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The writers and editors here at Midnight Publishing know that one of the best parts about self-publishing is the amount of freedom that comes with the publication process. While this is many times daunting, a dedicated team with an editor (contact us today to discuss your book project and our many editing and ghostwriting services!), cover designer, formatter, and possibly even a PR team or marketer can ensure that your self-publishing book launch is seamless and results in a high-quality, beautiful product. But what if you’re on a tight budget, or you’re releasing short stories/vignettes and can’t afford to hire an entire team every time you have something ready to publish? There are definitely ways to lower your budget when self-publishing, especially as the industry continues to advance and services become available for DIY-ers and self-publishers. One of those areas where money can be saved is in formatting your book for e-book and print using a tool Vellum.

Vellum: What is It?

Vellum is an e-book and print file generator that offers users a variety of impressive interior design options like drop caps, images, special fonts and much more. With an easy-to-use interface and step-by-step directions, Vellum is enabling self-publishers to create e-books and print versions with an interior that rivals the quality of traditionally published books. Just download the software (must be a MacOS updated and running the El Capitan, Sierra, or High Sierra program—see our thoughts on this restriction below) and begin building your book files!

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Pros of Vellum

First off, Vellum’s design features allow for an absolutely breathtaking interior. This user-friendly program is intuitive and provides authors with several design choices, which they call Book Styles. It will even build the file with a title page and table of contents, and you can add a copyright page and back matter as well. It sets up things like margins, headers, fonts, line spacing, and page numbers automatically through their Book Styles, so you don’t have to choose any of that on your own. A preview option lets you see how your book is going to look on a range of e-readers, and the software is also designed to prevent widows, avoid short pages, and balance page spreads—little issues that often crop up in poorly generated e-books. Another pro? If you find a typo in an existing published book, you can upload the corrected document to Vellum, generate all new e-book and print files, and quickly add them to your book distribution pages rather than having to contact your formatter to fix it (and likely pay for it!).

Cons of Vellum

The number one “con” for Vellum at this point (summer 2018) is that the program will only run on Mac computers. That’s correct—Vellum is only compatible with Macs, and the software creators have stated on their FAQ page that they have no intentions of making it available for Windows users in the foreseeable future. Additionally, it offers two options for purchase:

  1. $199 for unlimited e-books
  2. $249 for unlimited e-book and print versions

While this isn’t necessarily an inexpensive program and you might be able to hire a formatter for the same price or less, Vellum allows you to create e-books and print files indefinitely. Once purchased, users can continue to update their program for free, and never hit a limit with book file creation.

Unsure of which steps to take in your publishing journey? You don’t have to decide on everything alone! Midnight Publishing is a Phoenix-based staff of editors, writers, and marketers who have been providing expert advice to authors and entrepreneurs on which publishing path to take for years. Get in touch with us today to talk about your book needs and how we can help!