MAC users have long advocated Vellum as a formatting tool for ebooks, so there has been much excited anticipation in the author community about the planned launch of a print equivalent. ALLi advisor Giacomo Giammatteo, who has been a pre-launch tester for the new product, has with characteristic thoroughness reviewed the new product for ALLi as it launches.
Vellum and Formatting for Print
I’ve heard for years about the problems associated with submitting print books to IngramSpark. Formatting for print has never been easy.
They don’t work.
The file was rejected.
I had to resubmit, and
That cost me money.
These statements, and ones like them, have been circulating around the indie community for a long time. It’s not that I don’t believe them, I’ve experienced it a few times myself when formatting for print. But the wait for a solution is over thanks to Vellum.
Who Is Vellum?
Vellum is the best thing that’s happened to formatting since…well, since anything.
I’ve never seen any formatting software that can do what Vellum does. And Vellum does it so easily. I know what you’re probably thinking. Who is this guy to tell me about formatting for print?
I started using Vellum to format my eBooks late last year because I was tired of paying to have them done, but more so because I was tired of waiting to have them done. I decided to buy Vellum and give it a try. I was so impressed with what Vellum could do and how easy it was to do it, that I bought their unlimited package.
After formatting a few books, I was even more impressed, so impressed that I even wrote a book about it—How to Format an eBook.
After writing the book, I realized Vellum was even easier to use than I previously thought. Based on that, I started offering formatting services for those unfortunate enough not to own a MAC. (Yes, I had to throw that taunt in there.)
You Mean Vellum Is Only for Macs?
Yes and no. The software runs natively on Macs and PCs can’t run it. However (There’s always a however.) there are ways around it. If you don’t own a Mac, you can use a service called Mac in the Cloud. which allows you to use Vellum by simulating a Mac. If you have Mac simulation software, you could also do it.
Why Go to the Trouble?
Because using Vellum is worth it. Every formatter I’ve ever worked with gives you the option of inserting a few images. But when I say
a few, I mean a few. They charge more for anything over five usually.
Vellum makes it so easy to insert images that I went hog wild with it. I’m writing a new book, called Visual Grammar, and I have more than two hundred images in it.
I know what you’re thinking—or should be—Amazon will charge a fortune for that. And ordinarily you’d be right, but there’s a way around that, and you can read about it on a future post. But without delaying any further, let’s look at how Vellum can add spice to your books. I have even started using pictures in my mystery books.
I know it’s arguable whether pictures do any good, but I’ve already heard from dozens of readers that they like it. And I think it will be even more valuable in my upcoming series geared toward children.
Below are screenshots from an upcoming fantasy book.
Now let’s get back to what we were talking about…
Vellum, and Formatting for Print
For the first time, authors are free to create beautiful print books for CreateSpace and IngramSpark, and to do it with ease and by expending little effort. Even better, you don’t have to spend much money. I put out a book last month on how to use Vellum to format an ebook, and it has met with resounding success. Now, I’m telling you that the formatting for print version is even easier. (Below is the cover of How to Format an eBook.)
How to Format an eBook
If you’ve been in the business for any length of time, you know how difficult it is to find a professional formatter who knows, really knows how to format a book for IngramSpark. In the past, the result was you would often get rejected by IngramSpark’s strict screening process, and you would be required to upload a new file.
That doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that uploading a new file meant paying more money. So not only did the mistake cost you time, but it cost additional money as well.
Vellum can create beautiful books for print services like CreateSpace, IngramSpark, and Nook Press.
When creating the Print Edition of your book, Vellum automatically:
- Selects appropriate margins and font size for your chosen trim size.
- Numbers the pages of your book, starting after front matter.
- Adds configurable headers and footers to pages that need them.
- Creates a Table of Contents with page numbers.
- Ensures your first chapter starts on the right-hand page (or every chapter).
- Adjusts the layout of text to avoid unsightly widows.
- Balances every page spread to be even at the bottom.
- Converts any color images to black and white for print.
All of which means all you have to do is press Generate! Within thirty seconds, you’ll have a PDF file you can send to CreateSpace or IngramSpark with no fear of rejection.
What Else Can Vellum Do?
As if all of that wasn’t enough, Vellum does all of the things it does for eBooks, including drop caps, chapter headings, spacing options, etc. Below is a screenshot from my upcoming fantasy book which shows the chapter heading, the drop cap I selected (one of many), and the
Alignment Block option. It does not show the ornamental scene break, which is fantastic. Here’s a screenshot from my new fantasy book.
The one thing that’s different from that screenshot and the print version involves my only gripe: when files are converted to PDF for print, the images are all converted to black and white. I felt it should be an option in the preferences to leave them color or convert them.
I don’t see this as a big deal, as a black & white picture is better than no picture, but if you’re writing books for children, or cookbooks, color would be a nice option.
Below is a screenshot of the print settings, and as you can see, there’s not much to configure.
- Trim size is the first decision you’ll need to make. Vellum offers five. I’m guessing in the future, they will broaden that offering.
- Inside margin width is next. It will be calculated and set automatically, but if you want to manually change it, you can.
- You have the option of beginning chapter one, or all chapters on the right side (as most major publishing houses do).
- At the bottom it displays how many pages are in the book. It shows this in several other places also.
I wrote this prior to the formal release of the print version, so I don’t know what the pricing will be. Whatever it is, I’m sure it will be fair, as it is with the pricing for eBook formatting. In any case, I’m sure it will be worth it.
If you’re smart, you’ll go and buy Vellum now. Trust me, it’s worth it.
OVER TO YOU If you’ve also been lucky enough to have a pre-launch trial of Vellum for Print, please feel free to add your comments – and if anyone has questions for Jim, he’ll be happy to answer them.
ANOTHER GREAT POST ABOUT VELLUM FROM OUR ARCHIVE