Novlr is Kim & Thomas and the thousands of people who have supported us in this idea. We tried to write novels and there just wasn’t a platform to use that was good enough. So we started building it ourselves. Since then we’ve had overwhelming support and listening to the needs of writers is what we want to do.
Help us give writers the platform they deserve.
What we have done so far is in beta - try the beta now (http://novlr.org) - and now we need you to help us reach a full release with all the features you’ve told us you want (offline writing, character profiles and more) - ideally as much of them ready as possible in time for National Novel Writing Month (November).
With millions of people around the world engaged in writing a novel, it's amazing that until now there hasn't been a really simple tool crafted for their needs. There are lots of ways you can write your novel - by hand, Word, Google Docs and more... but none of those were designed for novels and they all have their flaws. We know because we tried them all. There are attempted solutions but they are either
over-complicated and cluttered;
offline so require you to do all the backing up;
or are tied to one device.
As we are a combination of writers and developers (some degree of both in each of us!) we wanted to build something that addressed this problem.
So, alongside our regular jobs over the past year, we built Novlr. An online novel writing software that is simple, beautiful and takes care of all the fiddly stuff so that you can concentrate on the important bits: the words. Novlr automatically saves (so you’ll never have to hit ctrl+s again!) and is backed up to the cloud. It gives you per-chapter and per-novel word counts and you can log into it on any device in the world that has an internet connection. And, if you help us get to full public release, devices and places without internet connection too.
Novlr has seen an unbelieveable amount of support which is what has kept us pushing to get it to where is now. That is to a solid, secure beta with auto-saving, wordcounts, simple formatting, chapter adding/sorting/deleting and basic settings. Over 12,000 people on twitter and facebook are following our journey, to whom we are eternally grateful - they, their bug testing, feedback and spreading the word are what have meant we have the beta in such a good position. 1,500 people signed up to Novlr before there was even anything to see which made us confident that this is something people wanted.
We’re excited about the features we can build in to our first full release. We have asked you what you need and over a thousand votes have been cast on our poll. We want to do that as quickly as possible as there are thousands already using the beta, National Novel Writing Month is looming large and we want features like offline to be available to everyone as soon as possible.
Most requested first release features:
Offline. (This is the biggie. The ability to use Novlr when you are not connected to the internet)
More than one novel per user - Our users are more prolific than we could have imagined
Export your work - initially doc and pdf. (It's your work, we want you to have it in whatever format you want)
Character profiles - Your characters deserve to be brought to life and referenced easily
Mark/tag chapters - For draft workflows, locations, etc
Getting Novlr this far has involved a great deal of work from us but also we’ve needed support from developers and designers to get it perfect. We want to continue to deliver the same level of quality. To do so we need your support.
Once we get to a fully-featured, but still simple, release, we will come out of beta and offer it as a full novel-writing software. At this point we will charge around £5/month and once in that position, with users, we will be able to fund development of all the other features you have asked for on an ongoing basis. Novlr will keep improving based on what you tell us. For, well, ever.
Thomas is a digital enthusiast and wannabe novelist. He has headed up digital teams in the charity sector for the past 10 years and is passionate about making things happen. Thomas is happiest when he gets that final tile of the rubiks cube in place after hours of trying.
Kim is a digital developer and poet and has also worked producing and developing for charities over the past 5 years and has an unbreakable enthusiasm for projects that will make a difference. Kim is happiest when she is licking the chocolate cake bowl clean.
Being a part of Novlr in the beginning is a handsome reward in itself...but we get that for your pledge to make Novlr happen other little sweeteners won’t go amiss. So we have put together some packages to choose from. Thank you for being one of the brilliant people that is going to #makenovlrhappen.
As part of some of the packages you will get one of the first ever Novlr hoodies or t-shirts! Yes, very exciting. For each, there will be two designs to pick from.
and the T-shirts:
Risks and challenges
We feel the risks involved in this project are low as we’ve already got a working beta out there with a community that enjoys using it as it is already.
The main risk is if we’ve underestimated the work required to deliver the features we hope to get into release one. This is mitigated by a number of factors:
- We understand the product well and know what’s needed to deliver these features.
- We don’t actually require all of the features to be ready for release one - we could release with fewer, and continue to develop from there
- Another risk might be that something should happen to Kim, one of our developers/designers or I which would mean we couldn’t work on the project. However the scope is already well defined so Kim or I could continue alone, and we have used multiple developers and designers to mitigate just this risk.
- (21 days)