For years, authors really only had one efficient and effective way to personally format professional books and that was by using a software called Vellum. However, Vellum only works on Mac, and is extremely costly. Plus, it's really only for formatting and doesn't offer anything else beyond that.
So, this got me thinking…what if I could create an easy to use software that helped authors format unique, beautiful and professional ebooks and books, have it work on all computers and not just Mac, be much cheaper and add more features and capabilities not currently offered?
Well, that's exactly what we just did by making Atticus.io.
But as you'll see in this review of Atticus, we're not just going to stop at formatting. My true dream in building Atticus is to actually create a software where authors can plan, plot, outline, write, collaborate and format all in one. When describing Atticus I like to tell people, “If Scrivener, Google Docs and Vellum got together and had a baby, its name would be Atticus.”
So, in this review, I will not only show you what we've done so far, but what we're working on, and how we'll get there.
Let’s dive in.
- What Atticus is
- How to use it
- A list of features at launch
- Forthcoming plans for new features
- A side-by-side comparison with Vellum, Scrivener, and Reedsy Book Editor
Table of contents
- What is Atticus?
- How Does Atticus Work?
- Atticus Cost
- Complete List of Atticus Features
- 1. Cross Platform Use
- 2. Ease of Use
- 3. Autosave, Cloud Storage, and Backups
- 4. In-app Spell Check
- 5. Footnotes/Endnotes
- 6. Offline Use
- 7. Exporting Options
- 8. Importing Options
- 9. Device Previewer
- 10. Chapter Splitting
- 11. Word Count
- 12. Chapter Elements
- 13. The Theme Builder
- 14. Full Bleed Images
- 15. Large Print Font Options
- 16. Support Team
- Upcoming Features for Atticus
- Atticus Review: The Bottom Line
What is Atticus?
Atticus is a software that currently gives authors an excellent way to write, and format their books at a lower cost and with equal results as a program like Vellum. However, one day it will be the all-in-one solution for writing, formatting, and collaborating.
Atticus not only has a ton of features at launch, but also boasts a HUGE number of upcoming features that will make it the be-all, end-all of writing software.
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How Does Atticus Work?
Atticus is currently both a word processor and a book formatting software. You can write, edit, and export your novel with ease.
You start in the dashboard where you can create a new book or upload an old one (there are a variety of ways to import a book that I’ll get to in the features section).
Then you’re brought to the word processor element of the program, where you can create chapters (or front and back matter elements), and begin writing. In this section, you can drag and drop chapters or sections just like you can in Scrivener, and are offered an array of writing tools.
In the next couple of weeks and months though, there will be a whole slew of new features added to the writing section of Atticus, to really make this one of the most fun, aesthetic and helpful book writing software out there – without being complicated or convoluted. We'll talk about this later, but we'll be focusing on adding writing goals, special writing modes, analytics, character or note cards, and more.
From there, it lets you format the book and export to ebook or print, to use in KDP, IngramSpark, Draft2Digital, or wherever you sell your books.
In the future, there will be more features as well, including tools to keep you motivated, organized, and even collaborate with other authors.
In other words, it has everything that the top formatting and writing software has, and there’s more coming to make it the best in the industry.
The cost of Atticus is one of its strengths. Programs like Vellum cost $199 for just eBook and $249.99 for ebook & print book capability.
Atticus, on the other hand, costs only $147 for unlimited books and ebooks.
Plus, that price is for a lifetime purchase. $147 will get you the current version of Atticus, plus all future updates.
So, you get all the capabilities as before, but for a fraction of the cost.
Complete List of Atticus Features
Atticus is packed full of features, so for this review we’re going to break down all of them one by one.
1. Cross Platform Use
This is, by far, the strongest feature that authors have been asking for. Package like Vellum are not available outside of a Mac, and their website even says that they do not plan to create a Windows version, so waiting is not an option.
Atticus, on the other hand, is available not just for Mac, but for Windows, Linux, Chromebooks, as well as in your Internet browser.
2. Ease of Use
Atticus was designed to be intuitive and easy to use, while not sacrificing functionality. You shouldn’t have to watch a whole course just to figure out how to use a piece of writing software.
That sets it above other programs that might have a lot of features, but also a huge learning curve.
3. Autosave, Cloud Storage, and Backups
The Autosave function makes it easy to keep from losing your work. All you have to do is write and format, and it will take care of the rest.
The books in Atticus are saved to the cloud. Everything is saved on secure servers, meaning you can access it from anywhere, and you don't have to worry about your computer breaking down and losing all your data.
Additionally, you have the option to backup your books, either one at a time, or all at once. It’s secure and you therefore you don’t have to worry about losing your work.
4. In-app Spell Check
Atticus is set up to have spell check natively in the app, with further plans to integrate ProWritingAid in the future. While we'd like to integrate with Grammarly, it's a bit of a difficult company to work with and the way they designed their program, it's a bit problematic – but we'll keep trying.
Footnotes and Endnotes are also a function of Atticus, making it comparable to Vellum, and also ensuring that those of you who write nonfiction, academic papers, or any other instance where you’d need a footnote, you can add them with Atticus.
6. Offline Use
While Atticus is cloud based, you can use the program and all of its features offline if you so choose.
To do this you can to download the Progressive Web App (instructions here) onto your computer or smart device, or you can log in with a browser before you go offline. That way you can take Atticus with you wherever you need to go. The only time you'll need to be connected online is either initially login in, when you upload a document, export a document, and when you collaborate (a future feature).
7. Exporting Options
Like Vellum, Atticus will export an EPUB-format eBook, as well as a PDF file for print.
Unlike Vellum, however, Atticus will also export to a DOCX file, which makes collaborating with editors that much easier.
Note: Even though Amazon no longer accepts MOBI files for eBook, Atticus will be coming out soon with a MOBI export so that authors can send MOBI files to their ARC team or Beta Readers.
8. Importing Options
Atticus also allows you to import a document, if you are taking an old book and importing it into Atticus, for example.
Atticus currently supports DOCX, RTF, MOBI, and EPUB file types for importing, with more options on the way. What's great about this is that incase you need to update a previous submitted m MOBI file, it's easy to drag the MOBI file into Atticus, make your changes, and export it as an EPUB so you can resubmit to Amazon – cause remember, Amazon no longer accepts MOBI files. This alone should be a major time saver.
9. Device Previewer
To see how your manuscript looks when formatted, Atticus boasts a device previewer with 14 different device possibilities to preview, including print.
Currently, this feature is being updated to include pagination, so that it functions more like an actual eReader device or a print book. But you can still get a solid sense of the style of your book, including its font, the chapter header, the table of contents, etc.
10. Chapter Splitting
Atticus allows you to split a chapter from any place in your manuscript. This is useful if the manuscript import fails to detect the beginning of a chapter, or if you’ve written a chapter, decide it’s too long, and want to divide it into two.
Along with this feature is the ability to merge chapters as well, should that be necessary.
11. Word Count
Atticus lets you see three types of word count:
- Your entire book
- An individual chapter
- A specific selection
This way, you can check to see how your book, or chapter or selection is coming along giving you more options for tracking than most writing software out there.
12. Chapter Elements
Chapters are not the only element that you need when formatting your book. You need adequate front and back matter as well. Atticus has you covered.
For front matter, there are elements built for copyright, title page, blurbs, dedications, epigraphs, forewords, introductions, prefaces, and prologues.
For the main body you’ve got chapters, full page images, and even a custom option.
For back matter, there are epilogues, afterwords, acknowledgements, author about pages, and also by pages.
All of these are essential parts of your book.
One upcoming feature that I'm really excited about that should be coming out VERY soon, is the ability to create your own page, and make it a template. This way, you can use it in other books instead of having to recreate it – like your Bio page, Copyright page, or even your Also By page. Furthermore, we'll be adding a feature to this where if you update information on a saved template, you can have Atticus auto apply it to all of your books that uses the template.
So, say for example, you just published a new book. You could go into a book, update your Also By page to include the new book and with the click of a button, all of your books can be updated with the same information just like that. For those of you with multiple books, this can be a real time saver.
13. The Theme Builder
Now we get to the big guns. Atticus’ theme builder is one area where the program shines above the competitors.
The theme builder allows you to create and save your own custom styles for your book, or use a variety of pre-rendered versions.
There are two ways to make the most of this theme builder:
First of all, Atticus comes with a lot of different pre-built themes that you can use, a function that already gives you more variety than other apps. These themes are designed to fit a number of different genres and tones. Chances are, if you don't find what you want here, you can create one that works. Which brings us to…
Build Your Own Theme
If you want, you can build your own theme from scratch.
The theme builder allows you to create and save your own custom styles for your book. This can include, but is not limited to:
- Your font and font size
- The style of your chapter headers
- Custom images in your chapter headers
- Custom ornamental breaks
- Your print trim size
- Your header and footer styles
Each of these can be customized to your liking, saved, and used again and again in your books.
14. Full Bleed Images
A full bleed image is one that extends all the way to the edge of a print book. This is a feature that is often tricky to get right without a massive program like Adobe Indesign, but it is offered as part of Atticus.
15. Large Print Font Options
Large print is growing in popularity as a viable option for those with limited eyesight. And while many programs let you have a large font to produce what they call “large print books”, there's actually a number of other steps you have to take to make them compliant with government guidelines.
Atticus, on the other hand, does all of these things for you, which gives it a huge advantage over the competition.
16. Support Team
If you’ve appreciated the support team behind Publisher Rocket, you’ll love the support behind Atticus.
The software is constantly being tweaked, upgraded, and improved based on customer feedback. If you’ve got problems, they can help!
Upcoming Features for Atticus
Atticus is a living program with a ton of new features coming down the line. While it’s already primed as a formatting software, it’s set to become the last piece of writing, organization, plotting, and collaboration programming that you’ll ever need.
Here is a rundown of some of the features currently in development, or soon to be. And if you're curious to learn more, check out the Atticus roadmap to see what's being worked on currently, and what's coming soon – we like to be open about out timeline 🙂
Find and Replace
Another feature that is coming soon is the Find and Replace feature, which will allow you to search through your entire document to find a specific word or phrase, and allowing you to replace it with whatever you need.
Volumes and Parts
With Volume and Parts, you can divide your story into several different subsections with chapters in each. This is particularly useful if you’re creating box sets. This feature will soon be live with Atticus.
Discussed previously above, this is a feature that people have been asking for Vellum to implement for years, and will soon be available for Atticus.
Have you ever hated writing an Also By page for every single book you own? With reusable elements, you could craft one Also By page (or any other type of content) and use it over and over again.
A Dark Mode
For the night owls among us, Atticus will eventually have a dark mode that will present a darker theme of the Atticus work space.
Here is a concept of what that might look like:
Goal Setting/Tracking Tools
One of the major updates planned for Atticus is to have comprehensive goal setting and tracking tools. Imagine setting a word count goal for the day, then having it track in real time how much you’re able to do.
Here is a concept piece illustrating what it might look like:
In addition to motivational and productivity features, Atticus will eventually have tools to help plot and outline your novel, as well as provide features to aid in your characterization and worldbuilding.
It’s no secret that we at Kindlepreneur recommend ProWritingAid as the best grammar and spelling tool out there. So it should come as no surprise that Atticus will include ProWritingAid at a future point.
So if you didn’t want to break away from Google Docs or Word because of its ProWritingAid integration, you won’t need to worry for long.
Another of the big features eventually coming to Atticus is the ability to collaborate between users.
This will be a great feature for those who want to write novels together, but it also applies to collaboration with editors, writing coaches, writing groups, and virtually any situation you can think of where collaboration would be helpful.
Eventually Atticus will also have version history, or the ability to save and revisit past revisions of your manuscript. This will eliminate the need to have a ton of files with each different revision of your manuscript.
Atticus Review: The Bottom Line
As you can see, Atticus is an easy-to-use software that will help authors build professional books and ebooks, and is cheaper than Vellum. But, Atticus isn't going to be only a formatting software. In time, with the planned new features, it will be more than that.
- Far more affordable than the leading alternatives
- Available on all conceivable platforms
- Easy to use
- Contains all the major features of Vellum, with more on the way
- A dynamic theme builder
- Works as a formatting software and as a word processor
- A stellar support team
- Not all the features are available at launch
- As a new program, may have some bugs
The Bottom Line: Atticus is geared to be the best book writing and formatting software on the market, and it does so for less than the trending market price, and on far more platforms so every author can take advantage of it.