• Amanda Clemmer

Atticus: Features and Review


Disclaimer: I am not an Atticus affiliate, and I will make no commission if you purchase Atticus through any of the links here. I’m just sharing my honest thoughts about my experiences with this new resource for writers.


What is Atticus?


Atticus is the latest author tool from author software tool superstar Dave Chesson, whom you might recognize as the mastermind behind Publisher Rocket (formerly KDP Rocket). Atticus is intended to be a multi-use tool that you can use to “plan, plot, outline, write, collaborate and format all in one,” as he mentions in his blog post here.


While Atticus is still a work in progress with many features yet to be unveiled, there are a lot of things to get excited about, such as:

  • Custom layout.

  • A place to write your book before you lay it out.

  • Online and offline functionality.

  • Syncing across devices.

Does that sound like a dream come true? Let’s take a look at the actual performance.

Performance Overview


Layout


First off, Atticus wins on layout. With Atticus, you can design your own themes, for either ebook or print, and you have pages of starting options to choose from. You can put custom illustrations at the top of your chapter headings, stylize the font layout and center your pages however you want.


Not only is Atticus flexible here, but it’s easy and intuitive. You don’t have to be a tech genius. Here’s what I was able to get after only a couple minutes of clicking around.






Better yet, Atticus integrates seamlessly with BookBrush. You can sync your cover on BookBrush with your interior on Atticus and have a full book ready to send to your beta readers. That’s a massive time-saver and secures Atticus as best in the game for layout and book design for authors.


Writing


The writing portion of Atticus has some cool features as well, and many more that appear to be coming in the future. In addition to familiar features like word counting, Atticus packs a nice punch with more unexpected surprises. I like the sprint timer myself.

Unfortunately, Atticus isn’t as smooth as other writing applications like Scrivener. I noticed a substantial delay (about ten seconds) if I needed to revisit an earlier chapter for any reason, and while that isn’t a deal-breaker, it does mean I might stick to drafting elsewhere for now for most projects.

A more serious issue is the way the app occasionally deletes large portions of text while writing while offering no way to retrieve an earlier version (except for manual backup). This has happened twice since I started to use the app, and makes me wary about doing any of my actual writing here instead of on any other dedicated writing platform.

Online/Offline Functionality And Syncing

One especially eye-catching feature from Atticus is that it can work online or offline and (according to the sales page FAQ) on practically any device with a browser. I downloaded the web app onto four different platforms: my PC desktop and laptop, my iOS iPad, and my Android phone.

On my PC, the app runs smoothly. This is where I do the bulk of my writing and, so far, all of my layout, and I like the accessibility and simplicity of the app. I was also able to sync my work with my laptop easily and do some work remotely.


My iPad is a different story. The layout was attractive and easily usable when I first logged in, but each time I loaded the app after that initial visit, the landing page continued to crash, and I couldn’t even open my projects.


Atticus on my phone is only slightly better. It loads the home screen and can open documents, but the syncing is stubborn and unreliable, and it had the odd problem of scrambling my text as I tried typing (see below).


The resulting text from my typing on my phone: This is a test. Can you read this?

The typing straightened itself out when I switched to voice typing, but the inability to sync my phone effectively with my PC means that I probably won't take advantage of this any time soon.


Overall verdict


Atticus is still a work in progress. Its emphasis on layout does make it a stand-out product for self-publishing authors who want high-end book production, and in the future, it will likely have other benefits as well. The writing platform is promising, but between the minimal features and the occasional deleting of words, it isn’t a safe place to store large projects that are still in progress.


Have you tried Atticus? How do you rank it as a tool? Please sign in to share your thoughts in the comments or click the blue button below to join my group for self-publishing fiction writers on Facebook.


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