Novlr is a relatively "new kid on the block" as novel writing software goes. I've been tracking it for a while, watching the feature list expand and dipping in for a free trial from time to time. This month, I signed up for the pay-monthly package. As endorsements go, I suppose that's the best one that I can give.
Although Novlr doesn't have all the features that I want right now , it's already replaced Scrivener as my "go to" writing platform for working on the next three books I've got in the pipeline.
Why I've switched to Novlr
First and foremost, my writing life moved online in a big way this year. I needed to be able to write anywhere, not just on a selection of devices that I'd installed my software of choice on, and I needed to be able to write any-when, not only after my Dropbox had downloaded and synchronized all my files.
I also bought a Chromebook, which is probably the best laptop sized device I have ever owned, and this has meant dropping anything that doesn't have a web or Android interface.
There are plenty of choices if you want to write online, so why Novlr?
Well, the software is good, there's no denying that. The UI is minimal but has style, the editing environment is pleasing, it has some great import and export features, and it has the all-important outline mode that seperates a writing tool from a plain word processor. I'm not going to write a full "listicle" on their features, just go and look at the features list for yourself and, while you're there, take note of the colour coding.
Yes, Novlr list a lot of features that aren't out yet. I've been tracking their progress on these for a while though, and I'm very pleased to say that they are definitely delivering what they promise. I use a lot of "Software as a Service" and I advise anyone who asks to stay away from platforms that aren't evolving. When you're dealing with a small team of people, you should be expecting the software to evolve quickly. If it doesn't then that's a sign that either the team has lost interest or that things have gotten complicated and they are struggling to deliver changes to the software. In either case, save your money.
Novlr, by contrast, seem to be very active in talking to their users and in accepting feedback on the software. Their mantra of "by writers, for writers" seems pretty close to the truth from what I've seen so far. This is the first piece of writing software I've seen in a while that I can honestly believe comes from people who are writers and where I feel like everything is "right".
And, if I had to pick one, my favourite feature right now? The little messages of encouragement that pop-up as you cross milestones. Your first 100 words of the day, your first 500, etc. It might seem stupid, but sometimes those little messages really keep me going.
Is $10 a month worth it?
I definitely think $10 a month invested in Novlr is worth it. When you consider that the alternatives, like Scrivener, cost significantly more "up front", don't have vastly more features, and don't seem to be improving or evolving at all, I think it makes even more sense. You're not just getting a tool - hopefully you're investing in a platform that is going to grow and improve.
I'm actually very excited to see new features arriving and I've posted my first suggestion this week (status on chapters and work-count breakdown please guys!). So, I'm a proud Novlr subscriber - I think you should be too.