free to $80 a month

Book editing report
  AutoCrit will analyze your entire manuscript and suggest insightful improvements

Real authors rarely rely on an automated editing software, but AutoCrit is worth considering.

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.

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

5. Hemingway App

Use for: Self-editing
Pricing: From free to $19.99 per month

Hemingway Editor
Hemingway App will help you edit a book, so its style is simpler and more captivating

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

As an author, you can easily accomplish that for free with Hemingway App. It highlights adverbs in blue and instances of passive voice in green. The Hemingway App also indicates complicated turns of phrase. 

This online tool will help you edit a book, so its style is simpler and more captivating.

  • Free
  • Built with Ernest Hemingway's style in mind
  • No grammar checking
  • No plagiarism checking

6. Vellum

Use for: Preparing a book to self-publish
Pricing: From $199.99 to $249.99

Vellum graphical user interface
Unlike Adobe InDesign, Vellum is relatively easy to use

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

Unlike Adobe InDesign, Vellum is relatively easy to use. You can even drag and drop chapters of your manuscript and format an entire book in an hour or two. This software will help you assemble a series of books, produce advance copies, and add store and social media links and other media.

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

Vellum is available only on Mac for now.

  • Considerably easier than learning Adobe InDesign
  • Great looking book templates
  • Pricey
  • Mac only

7. Google Docs

Use for: Reviewing and tracking changes
Pricing: Free

Google Docs Grammar Checker
Google Docs simplifies reviewing and tracking changes

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

For authors on a budget, Google Docs is a good choice because it’s free and most people (i.e. an editor) are familiar with it.

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

8. SmartEdit

Use for: Checking your work for grammar mistakes
Pricing: From $77 to $139

Word grammar checker
One of the rare online tools specifically designed for revising novels and short stories

This is one of the rare online tools specifically designed for revising novels and short stories. This means 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 flaws when reviewing a draft.

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

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

9. WordRake

Use for:  Proofreading your work
Pricing: From $129 to $399

WordRake Graphical user interface, text, application
WordRake increases your awareness of clunky language and unnecessary words

Your book will magically become more appealing when you cut all unnecessary phrases and words. That’s difficult to do when you read the draft version.

WordRake proofreading software for Microsoft Word increases your awareness of clunky language and unnecessary words, kind of like Hemingway App.

  • Works in line with your manuscript
  • Identifies useless words
  • Pricey considering its Word-only
  • Not author specific

10. After The Deadline

Use for:  Checking your work for grammar mistakes
Pricing: Free

After the Deadline graphical user interface
After the Deadline offers explanations that help you make the text flawless and more readable

This grammar checker is much more efficient than Microsoft Word’s grammar and spelling features. The main difference is that After the Deadline considers context.

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

  • Useful if you're stuck
  • Accurate
  • Not suitable for large manuscripts
  • Online only

Need An Online Editor For Your Book?

Many writers are comfortable editing drafts or books on their computers using applications like MS Word or Scrivener. If you’d rather edit a draft online, the tools in this guide can help.00

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

Hemingway Editor is a good choice if you need free writing and editing software. Paste your chapters in one by one.

This app identifies needless adjectives and adverbs that you should cut. Both Hemingway Editor and Grammarly can help improve sentence structure.

Google Docs is a good draft online editor for collaborative writers. It includes a revision history and backs-up automatically.

The Grammarly web app is particularly useful for revising drafts on the go. You can copy a draft from Microsoft Word or Scrivener and set writing goals like word counts, tone of voice, style and so on. The premium version will help you improve your writing skills, as it provides additional context to errors and editing mistakes.

The new version of Grammarly Business 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 languages other than British, American and Canadian English.

It also includes a handy custom dictionary. It's a nice feature for copy editors on a team, spread across locations. It can also help fiction writers who use odd character names.

Why You Can Trust Us

I’ve written and published dozens of articles for newspapers, magazines and online publications including, Forbes and Lifehacker. I'm also a best-selling non-fiction author, a trained journalist and a copywriter.

Our Testing Criteria

I update this roundup regularly to bear in mind new features for each of the book writing tools listed. I typically take a draft book chapter of over a thousand words in length. I then compare each tool to see what's it's like to edit that chapter. I also evaluate based on the cost and ease of use.

The Final Word On Book Editing Software

Novel writing is hard work. When you finish the 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 the draft without falling behind. The tools in this guide should form part of your workflow before publishing your next book.

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

No software can replace an actual editor, so this list offers a versatile collection of online resources. The right combination of tools will help you polish your manuscript to perfection.

You have no need to be afraid of the editing stages. Just make your manuscript as clean as possible before forwarding it to your editor. Just remember to work with an editor and proofreader for longer pieces of work.

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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