If you’re on a budget and are looking for free software to write your next book on, we’ve scoured the Internet and have compiled a list of writing apps for Mac, PC, Android, IOS and Linux.
Programs that have free trials or links to “upgrade” are not included as many times they only provide partial functionality – even though they still might be good 🙂
In this article we’ll only feature the free stuff. In no particular order, here we go:
Google Docs – Almost everyone has a Gmail/Google account, so why not use their built in word processor to write a book? Google Docs will auto save as you write, so you don’t have to worry about losing your creative work. You can even export ebook in .epub format! Works on any computer that is online – so you can continue working on your novel at home, work or while traveling.
One really great feature with Google Docs is the Google Voice Typing dictation feature. Just sit back, relax and start talking. Google Docs will translate your speech to text. Edit as needed later.
Here’s a video tutorial on writing a book on Google Docs:
Notepad for Windows – Well, this may not be the best option, but it is free already installed on your Windows computer.
Just search for “Notepad” on your PC and the program should pop up.
yWriter 4, 5 & 6 – yWriter is a free writing program by Simon Haynes and is currently available for Windows, Android, iOS and Linux.
“yWriter is a word processor which breaks your novel into chapters and scenes, helping you keep track of your work while leaving your mind free to create”.
Here is a video tutorial by Carey Green which shows you how one author created his book using yWriter:
WordCradle – This is a cool web based writing app where you can create an account for free. Create characters, chapters and brainstorm your plot from anywhere you can access the Internet. Collaborate and be motived by other writers using the “pals” feature. Here’s a tutorial overview on YouTube…
Open Office – This is an set of office applications just like Microsoft Office, but totally free and open source. Available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Dropbox Paper – I haven’t tried this one yet, but have seen it mentioned so may be worth checking out. Here’s an article from the National Novel Writing Month on the subject: 7 Tips to Write Your Novel with Dropbox Paper.
FocusWriter – Another truly totally free application with versions for Linux, Windows and Mac. Option to tip the creator when you download. What I love about FocusWriter is the distraction free writing feature. Other features include typewriter sound effects, spell checking, timers and more. Here’s a screenshot below… beautiful in my opinion 🙂
PageFour – As of December 2017, this software is now free to download, with one catch – it is no longer under development. Even so, it still looks like a pretty good option to write your next novel with features such as dictionaries in multiple languages, organization options, character summaries, search, password protection and more. Available for Windows.
WriteWay – Available for Windows, it is packed with features such as book organization into acts, chapters and scenes. Outlining, front/back matter pages, dictionary & thesaurus, character profiles, word & page count, statistics, text to speech, RTF, PDF, HTML, .doc & docx export file formats and more.
Reedsy Book Editor – To be honest, I couldn’t get this to work when I signed up, but have seen it mentioned many times so am including it on the list. I’ll keep trying to figure it out and perhaps reach out to them to see what I’m doing wrong – or if it requires a paid account. Not sure. I’ll report back and update this post when I get it figured out 🙂
Apple iBooks Author – Originally I thought this was a paid program, but it appears to be free. Personally I have used the paid version in the past, but according to their App store it does indeed appear to be free.
Sigil eBook – Just when you thought there were no more apps available, here’s yet another free one. This one is like Word or LibreOffice but specific for EPUB ebooks. Many features including plugins, available for Mac, Windows, Linux. WYSIWYG editing, Metadata editor, spell checking, style sheets and more. Here’s a thorough video tutorial on how to write an ebook using Sigil.
LibreOffice – Yet another free office suite similar to Open Office.
ZenPen – This is a simple web browser based distraction free writing app that lets you write and save your work as HTML, Markdown or plain text format. Features full screen mode, word count and a darker night mode.
Q10 – Free, lightweight, full screen text editor packed with features such as live statistics, page count, portable (use a pendrive if you wish), timer alarm, spell checking, typing sound effects, autosaving and more.
WriteMonkey – Available for Windows, WriteMonkey is a stripped down writing application with plugins, pomodoro timer, visual progress bar, corkboard and more.
iOS and Android Apps:
There are too many mobile apps to mention, but here are a few you can start with if you are interested in writing on the go…
Hanx Writer for iPhone & iPad – Recreate the Experience of a Manual Typewriter
Writer for Android – jamesmcminn.com
Writer Plus for Android – writer.plus
Monospace Writer for Android
There may be other free writing apps we have not mentioned here, so if you know of one you think should be included, please let us know in the comments below.