Each time a fellow author or shopper asks me what I take advantage of 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. Reasonably, their response dictates my reply. PC customers get the arduous reply: “Have you ever thought-about switching to a Mac?”
I’m kidding, however solely barely. The comparative ease with which Vellum 2.zero, a Mac-only product, creates ebooks and print editions ought to make all PC authors take into account making the swap…or a minimum of befriending one Mac consumer 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 unbelievable design — each of the app itself and of the ebooks and print editions it’s able to creating.
Right here’s my overview of Vellum software program for self-publishers.
E book formatting software program and different choices
Those that have but to expertise the enjoyment of utilizing Vellum are relegated to picking from amongst a number of time-consuming or pricey processes:
Rent knowledgeable e book designer for each your e book and print version layouts, which might value into the hundreds of relying on the intricacy or complexity of your layouts. In case you have the cash, that is the best way to go, particularly in case 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 significantly in the event that they plan to launch a number of titles.
Add a Phrase doc to Kindle Direct Publishing or the affectionately identified “meatgrinder” at Smashwords and hope for one of the best. (After which attempt to not pull your hair out.)
Study the intricacies of Calibre, a robust piece of e book software program that’s extra usable by programmers than authors.
Study to put out your personal e book in Adobe InDesign, a robust desktop publishing app that offers 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 you might 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 e book.
So I’m going to share a greater choice with you. Sure, there’s a greater approach to DIY your self-published e book!
Whereas I’d used Vellum to create ebooks earlier than, the discharge of Vellum 2.zero launched a game-changing function: print formatting.
Now, the time and expense I’ve to put money into creating stellar books are, on the very least, halved.
What’s Vellum software program?
Vellum is a book-formatting software program. You should use it to create stunning ebooks and print books which you could promote anyplace, 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 overview, we’ll be taking a look at 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 e book 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 e book title chosen, I can edit the e book’s metadata. Clicking on “Book Cowl” on the high of the middle space permits me to pull and drop the e book’s cowl into the e book.
When a consumer incorporates Phrase’s types into their manuscript, reminiscent of at all times utilizing the “Title” model in Phrase for every of the creator’s chapter titles, Vellum is wise 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.
For example, by clicking on the configuration icon subsequent to a chapter header, I can simply convert the chapter into a variety of different predefined chapter sorts, e.g., Prologue, Epilogue, Afterword, In regards to the Creator, and many others.
The “Kinds” panel within the higher left supplies a number of templates for the structure of particular features of a e book, e.g., Heading, First Paragraph, Block Citation, and many others.
In future releases, I’d prefer to see extra granular management of those features and the power to avoid wasting personalized templates. However, I imagine the supplied templates present sufficient variation to fulfill any creator looking for to create a historically formatted e book.
Including textual content options is simply as simple. Proper-clicking throughout the textual content brings up a context-aware menu that permits you to add options like Subheads, Decorative Breaks, Pictures, 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 discovered the intricacies (and generally maddening nuances) of exporting my first e book by way of Scrivener. By far, Scrivener continues to be my most popular phrase processor — this text was written in Scrivener — however its exporting capabilities are virtually too highly effective. It may be overwhelming and time-consuming for many authors to try.
In my view, that is the place Vellum shines.
By going to the highest menu and deciding on “File > Generate Books,” I can select which file sorts and trim measurement I’d prefer to export to. As you possibly can see under, e book choices embrace Kindle (.mobi), iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Google Play, and Generic EPUB.
For print, Vellum provides quite a lot of in style 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 e book formatting software program is in, properly, the proof. Listed here are a number 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.
Should you’re searching for a Vellum equal for home windows, you would possibly take into account Scrivener.
Whereas I desire the benefit of Vellum for e book formatting, Scrivener supplies 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 price the price, particularly in case you’re planning to put in writing, format and publish a number of books over your writing profession. Evaluate this to the choices I provided at first of this publish, and you’ll see why it’s price contemplating!
In fact, extra options abound, however what I’ve shared on this transient overview are the options I’ve used probably the most. I’ve been fairly happy with Vellum, and it’s now turn into an integral a part of my publishing course of.
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