How To Use Dictation Software To Write Your Book Fast

People tend to think dictating a book and having it written down is something novel. The truth is that authors have been using this method for centuries — in the form of people. In today’s world, authors use software instead of people.

Recently, I’ve come across many authors asking me which dictation software would best help them write their books. Whether you use it as a matter of convenience or out of necessity, picking the right dictation software is an important decision for your book.

So, I took a few weeks to research some of the top paid and free dictation software in the market—specifically ones that authors can use to write their books.

In this article, I’ll be sharing with you the top seven dictation software and their pros and cons.

Let’s dive right in.

What Is Dictation Software?

Dictation software, also called text-to-speech software, is a program or app that allows an author to pen down their book with their voice instead of typing it down. The software is built with speech-to-text voice recognition features that convert the author’s words into plain text.

It can quickly and accurately convert your spoken words into text, thereby eliminating the chore of typing long pages.

Many people use dictation software on their phones to send text messages. Today, many writers use it to produce articles, blogs, and even books.

Why Use Dictation Software?

You should use dictation software to write your book if you want to save time.

Using dictation software is a convenient way to write your book (or note down ideas for it) without resorting to your memory, typing, or scribbling it down.

The more time you save writing your book, the faster you move towards publishing it.

What Are the Main Features of Dictation Software?

All dictation software use Advanced Speech Recognition (ASR), the AI or machine learning technology that converts human speech into text.

More advanced software have the following added features:

  • Speaker Authentication: Automatic recognition of the speaker.
  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR): Conversion of scanned text, images, or handwriting into editable text.
  • Text To Speech (TTS): An assistive technology that reads text out loud.
  • Speech Synthesis: Artificial production of human speech.

Benefits of Using Dictation Software to Write Your Book

Here are some of the major benefits of employing dictation software to write your book.

  • Saves Time: A dictation software cuts your writing time by half. Of course, you’ll have to make edits later, but even written or typed material needs edits. By dictating your book, you save a load of time in creating a raw first draft.
  • Assists Authors with Medical Conditions: There may be some who might have trouble typing due to certain medical conditions such as muscle strains or injuries. Sitting down and typing for hours isn’t the most conducive option for them. Dictation limits and, in some cases, eliminate their need to use a keyboard.
  • Dictation on the Go: Whether you’re on the bus, walking, or sitting in the park, you can dictate your book as long as you have your device with you. Many dictation software come with transcribing technology that allows you to record your words and later transcribe them into editable text.

Who Would Benefit from Using Dictation Software?

Anyone who doesn’t like writing but would like to share their story in the form of a book can benefit from using dictation software.

How to Dictate Your Book?

The specifics of how you dictate your book will depend upon the software you use. But here are some useful tips to make the recording process as smooth as possible.

  1. Speak clearly and intelligibly. Let the software get to learn your voice and speech patterns. If you’re going to use non-English or made-up words, speak them slowly at first. As you get used to the software (and it gets used to you), you’ll figure out how to dictate your speech in a casual tone.
  2. Make sure there’s no background noise. Unless you’re using high-quality recording equipment, normal microphones tend to pick up sounds from everywhere. So, ensure your surroundings are quiet.
  3. Learn basic voice commands (covered earlier). This will save you the hassle of editing for punctuation and line breakers when you move into the editing round.
  4. Create an outline of what you want to dictate. This will make your recording all the smoother without the annoyance of awkward pauses or “umms.” Your outline should give you an exact idea of what you want to dictate.
  5. Work chapter by chapter. You may get tempted to write something for another chapter. We suggested you record any ideas for later chapters in a memo. Use your outline and stick to it in an orderly manner.
  6. Invest in high-quality equipment, preferably a good microphone and some headphones. It will make your speech sound clearer and produce a cleaner recording, and the chances of speech-to-text error will be reduced.

Downsides of Dictation Software

As convenient as it can be to use dictation software to write your book, there are a couple of downsides.

  • Even the best software isn’t 100% accurate. There will be errors and misunderstandings from time to time. Changes in tone and voice can add to the complexity.
  • Getting used to the software and having it recognize your speech and voice can take some time. It can be an arduous task for a first-time or technologically unsavvy author.

However, there is a bright side to both these downfalls.

It’s true that dictation software isn’t fully accurate, but the more you use it over time, the more you figure out how to go around any shortfalls.

And with regard to getting used to the software taking time and effort: that applies to any skill set. But once you invest in it, it becomes almost second nature to use the software in the future.

What Is Stopping You from Using Dictation Software?

I asked some of my clients what stopped them from using dictation software. Most of them answered that they were a bit skeptical of investing time and money into something new.

As I mentioned earlier, dictation is not something new. It’s been used for centuries. Today’s dictation technology has come quite far with higher levels of speech recognition accuracy. You don’t need to take the product’s word for it, but there are many famous authors who use this software to write their books. Some have even written best-sellers.

If it works for them, it could work for you as well.

Are There Any Famous Authors Who Use Dictation Software?

Yes, there are several famous authors who’ve used dictation software to write their books. These include Dan Brown, Kevin J. Anderson, Elizabeth Craig, and Richard Powers.

Do All Writers Need to Use Dictation Software?

No, not all writers need to use it. Some writers may be more comfortable getting their ideas down on good old pen and paper or a word processor.

How Fast Can Dictation Software Write My Book?

A good dictation software can write up to 150 words per minute. However, this depends upon the speed of narration and duration of the author’s dictation.

Top Dictation Software for Authors in 2022

1. Dragon Professional Individual

Price: $500

Operating System: Windows

If you’re looking for the crème de la crème of dictation software, Dragon Professional should be your number one choice.

Dragon has a highly accurate speech recognition that allows authors to comfortably narrate their book. Its quick response time has words appear on the screen almost as quickly as you say them, allowing for smooth dictation.

And when it comes to writing your unique book, Dragon works for you. You can create custom words and vocabulary, proper nouns, and certain unique phrases, and it will easily learn and capture them.

Another great feature of Dragon is that it allows you to record on the go. You can record your material on your phone or any other audio recording equipment you have on hand, whether you’re going on a walk or a road trip. You can plug your audio recording into Dragon, and the software will transcribe the audio for you.

For all it’s packed with, Dragon Professional Individual can be on the pricier side. Although, if you plan on using all its features, it’s definitely worth the money.


  • Speech recognition accuracy up to 99%
  • Learns the words and phrases used the most for personalized accuracy
  • Fast response rate; words appear on the screen almost immediately


  • Very expensive
  • Doesn’t support Mac

2. Dragon Home

Price: $200

Operating System: Windows

Dragon Home is a less expensive option for authors looking for a high-quality dictation software. Although it’s not the cheapest, it ranks high in the value-for-money factor.

Compared to its higher-end version (Dragon Professional Individual), Dragon Home misses some key features like custom voice commands for standard texts. Barring that small inconvenience, Dragon Home still does the job, offering a 99% speech-to-text accuracy and a playback feature.

One of the neatest features of Home is the ability to add new words and personalized jargon. You can train the software to recognize and understand your pronunciation, voice, and certain words and phrases. So, if your book has non-English words and unique names, Dragon Home can easily pick them up.

Like Dragon Professional Individual, Home is only available on Windows (sorry, Apple users).

It takes a bit of practice with the dictation and setting up some features. But once you have it down, you can narrate your story at a conversational pace, and the software will almost instantly pick up your words.


  • Speech recognition accuracy up to 99%
  • Easy to add new words and phrases.
  • Has a playback feature


  • Only available for Windows
  • Misses out on some features available on Dragon Professional Individual

3. Braina Dictation Software

Price: $79/year or Lifetime for $199

Operating System: Windows

If Dragon didn’t make the cut on account of its price, Braina is a less expensive option available for first-time authors. Plus, you have the option of going for a yearly plan or lifetime plan. This is especially useful if you want to use a good dictation software for only a limited period of time.

Braina was designed to be a personal assistant for performing basic commands on your computer (like opening files, taking notes, and browsing through media). It was not designed for long dictation, but you can still use it to write your book. But it lacks the automation and personalization available on Dragon.

It still boasts a high speech-to-text accuracy, so you can comfortably dictate your book with a very low rate of error. It also allows for multiple languages, so it can recognize non-English words.

While it’s accurate and inexpensive, Braina is available only for Windows, not making it accessible to authors who use other operating systems.


  • Up to 99% accurate speech recognition
  • Three times faster than typing
  • Easy setup and friendly interface
  • Affordable


  • Not designed for long, continuous dictation
  • Needs a stable internet connection


Price: $8.33/month or Free version

Operating System: All is a fairly new software in the speech-to-text game, but it seems to be a favorite among a number of authors. It’s especially popular among first-time writers because it has a free version that allows them to test out the waters of speech dictation software for writing.

Unlike the other paid dictation software in this list, is compatible with all operating systems, making it more accessible to authors who use Apple or Linux.

The free version offers 600 minutes of transcribing per month, which may suffice or not be enough depending on the author. The pro plan gives you unlimited transcription time. The major downside of is that it doesn’t have voice commands to structure your sentences (like punctuation and line breaks). So, it might leave you with some editing work after dictation.

On the plus side, it has a pretty high word recognition accuracy (almost like that of Dragon), which is a major benefit for a free software.


  • Has paid and free versions
  • High voice recognition accuracy for a free version
  • Available on all operating systems


  • Limited features on free versions
  • Needs a stable internet connection

The next three options are free dictation software. They’re quite similar to each other in most aspects. Your choice will mostly depend upon which operating system you use.

5. Windows 10 Speech Recognition

Price: Free

Operating System: Windows

Out of all the free dictation software, most of the authors we’ve connected with seemed to prefer Windows. To begin with, many of them used Windows. But a number of them who used Apple and Google reported higher levels of accuracy with Windows.

Windows just might be the best of the free options, primarily because they own Nuance (the creators of Dragon). So, they use the same technology. Windows and Dragon use the same machine learning to understand your speech, but they definitely don’t share the same level of accuracy.

The plus side of having a completely free dictation software like Windows is that first-time authors can test the benefits of dictating their book. Authors can practice using the free software, and if they decide to go the route of dictating books, they’ll have already set the groundwork for using paid software.

And since they both run on the same technology, Windows can pave the way for authors to use Dragon.


  • Best option among free dictation software
  • Fairly decent accuracy for a free software
  • Available in multiple languages


  •  Not the best accuracy
  • Limited to Windows users only

6. Google Docs Voice Typing

Price: Free

Operating System: All

The most commonly used online word processor features an accurate and easy-to-use dictation feature. And the best part is that it’s free.

Google Docs Voice typing works on almost every platform. You can use it on Windows, Mac, Linus, or Chromebook. You can record from home, on your commute, or anywhere as long as you have a stable internet connection and G Suite.

Google voice recording gives you the option of dictating in multiple languages. However, the voice commands (like “new sentence” and “period”) need to be spoken in English.

In our experience, you might have to be as clear as possible for Google to pick up your words, so you may have to sacrifice a more natural narration at times. The biggest downside of using this option is that you can’t work offline. So, if you don’t have access to an internet connection, then tough luck.

We highly recommend this option if you’re new to dictation software, writing a simple book, or looking for a free and easy option.


  • Free
  • Can be used on many operating systems
  • Fairly decent accuracy


  • Not the most accurate software
  • Needs a stable internet connection

7. Apple Dictation

Price: Free

Operating System: Macintosh

If you’re an Apple user like many authors, this would be your first option. This software comes with all Apple products.

Apple Dictation makes for a great free dictation software because of its versatility. You can activate and use it on any application on your Apple product (except Google Docs) because it’s built into the system itself. You can even use it offline.

It’s available in multiple languages, and you can turn it on and off using a keyboard shortcut. What’s neat is it even has some fairly advanced voice commands for sentence structuring. For example, you can dictate punctuations, line breakers, and new paragraphs.

The accuracy is not as good as your cream-of-the-crop paid software, but if you’re a first-time user and okay with a little bit of editing, Apple Dictation is a great starter.


  • Free
  • 99% speech recognition accuracy for English speakers
  • Can be used without an internet connection
  • Has many extra commands


  • Does not work with Google Docs
  • Limited to Apple users only

Our Verdict on Using a Dictation Software to Write Your Book

We realize that some authors might still be skeptical of using dictation software, and that’s understandable. We’re confident that you’ll find more reasons to use it than not.

It saves you a lot of time. You can write on the go. It saves you the hassle of typing too much. And it’s used by famous authors.

If you’re someone who’s still on the fence on whether you want to dictate your book, give one of the free software or trial versions a shot. If you like it and have figured out how to maneuver the basics, you can upgrade to the big leagues with a paid software.

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