I tried building a similar project some 10 years ago, when "Zen writing tools" were all the rage.
Nobody wanted to pay for it. It wasn't general purpose enough to be usable by the general public. And novelists (who I was targeting) are poor and cheap. 90% of people who say they are "working on a novel" will never finish it to ever even try to sell it. Of those that do finish, 90% of them won't make more than pocket change. For the weirdos who finish and make significant sales, the app they used to write was never a significant problem for them. They usually have an anachronistic approach that has nothing to do with productivity and everything to do with personal taste and comfort (George R. R. Martin famously uses WordStar 4.0 on an MS-DOS system).
If you want to make an app for writers, don't make it around the writing process. What aspiring authors need, first and foremost, is training on how to finish a manuacript. After that, everything else is a minor annoyance in comparison. But some of the most common areas where people seem to drop the ball so close to the goal line are: not having a good editor, screwing up the typesetting, having dorky cover art, and thinking posting on Twitter once a week counts as marketing.
The 90% of dreamers don't have what it takes and they know it. They don't even invest their time, so they're certainly not going to invest their money. Tackle trying to convert more of the 10% of finishers into sellers. That might involve a writing tool as a hook to get people in, but the salable part of the app will probably never be the writing process itself.
There is also Inspiration before these two. Where I collect myriad info, snippets etc and then when things fall into place ( Ideating ) , I start writing ( Composition ).
I recently moved to Obsidian. I like the feel of it for writing, and it seems quite flexible to adapt it to my style.
Check it out, can give you some feature ideas.
One nit about the site I haven’t seen addressed yet: overall it’s pretty good on mobile (besides the front page screenshot being too tiny to understand; addressing that is a whole can of worms, but…) the header is breaking the signup button even on my very large phone, and stuff vertical alignment feels weird. You could fix the former, but I’d consider dropping “for free” (it’s a general assumption for most people walking up to a site unless they feel like they’re getting a hard sell) and adjusting styles to fit the content on one line. Definitely look at the vertical alignment though, because it’s gonna look weird regardless of wrapping.
As an aside, I realized when I logged into this account to post that I created my Hackernews account over a decade ago, and scrolling through my post history and coming across the multiple Show HN news posts I've done throughout that time, thinking about the successes and failures I've had with those old projects, and realizing that this community has been here the whole damn time, being as generous and constructive and open-minded as it ever was... that's really cool.
Thank you everyone for being part of one of the best communities on the entire internet. Y'all are too good.
Would you be happier if it made you money or if a community helped you build it?
When I opened the app, I instantly started writing -- and that is good. I already have a half of an essay. Didn't use the notes feature, though -- I think it doesn't work in shorter writings, but is essential in long-form.
I have been writing with paper index cards for a while now. I think using paper cards is still superior: you can arrange them in any pattern you want. Many apps try to emulate the "solitaire" side of writing, but I haven't found anything comparable to analog, yet.
Looks neat tho.
* Offline editing
* Dark mode
* Manuscript theme
* Separates content from presentation
* Automatically curls straight quotes
Here's a tutorial showing how themes (and variables) work:
I've been dog-fooding the editor for almost eight years to help me write a sci-fi novel. (Alpha readers wanted!)
Edit: Forgot no DMs on HN. Use code "beta"!
Good luck on the development!
It recognised URL's but they a not clickable. Nice to have clickable links.
Being serious here, not even trolling. I've gone through many things, and always come back to writing mostly raw html for my own needs. Occasionally I write a small bash script to automate some stuff, bit that's about it.
To be clear, I find the pitch appealing, but the product ???.