Updated Dec 21, 2020

 Note: Yearly price is $45 per year until January 23, 2021. After January 23, the yearly price increases to $65 per year or $9 per month. Existing clients will be grandfathered in at the old rate.

Novelize is a new player in the novel writing software world. It was created two years ago and is completely web-based. This means that you can use this software on any device that has a browser, including your desktop, laptop, phone and tablet. This is a very well thought out piece of novel writing software, and all the features that are in the software are available to those who are using it. The downside is that Novelize is not free. It is, however, low cost, and I think extremely affordable.

For full disclosure purposes, I will say that I was given a VIP account to test and review this software. The cost of Novelize is $65 a year. For all the features that this writing software offers, I believe it’s well worth the cost. If you want to test Novelize, they do offer a 17-day free trial. After the 17-day trial, they’ll bill your credit card for $45 a year. If you decide you do not want to continue using the software, you can cancel at any time via a button in your account area. In other words, you do not have to talk to anyone in order to cancel your account, and you are free to cancel at any time.

Getting Started with Novelize

Upon logging into Novelize, you’ll be taken to the Chapter/Scene screen rather than a dashboard. This allows you to get started on your next novel immediately. However, if you want to fill out novel details first, clicking on Panel will open your Novel side panel that includes options to Manage your novel, write summaries, view your novel Contents and fill out your novel Notebook, which includes the ability to add characters, groups, locations, events, items, notes and change the settings. 

Pros of Novelize

  1. Ability to add notes at the end of every scene

  2. Autosaves or shows the image of a disc if work needs saved

  3. Can adjust total word count goal of the novel

  4. Contains character name generator/suggestions

  5. Contains daily, weekly and total word count goals

  6. Contains automatic spellcheck

  7. Displays a word count progress bar on the right side of the screen (Your choice of daily, weekly or total)

  8. Exported document formats better than any export function for novel writing software that I’ve seen so far. In other words, they look great. However, it has downsides, check the cons as you get deeper into your authoring career.

  9. In-line chapter and scene creation eliminates needless clicking and/or tapping

  10. Indents happen in the exported document (not in the text boxes)

  11. It is fully featured and cross-platform for any device that has a web browser

  12.  $63 a year, which is $9 a month

  13. Notebooks can be used for multiple novels, making creating sequels easier

  14. The menu bar is located at the bottom of the screen

  15. They offer a 17-day free trial

  16. While there’s no “find” function within Novelize, your web browser’s find function will work.

  17. You can customize your export by changing the page size, font family, font sizes and line heights

  18. You can export the contents of your novel as a .docx

  19. You can export your novel outline by itself

  20. You have the option of downloading your full novel as well as certain specific sections, including the notebook

  21. Your novel is yours. Novelize is family developed and operated. They do not sell your information or go through your material

Cons of Novelize

  1. Genres are slightly truncated, only including general fiction, adventure, fantasy, science fiction, women’s fiction, memoir, mystery, romance, thriller, young adult and women’s fiction

  2. Lags slightly between tabs when working on 100k+ books (but not as badly as other pieces of writing software) - Update 11/23/2020: Lagged out at 95k words. Processing power for long novels appears to be getting worse. This forced me into Libreoffice BEFORE the first draft was finished so cross-platform stability was moot, and I was forced into my office for the duration of the novel after 75% of the first draft!

  3. Limited options for the text boxes (bold, italic, underline, text alignment, redo, undo and fullscreen)

  4. The menu bar is located at the bottom of the screen (I think your love or dislike of this will depend on you, which is why I list it as both a pro and a con.)

  5. The platform is not immediately intuitive. You’re going to have a slight learning curve when using this software

  6. There is no ability to tab (indent) within the text screen. If you accidentally hit tab, it will take you down to “delete scene”, so I would recommend not hitting the tab button while you’re typing out your novel. (indents will show up in your exported .docx. I would imagine the trigger is wherever the “enter” or “return” button was hit.)

  7. There is no free version, only a free 17-day trial that probably includes inputting your credit card

Cons of Novelize as You Get Deeper into Your Authoring Career

As you get deeper into your authoring career and start writing longer novels more frequently, you may outgrow this software. It really isn't designed to finish the book or even provide you with a good working export so that you can format your book correctly for publication.

  1. Scene headers are not exported with the final copy. If you want them, you must copy and paste them into the text boxes prior to exporting.
  2. Exported copy is in sections, according to the chapter. This makes formatting the final book version extremely tedious as you must format every single chapter by itself. There is currently no way to adjust the settings in Novelize to export a 6" by 9" with .5. .65. .5. .5 mirrored margins. You can adjust the text sizes and line-heights, but it exports as an 8.5 by 11 file with left/right margins. The more novels you finish, the more this will become a major problem because what should take 2 seconds can take upwards of an hour or more. this could push you into hiring a book formatted, which as you know, I am an extreme DIY author.
  3. There is no way to easily search previous text. For example, you are working on chapter 12 but you need to crosscheck what you are writing with chapter 2 in order to maintain consistency and plot flow. There is no ability to side-by-side compare chapters and text.

Novelize Basic Functionality

If you’ve used other novel writing software, you will already be familiar with most of the functionality of Novelize. You can create new chapters and new scenes within the chapters. Like Bibisco, there is no option to write a chapter under the chapter section. All the text must be included in a scene. This means that every chapter will have at least one scene.

Novelize Menus

Novelize has several different menus. This is part of what makes it not as intuitive as other novel-writing software options and what creates the learning curve. If you are working on a chapter, your bottom menu will list Panel, Outline, Write, Organize and Menu.

  • Panel – Brings up a left side novel writing menu with options for Manage, Summaries, Contents and Notebook

  • Outline – View your novel chapters and add various summaries, including an overall, beginning, middle and end summaries as well as summaries/descriptions for each chapter

  • Write – Write your chapters and scenes

  • Organize – Organize your novel’s chapters and scenes. You can move chapters and scenes to new locations within the document

  • Menu – Contains the options for Dashboard, Account, Support and Logout (Stays up until you click an option or click the “menu” again

Dashboard Menu

Your dashboard is where all of your novels and notebooks are easily viewable. When looking at each of your novels, you’ll see the word count, your novel title, your name and the number of chapters and scenes. You also have the ability to delete the novel via the trashcan, export your novel or write your novel. The bottom menu of this screen contains:

  • Dashboard – You’re at the dashboard screen

  • Account – Go to your account to change your timezone, theme, default font family and font size. You also have the option to update your profile, including author name and email address and change your password, change your subscription status and close your account

  • Support – View some commonly asked questions, provide some feedback or email the developer

  • Logout – Logout of Novelize and come back to write another day!

The Panel Menu

The panel menu is located in the chapter/scene area at the bottom of your screen. In other novel writing software, this is typically an always open side-menu (if it exists at all), which may or may not have the option to close it. In Novelize, you must click “panel” to bring up this menu.

  • Manage – Add the title of your novel and the subtitle if you have one, keep or change the author name, choose your novel’s genre and choose whether or not you want a weekly progress report sent to your email. You can also set your daily and weekly word count goals and change the total word count estimate for the novel

  • Summaries – View all your novel summaries that you input in the Outline Section (also located in your bottom chapter menu)

  • Contents – View and choose the chapters and scenes you want to work on

  • Notebook – This is what populates the notebook for your novel. Under this tab, you can create characters, groups, locations, events, items (probably good for murder and mystery books), add notes, and change some settings within your notebook

Cell Phone Functionality

Novelize does work on a cell phone in the same manner that it works on your desktop or laptop, with the obvious change that you’ll be typing on your screen rather than on a keyboard. Depending on the size of your phone, you may only see a few lines of text while the keyboard is active. The menus are still at the bottom of the screen. However, while working on your phone, those menu options become Panel, Mode and a sandwich menu. Panel is the same panel that you’d see in the desktop or browser version. Mode includes the options for your novel, and the sandwich menu includes your Dashboard, Account, Support and Logout. 

Novelize does allow for multiple logins on multiple devices. (I have devices in both my office and other parts of my house so that I can write in any room, so I tested the functionality between devices with multiple logins.) However, on your cell phone, you will need to tap the “disk” in order to save. Once you save, if you are working in two versions at the same time, you will need to refresh the page on your other version in order to see the changes.

Tablet Functionality

Tablet functionality is the same as the cell phone functionality. If you have a tablet with a web browser, you’ll be able to work on your novel in Novelize. Just remember that if you have multiple instances of Novelize open across several devices, you’ll need to make sure that you save your document before moving to the next device, and once you are at your next device, remember to refresh the page.

Laptop Functionality

The laptop functionality is very good, just as good as the desktop functionality.  If your laptop (or desktop) also includes a touchscreen, you'll notice improved functionality when typing for novel into the scenes. This is because the scenes will eventually drop down off the screen as you fill the text box, but a quick swipe on your toouchscreen will bring the text back into view so that you can continue writing your novel.

Features It Could Use in the Future

  • More Robust Text Box Options – Specifically, I’m thinking find/replace and headers, add links

  • Search/Explore Novel – Ability to view other sections of the novel at the same time as the current section

  • Metrics – Chapter lengths and character, object, location distribution

  • Genres – More genre options

  • Links - Ability to hyperlink within the text
  • Headers - Ability to add Header 1, 2, 3, etc

Novelize Overall

Overall, this appears to be a very well thought out, useful novel writing software option. It’s ability to be completely cross-platform and its full functionality sets it apart from its competitors. The biggest downside might be that there’s no free version. However, I can’t balk too much at the cost. $5 is perfectly reasonable considering that there are no feature truncated versions of the software. Once you subscribe, every feature that is currently available in the software, you can use. Not to mention, the export feature works, and it’s one of the best-formatted export functions I’ve seen to date. If it had the ability to add links, I would venture to guess you could almost go from the export to an ebook converter.



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