Using the Free Reedsy writing app allows new authors to get started on their journey for self-publishing. But is it all that it’s cracked up to be? Although the Reedsy book editor has a lot of functionality, there are some drawbacks to consider.
Though, keep in mind that not everyone has the same opinion when it comes to the pros and cons of any software. As such, these are the things that stand out most to me as an author.
The Good and Bad of Using the Reedsy Book Editor
It’s no secret that I am a fan of Reedsy. I haven’t been able to afford their professional services as of yet, but the writing app is definitely among my favorites.
Since Reedsy is free to use, you really don’t lose anything but a bit of time trying it out for yourself. You don’t have to pay for their professional services to write your book.
So, what are some things to keep in mind when trying out the writing app for yourself?
Pros of Using Reedsy
Let’s start with some of the highlights that you can expect from Reedsy. I covered a lot of these when I wrote up the review for the platform, but they are still important to me nonetheless.
Most of them play a major role in how I wrote my books, Kingmaker and Fury.
1. Reedsy is Free to Use
First of all, you can’t go wrong with a free writing tool, especially one that has as many features as this one. It is tailor-made for authors and has most of the pertinent elements you’ll need to whip out a great book.
The sign-up process is quick and easy, and you can use your Google or Facebook profiles to create an account. Then, you can start writing as many books as you’d like.
Thanks to the writing prompts and Plot Generator tools, Reedsy will even offer assistance to get you started.
2. Extremely Easy to Use
Perhaps one of my favorite features of using Reedsy is the fact that it’s an easy-to-use writing app. It doesn’t have a lot of clutter and each tool is easily identifiable.
Once you create a new book, you can literally start typing away.
Reedsy isn’t overloaded with writing functions you may never use, and the tool-tip pop-ups when hovering over features are quite self-explanatory.
3. Formats the Book as You Write
I’m a fan of writing apps that format the book as you write. This means you don’t have to think too much about indents, paragraphs, and such as you write.
For a beginner, this is incredibly useful, especially since it gives you an idea of what the book will look like for both eBook and printed formats.
When text wraps around the entire writing space, it can get a bit confusing. Plus, it can pose problematic if you’re trying to avoid walls of text within your manuscript.
4. Notes and Planning Board
A feature Reedsy added in 2023 was the planning board. You can now plan your manuscript, add research notes, upload images, and link to sources easily from the writing app.
For me, this has been instrumental in keeping track of names, places, and objects as I often forget. The planning board is not included when you export the book.
Better yet, you can also pin any page within the planning board to your manuscript. Although this isn’t as effective as something like Scrivener’s split-screen view, it is still a great time-saving feature.
5. Goals and Deadlines
When using Reedsy, you can easily set up goals and deadlines for yourself. This helps you stay focused, motivated, and accountable for writing your book.
Creating goals and tracking my progress are features I often look for first in an app. That’s because these functions are effective at helping me progress, especially considering how busy I am on any given day.
The goals are quite easy to set up and I like how Reedsy will display how many words I need to write each day to achieve my objective.
6. Tracking Comments and Changes
As you edit your manuscript, you can add comments by highlighting a segment of text and leaving a note for yourself. I often use this as a way to remind myself that certain parts need extra attention.
For example, I often leave notes for myself to expand on a scene, flesh out a few details, or set a reminder to mention something later in the book such as a sub-plot device.
You can also track changes you’ve made to your manuscript and revert it to an earlier version or just to see the difference in the story.
7. Browser Extension Compatibility
Because Reedsy is a web-based app, most browser extensions should work with it as you write. For instance, I am a big fan of the Grammarly Chrome extension, and it works perfectly when using Reedsy.
Another extension I use is the Dark mode extension when I write at night.
This means that if you have an extension installed on your browser for writing, it has a high possibility of working within Reedsy.
I can’t guarantee that it will simply because I can’t test every extension. But I can say that I haven’t had a problem with the writing tools I use.
8. Great Formatting Tool Selection
The Reedsy writing app comes with everything you’ll need to create almost any kind of content. You have all of the necessary elements such as bold, italic, strikethrough, blockquote, and more.
All you need to do is highlight the text you want to modify and Reedsy will pull up the options.
The only problem I’ve had with this function is due to Grammarly. Sometimes when you highlight the text, the options for Grammarly can get in the way of changes.
At that point, you may have to disable Grammarly and then re-enable it when you’re done. I’m currently looking for a workaround for this, such as perhaps a setting in Grammarly. If you know of one, feel free to comment down below.
9. Sharing with Your Beta Readers
Using beta readers can be influential in helping you craft the best book possible. Reedsy makes it easy to share a read-only version of your manuscript with those readers.
The process is relatively simple, and you can share single chapters or the entire book with just a click of the mouse.
One drawback to this, though, is how they will have to scroll through the story instead of being able to “flip pages” as they would in most eBook readers.
Cons of Using Reedsy
Not everything glitters is gold. And although Reedsy is still one of my favorite writing apps, it does have a few drawbacks.
As I said earlier, though, these are elements based on my own opinion. They may or may not be relevant to your experience.
1. No Outside Collaboration
Currently, Reedsy doesn’t have the capacity for collaboration. This means if you’re writing a book with someone or want a friend to help you edit, you can’t do so online.
This means you’d have to export the backup as a DOCX file and share it with those helping you. Then, after changes are made, copy and paste the edited text back into Reedsy.
Or, copy and paste the text into something like Google Docs. Then, copy and paste it back into Reedsy when you’re done.
It’s a bit of a pain, but it is possible. What would be nice is if Reedsy had online collaboration much like Google Docs or Arc Studio where changes are committed in real-time.
2. Limited Formatting Options
When compiling your book, you only have three options available for formatting. In this case, I’m talking about book design elements and fonts.
This is in contrast to Atticus, which offers several pages of formatting options plus the ability to customize your own. Not to mention that you don’t really have a lot of control when it comes to book dimensions and layout in Reedsy.
However, Reedsy does admit that they will be adding formatting options in the future, according to their website. But I haven’t seen any additions since 2021 when I started using the app.
3. Limited Exporting Options
The list of available file types for exporting is quite narrow in Reedsy. You only have access to ePub, MOBI, and PDF, as opposed to Scrivener which gives you access to a slew of file types.
However, the file types Reedsy does provide are the most common for both eReaders and print providers. So, you’re not really missing much when using Reedsy to publish your book.
Although I doubt I’ll ever need other file types when publishing my book, knowing I have the options available is a nice feature.
4. Saving to the Cloud
As Reedsy is a web-based app, it saves your manuscript to its own database. While this is useful for some, I prefer having complete control over where my book is saved.
I suppose I am a bit old-fashioned, but I prefer actual programs on my computer as opposed to web-based apps.
A part of this is because Comcast has a habit of breaking my Internet connection on a regular basis. When this happens, I am unable to write my book on Reedsy.
Now, you can get around some of this by exporting the manuscript or backing it up as a DOCX file. My argument is that I shouldn’t have to.
5. No Split-Screen View
Perhaps I am a bit spoiled by Scrivener, but I relish having a split-screen view as I write. I have my manuscript in one pane and my research and notes in the other.
I know I can have something similar when using Reedsy with pinned notes. The issue is that you can only pin one note at a time and then have to leave the manuscript to select a new element from the planning board to pin should you need.
In Scrivener, I can do this with just two clicks of the mouse. Plus, it’s easy to resize the split-screen view should I need more or less space.
6. No Preview Window
I love being able to see what my book would look like on various devices or as a printed copy. Reedsy doesn’t have a preview feature to show me how the book would appear.
From what I’ve seen, not a lot of writing apps actually provide this function.
I had to upload several versions of A Freelancer’s Tale to Amazon because some of the printed elements were in the wrong place. While it looked OK in the eBook version, the printed copies were less than aesthetically pleasing.
A preview window much like the one in Atticus would be golden for just about any writing app.
In case you’re wondering, I used Kindle Create to format A Freelancer’s Tale, which I doubt I’ll ever use again.
Reedsy is Still Among My Top Writing Tools
In the case of using Reedsy, there are definitely more pros than there are cons. And many of the cons aren’t even deal breakers for most. They are annoyances more than anything.
When you don’t have the money for something like Scrivener or Atticus, Reedsy can be a great introductory platform to help you start with self-publishing.
Even then, a lot of the features that come with Reedsy are comparable to premium platforms.
As of writing this post, I’ve written two books using Reedsy. As a free writing tool, I just think it’s easily among the best you can use.
This is in addition to all of the other free things Reedsy offers, such as writing prompts or its Plot Generator. The site, itself, is just chocked full of writing goodness.
In any event, the overall functionality of Reedsy is clean and I do enjoy using it to write my books.
What’s Your Favorite Writing App?
As I said before, it’s all subjective, really. The best writing app is obviously the one that’s going to be everything you need it to be. As everyone is unique, your needs are going to be different than mine.
For example, I value goals and an easy-to-use interface. Not every author is going to care about such nuances. Hell, some people love using Microsoft Word or LibreOffice to write their manuscripts. To me, both of these platforms are limited.
It all comes down to what you enjoy using the most.
What are your favorite apps or programs for writing?
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