Is atticus.io worth the price?( Updated)
Before we can answer that, let’s take a look at what problems Atticus.io is trying to solve. Atticus.io is an all in one author software aimed at indie authors and self-publishing. It is the new kid on the block and promises to be an all in one author super tool. Providing powerful software to the indie author community that will allow them to plot, plan, write, collaborate and format books without leaving the software. Now if attcius.io can deliver on all of these, at a great price point, then it will be worth trying. Let’s take a look. NOTE: I am using the pre-launch version, which I paid for and I will update this review as more functionality comes online. All new updates are at the bottom of the page.
Competing author software being consolidated by Atticus.io
First I am going to look at the software stack I currently use and see how Atticus.io compares, both in function and price.
Plotting and Panning.
Google keep: Free: This note-keeping app is my go-to for ideas and brain dumps. It has a super handy app on my phone that is pinned to my home screen and synced instantly across my google account for easy access when I am on the desktop ready to evaluate those ideas.
Trello: Free: I use Trello for boards to plan out and outline my books. Trello is free and it works flawlessly allowing you to create and organise complex ideas into rows and columns easily. It has a fantastic mobile app which for me allows for idea creation and note organising on the go.
At the time of writing, I cannot assess whether Atticus.io will stand up to these two in my writing stack as I am currently using the pre-release, early-bird software. However, the road map does offer this.
“Plan and Outline Your Book. Forget the post-it-notes and subscription services. Plan your book where you write it and never forget an important detail.”
So I will wait and update this when these features become available. However, even if this feature is a bust. The system I use just now would work well if the other atticus.io features work.
Currently, I use Scrivener to write my books, I have written hundreds of thousands of words in its hallowed halls. So how does Atticus.io stack up and what is its USP for moving away from Scrivener.
Ease of use
Yip, atticus.io wins hands down here. Scrivener is fairly easy to use but it has so many options that when it comes to setting up the book for formatting and exporting, I usually turn to a YouTube explainer video to get the settings and steps right.
This was one of the main things that grabbed me about Atticus.io, the ability to use the software across multiple platforms and OS. Years ago, I would after every session save my book and then upload the full Scrivener project file to Google Drive. Then if I was going somewhere or wanted to continue writing on my laptop (Scrivener installed) I would download the project file, open it and continue writing. When I finished here I would save that, copy the project file and upload it to Google Drive etc. As I only had the PC license this restricted me to my desktop and laptop and a lot of faffing about in the middle. This also caught me short a few times where I worked relentlessly on a chapter and then realised I had not been working on the most up to date version. Yip, having to retrace and copy and paste between two versions. Headache. As I don’t want to lose any work, I know only work from the PC when writing on Scrivener, making it mobile is too much hassle.
Atticus.io is a Progressive Web App (Read about PWA here) and works in the chrome and safari browsers, and can be downloaded onto the desktop as an app on Windows, Mac, Ipad, Android tablets etc, with all your book data hosted in the Amazon web servers. So wherever you log in from and from whatever device your work is there and up to date. This has allowed me to write on my desktop PC and then move on through to the living room and continue where I finished off on my iPad. Seamless. Priceless. Game Changing.
Autosave, it such a small thing but once you’ve been working within the google drive ecosystem for a while you just get so used to autosave. Your writing is there, it’s safe and it has been saved. No more accidental power-downs to lose all your work. Saying this Scrivener does have a competent autosave feature.
Pro Writing AId Integration.
One of the things I love about Scrivener is its integration with pro writing aid. As of yet, it is promised within Atticus.io and it is clearly highlighted on the roadmap and website. And this is a feature I definitely need. Pro Writing Aid works seamlessly with Scrivener and I am hoping for the same level of integrations with Atticus.io
Now, this is the main reason I moved from Microsoft Word to Scrivener, organisation! Scrivener gives you the ability to keep all of the files of your project in a digital binder and easily hop between chapters, character ideas, world-building documents, images and whatever else you have decided is necessary for you to write your book. At the moment the simple organisation of core material within your book is easy to navigate and hop between in Atticus.io but all of the other trappings that make up your book research, characters, notes etc is still to be added to the pre-launch version so once it comes out I will check this. But it looks promising.
Currently, I export my document out to a Word doc from Scrivener and then send this to my editor. He then edits it using the “Track Changes” feature and sends that back. This allows me to see what recommendations he has made, read the notes directly on the change and decide if it is something I wish to accept or reject. Atticus.io is planning to offer this kind of collaboration completely within its software. Currently not rolled out but the promise of it is really appetising. It will be interesting to see how they implement this.
“We’re designing the editor collaboration to look and feel like word (Because most editors prefer it and let’s not try to teach old dog new tricks). With it, any editor can use a free editor copy to edit your work (when you send them the special link) and you’ll be able to see their edits real-time from your Atticus, and accept them as them come.”
From the creator Dave Via FB 27/05/2021
The bain of my self-publishing, indie author life. I jest but it ain’t fun.
Currently, I use Affinity publisher for all my print projects be it a non-fiction title like “Smartphone Smart marketing” or a Dream, Writing Sprints or Gratitude Journal. Affinity Publisher is a top grade professional publishing software and can be used to create any kind of print media. Its menus and functionality are vast, the learning curve was steep and after creating over thirty books and journals I am still skirting the surface of its possibilities, and I don’t think that will ever change as I am just a casual user.
Native Ebook converters.
When I published “Smartphone Smart Marketing” as an Ebook, by comparison, the print book was easy. The print version was created in Affinity publisher. I had all the correct dimensions, images, etc etc and when I created the PDF it was easily uploaded to B&N, KOBO, Amazon etc. The ebook, well that was something else. I published wide, direct through the main platforms, Apple books, B&N, kobo, Amazon etc. Each had a different system to convert your word doc to ebook. The generated EPUB files differ from 2MB to 30MB. Getting images to stay where they were placed, menus, page breaks and other general anomalies plagued my experience.
Now this Formatting issue for ebooks across multiple platforms has been seen as an issue for some time and there is a solution in the indie author market in the form of Vellum. Vellum takes your input and outputs it into beautiful print and ebooks with the click of a button, the reviews are excellent and the fan base is loyal. Consistent output, no faff, and much time saved what’s not to love. Well, the price for starts.
At $249 it’s a bit steep for a one function software. Compared to $49 for Affinity Publisher (Top of the line professional grade print software) and the fact that it only runs on Apple Mac OS. As noted I am a Windows user. So Vellum was out on both price and availability. But I wanted this functionality, as do lots of non-apple users. And this is one of the key selling points of Atticus.io, in fact, you could argue that if you forget about the writing, planning, collaboration etc and just buy it for the Formatting you are quids in.
Atticus.io allows you to output to both print and ebook. It offers multiple templates/themes and simple functionality to customise your book. And I think this is where Atticus.io really shines. In every other category of competition, it is fairly competitive, but for me, it is in the Formatting front that, if it lives up to its promise will utterly blow the competition away both in terms of price $147 compared to $249 and compatibility. IOS, Android, Web, PC, Mac. Never mind the additional functionality! Amazing.
My Atticus.io experience so far
I decided to purchase and put the software (pre-launch ) to the test, I am currently writing my second epic fantasy whilst awaiting my editor to return book one. So I jumped feet first into Atticus.io with a huge project.
Purchase was straight forward, setting up my username etc was also super easy.
At first, I was using the Vivaldi browser, it is the browser I use for business-related items. I found the PWA (Progressive web app) that is Atticus.io to be fairly buggy. But after doing a bit of googling and reading some of the content from the creator Dave, I switched to the Chrome browser (which it is built for, plus I have had problems with a number of chrome style extensions on Vivaldi) and further to this I downloaded and installed the app to my desktop.
When I made this switch all the bugs disappeared. Add to this in the few days I have been using Atticus it has already been updated numerous times. Props to the team.
Organising my work, writing and previewing how it will look when published is all super easy and seamless. Switching between my desktop windows pc and my Ipad pro, seamless. There is no real learning curve apart from the browser problems mentioned above. But if you use Chrome, you will have no difficulties.
My experiences so far are that this is a great product for a great price.
Atticus.io Road Map
See the entire roadmap here.
Conclusion of the Atticus.io review
I have not mentioned that one of the creators behind Atticus.io is Dave Chesson. Dave is well known in the indie author and self-publishing space for creating fantastic software and having some of the best blogs and resources available for Indy authors. Descriptions generators for Kindle, Free Amazon Adverts courses, and his Publisher Rocket is a fantastic bit of software that helps you leapfrog the competition. So, for me seeing that Dave was behind this new product, instantly gave me confidence and this is why I jumped in on a pre-launch license with confidence.
My conclusion is Atticus.io is going to take the self-publishing indy author market by storm and once all the functionality is in place, this software will be game-changing for streamlining the writing process from planning to publication. So grab your license and join the revolution.
Robb Wallace author of Smartphone Smart Marketing
New Additions to Atticus: UPDATES 03/06/2021
Word count: Book level, Chapter level and Selected Text
Page-side selection: Ability to choose whether any page or chapter starts on a specific side of your book (right, left or no preference)
Version specific settings – You can now choose whether any Front or Back Matter element shows in your ebook, print book, both or none
Ability to delete Title Page and Copyright Page – this will be excellent for those who want to design their own Title Page
Chapter navigation below the previewer – Navigate through your chapters with a click of button to see how they’ll look on any device
Title Page improvements – The pre-developed title pages have been updated to reflect your feedback and suggestions