Before you self-publish your book, it’s extremely important that the manuscript is carefully edited. No matter how good the story, if your book is filled with typos and grammar mistakes, disgruntled readers will be leaving poor reviews and your sales will tank. At Self-Publishing Relief, we know that expert editing requires fresh eyes, a keen knowledge of grammar, and strong attention to detail. Fortunately, there are plenty of online editing and grammar tools to help self-published writers correct spelling mistakes—and some even offer suggestions on pacing and dialogue. While having your manuscript reviewed by a real live editor is best, using online editing tools allows you to present a far more professional early draft.
The Best Online Editing And Grammar Tools
ProWritingAid: A Premier Editing and Grammar Tool
ProWritingAid is a web-based grammar, spelling, and style checker well suited for bloggers, business writers, and especially novelists. Grammar checking can be done in real time by working within ProWritingAid’s built-in word processing program, or you can upload your own file and focus on the editing options. ProWritingAid can be used in both Windows and Mac browsers.
Like most online editing and grammar tools, there’s a free version and a paid one. The free version limits editing to 500 words at a time but offers a summary report of key issues. The premium version, at $79/year, goes beyond checking grammar and punctuation and includes in-depth analysis of:
- Overused words
- Run-on sentences
- Passive voice
- Sentence structure
- Pacing, etc.
The premium version also allows integration of the editing software with many popular programs, such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and Scrivener.
Grammarly: The Old Faithful App
Around since 2012, Grammarly is a grammar, spelling, and punctuation editor driven by artificial intelligence technology. There’s even a free extension for Chrome, if you’d like to access the power of Grammarly’s AI while writing shorter-form emails, blog comments, and social media posts. The app integrates with both Microsoft Word and Google Docs.
The free version of Grammarly offers basic spelling and punctuation checks in real time. The premium ($11.66/month) and business versions ($12.50/month) offer far more advanced features, such as:
- A plagiarism checker
- Comments on tone (formality, politeness, confidence)
- Analysis of sentence variety, language level, and text fluency
Many users of the paid version appreciate that Grammarly doesn’t just suggest edits—it also explains them, to grow your understanding.
AutoCrit: For Content Editing
AutoCrit is an editing platform “built from real, bestselling books.” The platform offers grammar, spelling, and punctuation editing, but the real focus is on fluency, readability, and style.
Does your thriller have the heart-pounding pacing that it needs to compete in the marketplace? Are you using language, sentence structure, and dialogue in a way that will resonate with your particular genre readers? AutoCrit will compare your writing with the big names in the genre and offer concrete suggestions for improvement.
The “forever-free” version offers:
- An online word processing and editing suite with no word limits
- A free spelling and grammar checker
- Access to editing tools targeting adverbs, repetition of words, and readability
The $30/month version offers:
- Access to the membership community
- Thirty interactive editing reports
- A deeper analysis of pacing, points of view, and verb tense
- Comparisons to best sellers
AutoCrit also offers a pay-annually version that provides access to courses in creative writing.
Hemingway: A Back-To-Basics Editor
For more technophobic writers, there’s the Hemingway grammar and spelling editor. Hemingway offers a clean, simple design with pleasing visual features. In the editing mode, grammatical mistakes and repetitions are highlighted in color by category, such as readability, passive voice, excess adverbs, etc. The app also gives your work a readability score and character and word counts.
The browser-based version of Hemingway is free. A desktop app is available for $19.99. Though this online editor doesn’t catch quite as many details as other grammar checkers, Hemingway has the advantage of being intuitive and easy to use.
Try One, Try All
Since most online grammar editing programs and apps include a “free” version, it’s worth trying each one to see which one works best for you and your writing style. And after you’ve used an online editing and grammar tool to improve your draft, be sure to then enlist an independent copyeditor or proofreader to scrutinize your manuscript again before you finally self-publish.
Question: Which online editing tool would you try first?