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12 Tools for Writing a Book Online (Faster)

It's easier than ever before to become a published author online. But, by using the online tools, you can write a book online much faster too!

January 27, 2023
12 Tools for Writing a Book Online (Faster)
All Things Marketing
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No matter how you slice it, there’s just no good way to write a book quickly. Part of what makes books great is the investment of time, energy, and passion needed to bring them to life. That said, there certainly are tools that can speed up the process—especially for first-time authors wanting to author and publish their first book online.

So, since we’re pro all-things-writing at Jasper, we’ve compiled a list of tools to help you write a book online faster. While this list is by no means exhaustive, you’ll find it is a good jumping-off point. 

Staying Organized: Tools for Streamlining Your Workflow

Staying organized is one of the best ways to write faster. Writing a book online is no exception. With a centralized go-to location for all your notes, thoughts, inspiration, and questions, you won’t lose precious writing time rifling through papers on your desk.

1. Evernote

Evernote offers an easy way to save and store text, images, files, and to-do lists in a personal space to support your writing process. Search and keyword tagging help you stay organized as your project gathers momentum. You can also sync your Evernote account between devices, so your research, notes, and writing inspiration are available wherever you happen to be.

Highlights:

Top Features:

  • Browser-based web clipper allows you to grab relevant information and media while you browse the Internet
  • To-do lists help you make the most of research and writing time
  • Calendar/scheduling functionality can sync with your notes
  • Note-taking templates based on the Getting Things Done® (GTD) system

Pros:

  • Well-designed, feature-rich user interface
  • Voice recording functionality adds flexibility for note taking
  • Versatile solution for wide varieties of notes

Cons:

  • Notes containing a lot of rich media can bog down performance
  • Some users report issues with online/offline note syncing
  • Organization at scale increasingly relies on consistent note labeling 

Pricing:

Evernote offers a free subscription plan that includes the following:

  • Note syncing between two devices
  • 60 MB of monthly uploads
  • Note size of 25 MB max
  • Home dashboard and 3 Evernote widgets

Evernote’s paid Personal plan costs $8.99 per month and includes these additional features:

  • Unlimited device syncing
  • 10 GB of monthly uploads
  • 200 MB maximum note size
  • Dashboard customization
  • Google Calendar syncing
  • Offline access on desktop and mobile
  • Custom template creation
  • Image markup

2. Milanote

Milanote presents authors with a different approach to taking and managing notes. Users collate information and media on a digital whiteboard and can organize information visually by dragging it around and adding arrows, comments, and color coding. In addition, whiteboards can be added within whiteboards, giving users added dimensionality to their organization.

Highlights

Top Features:

  • Drag-and-drop organization
  • Web clipper available for both browsers and mobile devices
  • Sharing and real-time collaboration
  • Uploading of common file and image types, e.g., Word docs, PDFs, and JPGs
  • To-do list functionality
  • Free trial available

Pros:

  • Boards can be exported either as (.Pdf or .Png) or in a linear format (.Doc, .Txt, .Md)
  • Intuitive, easy-to-navigate interface
  • View/Edit permissioning available when sharing boards
  • Some users specifically appreciate Milanote’s simple, visual approach to note taking / white boarding

Cons:

  • No tracking of edit history available
  • No calendar feature
  • Web-based only
  • Some users also report performance issues as rich media is added to boards
  • Limited type customization

Pricing:

Milanote offers a free plan which includes the following:

  • 100 Notes, images, and links
  • 10 File uploads
  • Unlimited board sharing

Their paid per-person plan is $12.50 per month and offers some upgrades:

  • Unlimited notes, images, and links
  • Unlimited file uploads
  • Unlimited shared boards

3. Google Drive

Google Drive, Google’s cloud-based storage solution, doesn't offer research-specific features like the other products listed here. But for those with their own note-taking system, Google Drive can be a solid storage and syncing tool. This is especially true for those already using other aspects of Google’s productivity suite (e.g., Google Docs, Google Calendar, Gmail, etc.).

Highlights:

Top Features:

  • Integrates with Google’s cloud-native collaboration apps, including Docs, Sheets, and Slides
  • Allows you to collaborate in Microsoft Office files without the need to convert file formats
  • Supports 100+ file types, including PDFs and images
  • Google search functionality helps you find relevant files and information faster

Pros:

  • Device agnostic
  • Google-powered file search
  • Clean, powerful user interface
  • SSL encryption

Cons:

  • Requires internet connection
  • 750 Gb daily upload limit
  • 50 Mb file size limit for Google Docs
  • Ambiguous privacy policy may be an issue for storing sensitive information

Pricing:

Google Drive’s personal plan is free and includes the following:

  • 15 GB cloud storage
  • Integration with Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms
  • Gmail

Google Drive’s Business Standard plan is $12 per user per month and includes these extras:

  • 2 TB of storage per user
  • Target audience sharing
  • Shared drives
  • Meeting and video conference recordings saved to drive

Starting with the End in Mind: Tools for Audience and Market Research

Successful self-published authors know that great books begin with great research. In fact, while you may have a general idea about your book's subject matter before you sit down, sometimes it takes research to inspire the book idea itself. 

But book research should also include learning about your audience—and your competition. There are many tools to help you accomplish this. 

4. KDSpy

KDSpy is a browser-based audience targeting tool designed to help writers and authors study trends in the publishing industry and its competitive landscape. KDSpy allows you to identify keywords, sales rankings, and the sales performance of published works (yours and those of other authors you deem important to keep an eye on).

Highlights:

Top Features:

  • Once installed, automatically analyzes Amazon while you browse and research books
  • Provides detailed breakdowns and performance metrics of over 25,000 Kindle, book, and audiobook categories on Amazon
  • Includes insights on how many copies a given type of book needs to sell per day to be viewed favorably by the Amazon ranking algorithm
  • Allows authors to perform Amazon-specific keyword research to help with book promotion

Pros:

  • “No risk” 60-day free trial
  • Regularly updated
  • Helps authors with book category selection
  • Viewed as fairly affordable
  • Word cloud tool available to inform authors of potential words/phrases to include in their writing

Cons:

  • Some users consider the user interface to be dated
  • Browser-based only
  • Doesn’t show demand data
  • Only works with the Amazon bookstore
  • No free version available

Pricing:

There is a one-time $97 licensing fee (currently on sale for $69).

5. Publisher Rocket

Publisher Rocket is another audience-targeting tool used by the self-publishing community. This tool searches Amazon and Google for popular or niche keywords to help you decide what to write about and whom to write for.

Highlights:

Top Features:

  • Keyword search, including Amazon-specific keywords
  • Provides information on other authors, including book covers, listing prices, and daily/monthly earnings
  • Categorical breakdowns that include sales needed for specific rankings
  •  

Pros:

  • 30-Day money-back guarantee
  • Easy filtering of profitable keywords
  • Good for finding hidden categories
  • Free lifetime updates

Cons:

  • No Linux version (PC and Mac only)
  • Available data limited to Amazon US, UK, and DE
  • Data is estimated
  • No free version available

Pricing:

Publisher Rocket has a one-time $97 licensing fee (monthly subscription TBD).

6. AMZ Suggestion Expander Pro

AMZ Suggestion Expander Pro is a Chrome plugin that expands the results of your search bar as you research your book on Amazon. Suggestion expanders are tools specifically designed to help you discover combinations of keywords with a high search volume—that is to say, what customers are looking for. 

Highlights:

Top Features:

  • Expanded results feature keywords that Amazon adds before and after words users are searching for
  • Works in multiple markets (currently US, CA, MX, UK, DE, FR, IT, AU, and ES)
  • Free version available (AMZ Suggestion Expander)

Pros:

  • 30 day money back guarantee
  • Keywords and search suggestions can be exported to a spreadsheet
  • Word analysis sheet reveals keyword frequency

Cons:

  • Only available as a Chrome extension
  • Does not work on iOS or Android devices

Pricing:

AMZ Suggestion Expander Pro is available for $9.97 per month.

Making the Words Go: Tools for Outlining and Writing Your Book

There are many tools out there to help with both general and specific types of writing. There’s also a lot of overlap between the outlining, writing, and editing processes. So we’ve included a variety of different tools here to help set your words in motion.

7. Grammarly

Grammarly is a popular AI-powered writing assistant that works on practically anything connected to the internet—including Grammarly’s own desktop app for Windows and iOS (iPhone and iPad), Android, and as an extension for popular browsers like Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.

Highlights:

Top Features:

  • Grammar, spelling, and punctuation check
  • Basic writing feedback, like conciseness and tone
  • English fluency check
  • Full-sentence rewrites
  • Formatting suggestions
  • Word choice and sentence variety feedback
  • Citation style formatting
  • Plagiarism detection

Pros:

  • Seamless browser integration
  • Intuitive to use
  • Viewed as extremely accurate
  • Explanations provided for word choice and grammar suggestions
  • Offers users customization options to match specific writing styles

Cons:

  • Some laptop users report overlaps with aspects of the interface
  • Word choice and grammar suggestions sometimes seem at odds with the intentions of the author
  • Some users report problems in getting Grammarly to integrate with specific apps or websites
  • Prompting to upgrade from the free version can be viewed as aggressive 

Pricing:

Grammarly’s free plan includes the following:

  • Grammar, spelling, punctuation check
  • Basic writing feedback, like conciseness and tone detection

Grammarly's Premium plan costs $12 USD per month and includes everything in the free plan, in addition to those features listed in the Features above.

8. Jasper

Jasper (that’s us!) is an AI-powered, flexible yet robust virtual writing assistant. Jasper generates compelling original content, and its growing library of writing templates includes tools for conquering every self-publishing author's nemesis—writer's block. The wide array of features we offer are helpful to some authors because Jasper can help out with so much of the non-novel writing work you’ll need to do as part of the publishing and promotion process.  

Highlights:

Top Features:

  • Writing prompts allow users to include specific keywords and writing tones
  • Supports 29+ languages
  • Ideation, writing, and outlining templates
  • Chrome extension available

Pros:

  • 30 day money back guarantee
  • Keywords and search suggestions can be exported to a spreadsheet
  • Word analysis sheet reveals keyword frequency

Cons:

  • Only available as a Chrome extension
  • Does not work on iOS or Android devices

Pricing:

Jasper offers a 5-day free trial with 10,000 credits. Paid plans are usage-based and start at $24 per month.

9. Microsoft Word

Chances are good you’ve crossed paths with the ubiquitous Microsoft Word. For all its uses, Word is an especially handy tool for writing books. Plus it's always a good idea to try and use the tools you already have, so your resources can go to other areas of your process that need a boost. 

Highlights:

Top Features:

  • Templates and margin controls that are specific to book writing
  • Built-in grammar and spelling check 
  • Change-tracking and editing controls
  • Almost universally accepted output file format (.docx)

Pros:

  • Legacy software means abundant documentation and support available
  • Wide range of fonts available
  • Supports multi-user editing
  • Responsive

Cons:

  • Auto-sync is inaccurate at times 
  • Some users feel the ability to add and manipulate rich media is clunky/out-dated
  • Updates to the user interface lag behind updates to features and documentation styles
  • Some functionality is complex, making their use difficult to understand

Pricing:

As long as you have a Microsoft account, you can use Microsoft Word for free. However, the free option is restricted to Word’s basic functionality. For features and formatting options authors may need to write their book (e.g., creating bibliographies, citations, etc) users will need a subscription plan, which start at $6.99 USD per month.  

10. Scrivener

Scrivener is an outlining and writing application available for macOS, Windows, and iOS.

Highlights:

Top Features:

  • Integrated outlining tools allow you to break text off into specific sections that Scrivener tracks and keeps organized
  • Scales with the needs of your book as you write
  • Offers a flexible approach to writing and organizing pages and chapters
  • Corkboard functionality acts as whiteboard
  • Outliner mode keeps track of word counts and metadata
  • Side-by-side version editing
  • Target setting and progress tracking
  • APA and MLA templates

Pros:

  • Select layout options guide the author as they write
  • Ideas and notes can be attached to specific chapters
  • Automatically backs work up
  • Compiling feature aids in manuscript formatting
  • Lots of customization options

Cons:

  • Complexity/learning-curve can be problematic for some
  • The program itself is large/substantial 
  • Some users feels formatting options are too complications
  • Cloud-sync may not be intuitive to some

Pricing:

A free 30-day trial is available (based on days used, not calendar days). One-time licensing fees are $23.99 for iOS and $59.99 for macOS or Windows.

11. Xmind

Xmind is an app designed to support the practice of mind mapping. Mind mapping can help authors (especially first-time authors) organize their thoughts and discover connections between themes, ideas, and characters. Unlike other mind-mapping apps, Xmind’s free tier does not limit the number of mind maps you create.

Highlights:

Top Features:

  • Unlimited topics and maps, regardless of plan
  • Mind-mapping templates
  • Labels, markups, and notes
  • Stickers and illustration library
  • Export to PNG or PDF

Pros:

  • Single canvas/whiteboard approach makes it easier to see “big picture”
  • Makes it easy to take a sectional or segmented approach to ideation
  • Outliner linked to mind map provides helpful context to map flow
  • User-friendly interface and UX on both desktop and mobile versions

Cons:

  • Could offer more app integrations
  • Some users report a bit of a learning curve when first using the app
  • Icon availability and use is limited
  • Text placement viewed as problematic by some
  • Larger projects/mind-maps may affect performance

Pricing:

A free plan is available. The pro plan costs $5.99 per month and includes the following:

  • Audio notes
  • Attachment support
  • Topic linking
  • Custom themes
  • Password protection
  • No watermarking
  • Additional exporting options/formats

12. Zoho Writer

Zoho Writer is an online word processing tool that features Zia, an AI-powered writing assistant. Zia offers contextual grammar, style, and readability suggestions in real-time. 

Highlights:

Top Features:

  • Simple layout and interface designed to minimize distractions
  • "Focus mode" can toggle attention to only the selected paragraph 
  • Ability to auto-save, lock, and mask sensitive information
  • Short story and simple novel among available templates
  • Workflow automation
  • Web clipper and word processor extension

Pros:

  • Seamless integration with other Zoho products
  • User cite easy of use as major benefit

Cons:

  • Word processing may seem too simplistic for some
  • Features are due for an upgrade
  • Limited technical support
  • Some users report payment details are a bit difficult to understand

Pricing:

Zoho's word processor is free to use. Zoho WorkDrive storage plans start at $3 per user per month for 1 TB of storage.

“The End” Is Just the Beginning: Promoting Your Book

When your book is ready to publish, do yourself a favor and take a few deep breaths (or a mini-staycation). Once the book writing process is done, it’s time for the self-publishing and promotion processes to begin. 

Don’t worry, though. Many of the tools we’ve covered above can also help get your book into your audience's hands—or e-readers. 

AI writing tools like Jasper can also help with all the different kinds of writing it takes to put a book out there—like summaries, meta descriptions, headlines, and advertising copy. 

If you need a little extra inspiration, look at these examples of books that authors have partnered with Jasper to bring to life.

When you’re ready, take full advantage of Jasper’s own free trial to ensure that when your book is ready for publishing, you are too!

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Meet the author

Austin Distel
Marketing @ Jasper

Austin Distel is the Sr. Director of Marketing at Jasper, your AI creative assistant. He's also an Airbnb superhost in Austin, Texas. You can follow Austin's adventures around the internet and the world at distel.com.

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