A few months ago, I’d heard about an ebook creation tool called Vellum. Up until then, I had used a slew of formatting software to create my last three novels, and among them were Pressbooks (ebook and paperback versions), Scrivener (writing, formatting till I gave up in the paperback version and returned to Pressbooks), and to an extent, my Markdown language favorite, Ulysses (I use this primarily to write, distraction-free, in Markdown language).
Then I saw the page for Vellum and I fell in love–at least, that creative part of me that wanted the instant gratification of seeing my ebook’s output appear right before my eyes. It was available to purchase per book, or group of books, or you could take the plunge and buy the full app to create as many books as you want for $200.
So I plopped my money, and started reformatting a few short stories I had done on Scrivener before then reformatting my full-length novels, Loving Ashe, A Collateral Attraction, and finally tonight, the first novel I ever wrote clocking at 119K words, Finding Sam. I even added a nice heart graphic after every chapter heading.
One of the things I love about Vellum is that formatting for various platforms like Kindle, iBooks, Nook and Kobo requires just one step, and that’s clicking the Generate button, choosing the different platforms you want Vellum to format your book in, and voila! It’s done. Even adding the store links don’t have to be done separately like you need to do for Scrivener. Add the links to various retailers and Vellum generates the copies for each retailer/platform for you.
If you’ve written your manuscript in Word or Pages, save it as a .doc and then import it directly into Vellum. Want to save your manuscript from Vellum? Export it as .RTF and you’re set.
If I were to list the PROS and CONS based on my current use (which means the list is not exhaustive), it would have be this:
- Beautiful interface, easy to use
- You see your work immediately when you click the Display option
- Formatting is pretty easy and more than enough for a fiction writer like me. For someone who writes non-fiction or may need more formatting options, I can’t say. But you can add pictures and arrange them left, center or right justified, top or bottom.
- Generates epub and mobi files for most, if not all platforms with their Generic epub setting
- Generates the appropriate image requirements for all platforms as well, when it comes to the cover
- Table of Contents included
- Price. $200 is pretty steep for me but I wanted it so I scrimped and paid for the full version
- My Macbook is from 2012 so maybe it’s my Macbook’s fault but it seems to tax my laptop’s insides for some reason…or maybe I just have way too many windows going on in my browsers.
- Mobi files don’t look as good as epub files; only because Amazon reformats it depending on the device (Fire, Kindle Reader, etc) after you upload your mobi file
- Limited options for themes and headings, etc, but more than enough really if you want to focus on content
- NO PDF option to create the paperback version which would have made Vellum a one-stop shop 🙁
Want to check out books made with Vellum?
Here’s one: Starting Over (A Short Story)
Do you use Vellum? How do you like it?