Writer’s Software: Format, Customize, and Compile Books with Vellum

This will be the first of a few posts on software for writers. Vellum is a formatting software that imports your Microsoft Word document, plugs it into its system, and makes it easy for you to compile your books into the appropriate file types for eBook and print publication.

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We recommend Vellum for people who:

  • Currently own a Mac (it is unavailable on Windows)
  • Will be writing more than one novel (it costs $250, which is worth it, but only if you plan on using it for multiple novels)
  • Have a simple, word-heavy books (it doesn’t work so well with something like a cookbook with heavy formatting)
  • Currently write in Microsoft Word
  • Want something quick and easy, and are willing to pass on more intricate customizations with their headers and other design features

Take a Tour

See below for a quick tour of the software. Vellum is free to download–you only pay once you are ready to compile into a file–so you can take a free and easy look for yourself as well. I go over the quick import process, editing, viewing your book on different devices, and changing style options.

 

Features

  • Generate eBooks for Kindle, iBooks, Kobo, and more
  • Easily work on multiple devices, such as your desktop and laptop
  • Once you’ve formatted the book for ebook, it will automatically prepare it for print as well
  • Assemble box sets of a series
  • Produce advance copies of your book for early feedback
  • Connect to Facebook and Twitter
  •  Add store links to help readers purchase previous works
  • Preview instantly what your book will look like on various devices (iPad, Kindle, iPhone, print)
  • Customization of book style, including chapter headings, first paragraphs, paragraphs after a break, ornamental breaks, block quotations, verses, photographs, portraits, captions, headers and footers, and body
  • Easily add front matter, including title page and table of contents
  • Add your book cover and other photographs simply and easily

Automatically formats

  • Margins
  • Page numbers
  • Headers
  • Font
  • Line spacing
  • Paragraph tabs

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What it lacks

  • Unlike an actual composition software, such as Scrivener, Vellum isn’t a good place to actually write your book
  • You can only import Microsoft Word documents, so if you’re a fan of using Mac’s Pages, or a proper writing software like Scrivener, you will be forced to switch over your current work to Word first, then to Vellum
  • Ultimate customization for format-heavy books like cookbooks, picture books, or any sort of media-heavy guide
  • The ability to switch between a Mac and Windows computer

Next week, be on the lookout for another Writer’s Software post on Scrivener, a writing software with features for the actual writing process, as well as compilation.

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