I’ve got a subscription for the Pro version of Papyrus Author, I’m very on the fence about it. The first item that is ALWAYS on my mind while using it, is the Price. They have it priced up in the nosebleed section (~$188 bucks/year, and no one-time purchase option!!), so I am FORCED to consider it critically when I use it, and in terms of it’s ROI (Return on Investment)
While I am not yet in a position where I’m making money off of my writing, $15/bucks a month is a pretty substantial outlay for mediocre software.
Do I like PA?
Meh – I’m kind of on the fence about it. On the one hand, as a straight accumulator for words, it’s not terrible-- in fact, that’s the portion I most like about it-- which is good, since that’s arguably the thing it needs to do the best-- and it does do a pretty good job at handling words.
I do like it’s “Readability” and “Grammar” features. That is probably what keeps me subscribed, to be blunt. And the MILLISECOND Scrivener (or some other suitable program) offers me the same (or similar) feature, I’m dropping PA like a hot rock.
They have a lot of nice-LOOKING features, which are very attractive when considering a purchase. But my experience is they’re kind of clumsy / clunky to use-- mostly from an interface perpective-- and don’t offer the features that you might expect. Such as the ability to Round-Trip between between the Navigator (Binder-like interface) and the ThinkBoard (sort of like a drawing / mindmap interface). You can pull things INTO ThinkBoard, but you can’t go the other way, from the ThinkBoard into the Navigator, for instance.
I’m going to stop here-- because my goal isn’t to bash PA-- I struggle so much with what it costs versus what it can do. If it really was truly the premier product it claims to be (implied by it’s price), I would have no qualms at all.
As it is, there are in fact a number of features about it I really like-- the Readability and Grammar elements for one, the way it can assist with characters-- POV, Who’s in the Chapter, etc., those are handy things. Having a quick Word / Page count available in the Navigator (aka “Binder”) is a nice feature.
I wish it handled highlighting a little better-- it’s not “bad”, just "different, compared to Scrivener.
And I wish it had the ability to put notes (annotations) Inline, like Scrivener does. I don’t mind having notes on the sides-- that’s nice for some things, but really clutters up the view.
I LOVE the database and ability to create forms and such.
I’m not so fond of the way it crams all of the Meta-stuff into a tiny box in the lower-left corner. But to be fair, Scrivener does nearly the same, just in the right-side-- though it’s a little easier to deal with. BEWARE though, turning On/Off notes and annotations and stuff in the PA Navigator settings can LOSE your data. It’s a bug I’ve reported to them after it happened to me a few times. To my knowledge, it’s still not been repaired-- for a program with a nosebleed price per month… just saying.
Their support is friendly and knowledgeable. They always seem happy to help, and often go above and beyond in their answers and willingness to assist. In THAT aspect, they are absolutely worth the “premium” and deserve the label.
I wish there was some good middle-ground alternative. And there may be. I have been seriously investigating a THIRD alternative which shows ENORMOUS promise, but I have not yet made up my mind about it. It absolutely has the potential, the question (to me) is simply regarding interface improvements that would push it over the top-- and make it the absolute BEST, in my opinion… Time will tell.