14 October 2017

Using Vellum as a publishing tool

I enjoy having control over all aspects of the publishing process and for the last six years used a range of tools that produced good results. Then I saw this post by Joanna Penn (who helped me start self publishing)  Why I’ve Moved From Scrivener To Vellum For Formatting Ebooks

Like Joanna, I'd been alerted by a reader to an ebook formatting problem that didn't show up on my Kindle. (Line breaks to show change of scene had closed up on her e-reader) This made me wonder how any other readers had said nothing - and if it had cost me sales.

The solution seemed too good to be true. One easy to use tool that could import my Word document, allow me to design the layout based on good practice and produce perfect print and ebook editions with a single click. The problem was Vellum isn't available in a Windows version, so I finally had to make the switch to Mac.

I now wish I'd done this ages ago, as my new MacBook Pro (with context-related touch bar) is a joy to use, after putting up with the vagaries of Windows updates for years. I bought the full version of Vellum as a download and had no problems installing it, so was up and running right away. 

There are useful tutorials on YouTube, such as this one by USA Today best selling author Sara Rosett:

I found the interface so intuitive I rarely had to resort to using the online help. I particularly liked the way you can preview the results as a print book or on any of the popular e-readers:

Vellum makes tricky tasks such as handling images and layout of poetry and quotations really easy. There are enough options to satisfy most needs and the results were validated on Amazon and CreateSpace with no errors. 

Over the past month I've converted all my books to Vellum editions and am happy to recommend this wonderful tool to anyone considering self-publishing.

Tony Riches


  1. I'm not yet published, but I do read a lot of Kindle books. Whenever I find one that is beautifully presented, I invariably find it was created with Vellum. So that's definitely what I'll be doing when it's time to publish.

    I don't own a Mac either ... but I've found a writer friend who does, and I'm sure we can come to some arrangement.

  2. I don't have a Mac, but may have to look into getting one. This program sounds pretty helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  3. My touchpad on my Windows laptop is acting up. Is it time for me to finally switch to a Mac? It's so scary! I'm laughing right now, but I really do find the idea scary, but I'm going to keep this in mind for Vellum. Thanks, Tony!

    1. Hi Raimey I was just the same - but I went back to my old laptop today and was shocked at how slow and primitive it seems after using the new MacBook Pro. It is a bit a learning curve but Word and Excel work perfectly - and the sound is fabulous :)

  4. Oow! I have to go and look at this.

    Because I use Draft2Digital to publish my books I never had to do any formatting because they do that automatically--they also have fancy templates too, now--and download their Mobi file to publish via KDP, I never used the Scrivener formatting. It always seemed unpredictable and clunky. But this looks brilliant.

    Oh, and yes, Mac vs Windows - no contest. I converted around ten years and ago and will never go back. Thanks for sharing this resource! :)


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