My Love-Hate Relationship With Scrivener

by | 28 Days of Blogging, non-fiction, Self-Publishing, tools, Writing

Hello, Writers!


There’s more to writing a book than putting words on paper or to digital memory. Regardless of the genre of your book, you will need to go through a similar set of steps before you publish your book. To do this, you will need a tool. When I first started writing, I started off using Word. Using a word processing programme was difficult. I had to format the document correctly from the first moment I typed my first word. This led me to use scriptwriting software when I first started writing screenplays. And later on, Scrivener*, a few years after I started writing fiction. It got a tonne of rave reviews from other well-respected authors, so I downloaded it to try.


Fast forward 18 months, and I’ve developed a love-hate relationship with Scrivener. I would like to add my relationship is more love than hate. When I first started out using Scrivener, I did find the software difficult to use. I’m not the type of person who loves reading instructions. I prefer to learn through experience. Here is my list of the pros and cons of using Scrivener.


The Pro’s

I’ve discovered there are more pros than cons to using Scrivener. I’m a “the glass is half full” type of woman, which is why I’m starting with the benefits of using scrivener.


So, let’s get started.


The Price Point

Scrivener is one of the cheapest writing software around at $45.00 (USD) or £37.41 for the ‘Mac OS X’ edition. It’s $5.00 more expensive than the windows edition. It’s a one time cost, so there is no annual subscription. However, it’s worth noting the applications for the iPhone and iPad do come at an extra cost of $19.99 or £14.99. I’m not going to compare the price to other popular programmes because it’s hard to make comparisons with programmes like Word. The reason for this is it comes in a bundle with other programmes. There’s no real benefit to making the comparison.


It Syncs with Mobile Apps

As I mentioned earlier, Scrivener has apps for mobile that are relatively easy to use. All you need is to create a free Dropbox account and store your Scrivener files in a Dropbox folder. This allows you to write on the go. The same version is also available on your computer when you get back into the office. This feature works well. I’ve had the app on my mobile device since 29 July 2016. I’ve haven’t lost any work or had any problems syncing my books between devices. This is often a common problem with new apps.


Designed for Authors and Writers

One of the reasons why scrivener loved by authors is because it’s created with its target market in mind. It’s a well thought out piece of software. It supports the writer at every step of the journey. When you first start a new project on Scrivener you’re given the choice of using a vast range of templates. There is a template for every type of project from blog to fiction and non-fiction with parts. These templates save you time setting up like you would have to do if you were writing for a programme like Word.


Scrivener is a one-stop place for every step of your writing journey. There are sections in Scrivener where you can create character profiles, location descriptions, and organise your research. My favourite feature by far is the ability to outline your story or nonfiction book. I use this feature to outline both genres. It’s definitely much better than creating an outline using flashcards.



Have you ever lost your work because you forgot to save? I have and it’s a painful experience. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve closed scrivener and forgotten to save. Luckily, it has a great autosave feature which means I haven’t lost any work. The autosave feature requires no setting up. It’s an inbuilt feature in the software. However, features like this are available in standard word processors but you need to set it up before you start writing.


The Compile Feature

I love the compile feature in scrivener. It gives the user the ability to create a book that’s formatted for submission to CreateSpace or KDP. Scrivener has the ability to create ebooks in EPUB or Kindle ready formats. I would like to add, I’ve always submitted my e-books to KDP in an EPUB format. I’ve never used the compile to kindle option. The most interesting feature about Scrivener is its ability to compile to paperback format. You can change a lot of things in the compile feature. This takes the heartache out of purchasing another programme to convert your file to EPUB, MOBI or PDF.


It Comes with Tutorials

I would like to point out, I haven’t viewed the tutorials that come with Scrivener. I’ve done a lot of research to see whether other users love the tutorials, for this blog post. There are quite a few threads on Reddit where users have mentioned the tutorials were helpful. The programme is often recommended based on its ease of use or support. If you’re a huge lover of tutorials then you will love this feature.


The Cons

Like most things, Scrivener isn’t perfect. It took me a while to think about cons that would affect a decision to buy. Here are the two things about Scrivener I don’t love.


Limited Design Abilities

As much as I love scriveners amazing compiler there’s one thing I don’t love. It has no design capabilities. I’m not expecting it to act like InDesign but, there isn’t room even for a little bit of design. It cannot style the start of a chapter, like adding a line between the chapter number and chapter title. This feature is available in other programmes like Word but isn’t available in Scrivener. I could be wrong maybe there is a way to do this but at the moment, I haven’t figured it out. If this changes, I will let you know.


It’s Difficult to Use

New users may find using scrivener a little frustrating, especially if you don’t like to experiment with the software. There are great tutorials but I had to look elsewhere for advanced support. The good news is, there are a lot of great bloggers who discuss how to use Scrivener. I’ve never been able to not find an answer, with the exception of the chapter header issue. If you’re not into experimenting there are some great courses on how to use scrivener. I recommend checking the reviews because not all courses are created equal.


Concluding Thoughts

I love Scrivener, it’s a great programme that I would recommend to authors, especially if you don’t want to use word and InDesign to format the interior of their paperback books. There’s no reason why you couldn’t use both.


As always, I have a few important questions to ask you. Do you use Scrivener? Are you considering using Scrivener to write your first or next book? I want to hear from you. Let me know by sharing your story or experiences in the comments section below.


Thank you for listening, reading, commenting and sharing with such enthusiasm.


Your coach,


Amelia xx


Amelia D. Hay

Written by Amelia D. Hay

I’m Amelia. When I’m not hosting the Authorpreneur Podcast™️ and the Book Nerd Podcasts, I write Mystery Novels under the pen name A. D. Hay. And, I’m the author of Suspicion, the Lawn, and the Candidate.

On this blog, I help new writers to finish their first draft, prepare their manuscripts for professional editing, and when they get stuck in the first draft phase or are confused about the revision process.

Right now, I’m editing and preparing my soon to be published mystery novels, Suspicion, Duplicity, 24 Hours, and Immunity for publication.

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