Vellum Evaluation: Higher Than Scrivener for Guide Formatting

Each time a fellow author or shopper asks me what I exploit to create ebooks or print editions, my first query is at all times, “Mac or PC?”

It’s not my intention to boost my elitist, Apple-shaped nostril at them. Moderately, their response dictates my reply. PC customers get the arduous reply: “Have you ever thought of switching to a Mac?”

I’m kidding, however solely barely. The comparative ease with which Vellum, a Mac-only product, creates ebooks and print editions ought to make all PC authors take into account making the swap…or no less than befriending one Mac person who’ll allow them to borrow their laptop for an hour.

I could also be overselling Vellum, however for my cash, which I’ve gladly given them on a number of events, they’ve launched an app that marries ease of use with improbable design — each of the app itself and of the ebooks and print editions it’s able to creating.

Right here’s my evaluate of Vellum software program for self-publishers.

Guide formatting software program and different choices

Those that have but to expertise the enjoyment of utilizing Vellum are relegated to picking from amongst a couple of time-consuming or pricey processes:

Rent knowledgeable guide designer for each your book and print version layouts, which may value into the hundreds of dollars relying on the intricacy or complexity of your layouts. You probably have the cash, that is the way in which to go, particularly when you’ve vetted the inside designer. Their expertise is well worth the expense, however not all writers or self-publishers can afford such prices, and notably in the event that they plan to launch a number of titles.
Add a Phrase doc to Kindle Direct Publishing or the affectionately recognized “meatgrinder” at Smashwords and hope for the most effective. (After which attempt to not pull your hair out.)
Be taught the intricacies of Calibre, a robust piece of book software program that’s extra usable by programmers than authors.
Be taught to put out your personal guide in Adobe InDesign, a robust desktop publishing app that provides you the best of management over your design. Sadly, it additionally requires dozens of hours to grasp and a month-to-month subscription to an app chances are you’ll solely use intermittently.

I’ve tried every of those, whether or not with my books or these I’ve helped purchasers create. Every one has its shortcomings, both in an excessive amount of time wasted looking for design perfection or an excessive amount of cash spent ready for a designer to lastly end the guide.

So I’m going to share a greater choice with you. Sure, there’s a greater approach to DIY your self-published guide!

Whereas I’d used Vellum to create ebooks earlier than, the discharge of Vellum launched a game-changing characteristic: print formatting.

Now, the time and expense I’ve to spend money on creating stellar books are, on the very least, halved.

What’s Vellum software program?

Vellum is a book-formatting software program. You should utilize it to create stunning ebooks and print books that you would be able to promote wherever, together with Amazon.

The opening display screen of Vellum is easy.

I can click on on an already current venture or import a Phrase file. For this evaluate, we’ll be Sins of the 5 Fathers, a posthumous thriller novel written by my uncle that I self-published with him.

By clicking on Sins of the 5 Fathers, I’m taken to the guide creation display screen:

Clicking on any merchandise within the left-hand sidebar reveals a brand new web page to edit within the middle space. With the guide title chosen, I can edit the guide’s metadata. Clicking on “E-book Cowl” on the prime of the middle space permits me to pull and drop the book’s cowl into the guide.

When a person incorporates Phrase’s kinds into their manuscript, corresponding to at all times utilizing the “Title” fashion in Phrase for every of the writer’s chapter titles, Vellum is sensible sufficient to know to import every of these chapters as separate chapters. Even when Vellum isn’t fairly good sufficient to determine each part or chapter, reorganizing and renaming every half, part or chapter is a breeze.

As an example, by clicking on the configuration icon subsequent to a chapter header, I can simply convert the chapter into a lot of different predefined chapter varieties, e.g., Prologue, Epilogue, Afterword, In regards to the Writer, and many others.

The “Types” panel within the higher left offers a number of templates for the format of particular points of a guide, e.g., Heading, First Paragraph, Block Citation, and many others.

In future releases, I’d prefer to see extra granular management of those points and the power to save lots of personalized templates. However, I imagine the supplied templates present sufficient variation to fulfill any writer looking for to create a historically formatted guide.

Including textual content options is simply as simple. Proper-clicking inside the textual content brings up a context-aware menu that permits you to add options like Subheads, Decorative Breaks, Photos, Alignment Blocks (for right-justified, left-justified or centered textual content) and extra.

Lastly, probably the most highly effective facet of Vellum is its exporting capabilities.

I realized the intricacies (and typically maddening nuances) of exporting my first guide through Scrivener. By far, Scrivener continues to be my most popular phrase processor — this text was written in Scrivener — however its exporting capabilities are nearly too highly effective. It may be overwhelming and time-consuming for many authors to aim.

For my part, that is the place Vellum shines.

By going to the highest menu and choosing “File > Generate Books,” I can select which file varieties and trim dimension I’d prefer to export to. As you’ll be able to see beneath, book choices embrace Kindle (.mobi), iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Google Play, and Generic EPUB.

For print, Vellum presents a wide range of common trim sizes:

5 x eight inches
5.25 x eight inches
5.5 x eight.5 inches
6 x 9 inches
5.06 x 7.81 inches
5.5 x eight.25 inches 

They provide further trim sizes for worldwide books, mass market paperbacks and enormous print.

The proof of any book formatting software program is in, properly, the proof. Listed below are a couple of photos of the Createspace print version proof of Sins of the 5 Fathers:

What about Vellum for home windows?

Sadly, the corporate solely makes Vellum for Mac; there’s no PC model.

If you happen to’re in search of a Vellum equal for home windows, you would possibly take into account Scrivener.

Whereas I desire the benefit of Vellum for guide formatting, Scrivener offers an analogous service, in addition to many extra options.

How a lot does Vellum value?

Vellum software program is an funding.

It prices $199.99 to create limitless ebooks or $249.99 to create limitless ebooks and paperbacks.

Nevertheless it’s value the associated fee, particularly when you’re planning to jot down, format and publish a number of books over your writing profession. Evaluate this to the choices I provided firstly of this submit, and you’ll see why it’s value contemplating!

After all, extra options abound, however what I’ve shared on this transient evaluate are the options I’ve used probably the most. I’ve been fairly happy with Vellum, and it’s now grow to be an integral a part of my publishing course of.

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