I have written about grammar checkers and style checkers before. I continue to believe they are a powerful tool in a writer’s tool bag. AutoCrit has revised their editing software product and has an active marketing campaign underway. I signed up for their trial membership for $1 for a week. Yesterday I spent about 3 hours working on my upcoming novel with their tools. In the end, I had two strong opinions about their updated product.
Before I go on, I want to emphasize that I do not have any affiliate relationship with anyone. So everything I say below is my own opinion without any influence from any third parties.
The new and improved AutoCrit:
First, I have always been impressed with AutoCrit. Not only does it offer powerful tools, it has (IMHO) the nicest user interface going. Below is an example of the feedback I got from their Summary Report when I had it look at my entire 116K word novel:
Attractive, clear and helpful. And when I say it is helpful, I mean that literally. It tells you exactly what you need to hunt down and change. Their tool even goes so far as to give a prioritized list of tags that you should use less often and if you click it, the text will move to exactly where it is so you can go to work on it. Sweet!
AutoCrit has many such tools: Overuse of pronouns, passive voice, repetition (of both words and phrases), etc.
AutoCrit is an impressively powerful, helpful and easy to use tool. I have no doubt that it will help every writer improve their work.
Don’t even think about buying it. At $59.97 a month, the price is outrageous for typical freelance or occasional writers.
I wrote Jocelyn at AutoCrit. I’ve traded emails with her several times over the last few years. She has always been helpful and clear. When I suggested to her earlier this week that the price was very high, she wrote back and said:
“Our new membership level at $59.97 / month includes more than just the software. We have courses on the things we cover in the software, separate weekly sessions on how to rock your revisions (covering things like revising for plot, characters, setting, etc.) and bonuses.
“You can also get just the software for $29.97 /month. Our customers have been asking for a monthly option for a long time – and now we have delivered.
“As for the AutoCrit software, our latest updates take it to a whole new level. Digging deeper into fiction writing and the specific genres. We also added our new Summary report that gives you customized recommendations on where to start and what needs to be done in each category.”
In contrast, ProWritingAid offers a comparable tool for an advertised price of $45/year. That is less for a year than AutoCrit charges for a month (for their full offering).
I do want to be clear that from a follow-up email Jocelyn sent me, it seems that AutoCrit does offer their SW for months at a time. That is: 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, etc. So that is nice in one sense, but it also creates another dilemma. Though $30 for one month allows you to pay for just the time frame you want — and $30 is reasonable for a burst of work — my experience with editing is that it always drags on longer than you expect, and when you are done, you might forget to shut down your subscription, so even if you are not using it, your credit card is getting charged. So again, compared to PWA’s pricing…kind of hard to get on the AutoCrit bandwagon.
In fairness, the PWA tool does not have as clean and as an intuitive interface as AutoCrit has, but it actually has more features and more ability to customize what you want it to find for you. And if it matters to you (it may not), PWA also has a Microsoft Word Plugin, which AutoCrit does not have. On the other hand, AutoCrit will be offering courses to help writers, according to Jocelyn. In short, though different, they are both powerful and extremely helpful tools.
Related, if you want a powerful, free tool, see my article on how to combine the free versions of the Hemingway App and Grammarly. Not as powerful as either AutoCrit or ProWritingAid, but damned impressive results for free. 😉
As a courtesy to both AutoCrit and PWA, I will let them both know of this blog and invite them to comment.