Discover our Vellum review that includes everything from pricing to best features and interface usability; learn how to use this innovative book publishing software today.
This Vellum review looks at the pros and cons of this versatile book-writing software. Over 300 million self-published books are sold each year, making this a lucrative hobby for many freelancers. If you’re interested in becoming a self-published author, check out our round-up of the best book editing software.
- Vellum Review: Making Formatting Easy
- What is Vellum?
- Vellum vs Atticus
- Vellum Pricing
- Who Is Vellum For?
- How Does Vellum Work?
- One-Click Import Of Your Manuscript
- Style Your Pages
- Choose Your Font
- Split Chapters Into Two With a Right-Click
- Easy Insertion of Metadata
- Upload Your Cover
- Easy Generating & Inserting of Front & Back Matter
- View Previous Versions & Restore To a Previous Version
- Always Preview Your Progress
- Generate Your eBook In Different Formats & Trim Sizes
- Update At Any Time
- Areas For Improvement
- Why You Can Trust Me
- FAQs About Vellum Review
- Can you write a book in Vellum?
Vellum Review: Making Formatting Easy
Vellum quickly became an indispensable part of my self-publishing set-up, even though the one-off cost gave me serious heartburn. But it quickly paid itself back in book sales as readers complimented me on my beautiful books. The fonts just popped, the paragraphs, spacing and headings lined up neatly, and the back matter and title page sparkled. It just worked.
There’s just one slight hiccup; it’s only available for Mac users. If you don’t have MacOS, you’re completely out of luck. If you’re a Mac-owning, self-publishing author looking for easy formatting software for your book, you’ve got a great opportunity available to you.
What is Vellum?
When submitting your eBook or print book manuscript for approval to publishing platforms, such as Amazon KDP or Draft2Digital, they have very strict standards for how the eBook should be formatted. The reader’s experience is paramount. Just one issue with the first paragraph will have it rejected and thrown back at you to be fixed.
That’s why you must get the right book formatting software from day one and stick with it. Once you learn how to format your books, it becomes second nature to transfer your manuscripts to the software, get them ready for publication, and then spit out the eBook formats you need.
Using Vellum is simple; it falls under the category of “even your grandparents could use it.” There’s a minimal learning curve, so minimal that I learned how everything worked within less than an hour. Even better, you can download Vellum for free, format your book on it, and only pay the activation fee when you’re ready to generate your eBook files. So, there’s absolutely no risk in giving it a go.
Vellum vs Atticus
Vellum and Atticus are both versatile formatting software choices, ideal for authors to create eBooks and print books. Vellum is arguably the best formatting software for authors, but there’s one drawback – it’s only available on Mac. Atticus is a cheaper alternative to Vellum, and it’s available on Mac, Windows, Linux and Chromebook.
Atticus is significantly cheaper than Vellum, costing $147 for unlimited books and eBooks, whereas Vellum has two pricing plans costing $199 for eBooks and $249.99 for print books and eBooks. In terms of software features, Vellum and Atticus are very similar. They both have capable word processors and formatting tools that create beautifully formatted books. For inspiration to get started on your next novel, check out our guide on famous authors who self-published!
Vellum has a free version available, as well as two pricing plans. The free download is available, so you can try it before you buy. The free version allows you to use it for as long as you like, but you can’t generate files for publishing without purchasing the product.
Price: $249.99 one-time fee
Vellum Press allows you to create and generate unlimited eBooks and paperbacks for publishing. Generate unlimited amounts of content for self-publishing or pitching to publishing houses.
Prices: $199.99 one-time fee
Vellum eBooks allows you to create unlimited eBooks formatted perfectly for every eBook platform. Create limitless books to publish on Kindle, Amazon Books and Apple Books.
Who Is Vellum For?
Vellum is ideal for a wide range of writers looking to get their work published; it can empower the lives of:
- Freelance writers
- Fiction writers
- Autobiography writers
Freelance writers can boost their income by publishing eBooks online. There are many ways to boost your income streams while freelancing, and publishing a book is one of the top ways. Using Vellum, freelance writers can easily write and publish short books and guides on freelance writing and copywriting. Check out our guide on how to become a freelance writer today!
Vellum is an ideal way for new and aspiring fiction writers to finish and publish their first novel. Getting a deal with a publishing house can be tough, so creating and publishing your own book online can be an excellent way to kick-start your career. If you’re an aspiring fiction writer, check out our guide on how to write a backstory.
If you’re writing an autobiography and want to publish your life story, Vellum is the software for you! With plenty of helpful features to structure your chapters, outline your story and generate formatted versions for publishing, it’s an easy way to get your book into the hands of readers.
How Does Vellum Work?
Vellum is a fairly intuitive software, but there are a few key features you won’t want to miss. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that Vellum can assist your next book project.
One-Click Import Of Your Manuscript
The first step is to get your manuscript into Vellum. This is done by importing a Microsoft Word docx with a few clicks. Since my word processor of choice is Google Docs, it’s not an issue converting my file into a Word file. But if you’re using Apple Pages or LibreOffice, you must ensure the conversion to docx doesn’t mess up your manuscript.
Style Your Pages
Once the manuscript has been loaded, you can choose the style of your pages and chapter headers by scrolling through what’s on offer. There are few to choose from, which is one of the few weaknesses of Vellum.
But you can choose between drop caps, ornamental breaks, chapter titles, how you want photos and quotes to be styled, and much more. The entire interior design and formatting options are covered, and you end up with a stunning-looking file rivaling anything a traditional publishing house could develop.
Choose Your Font
In Vellum’s preferences, you can choose your font. If you don’t immediately see the font you want, click to see more fonts for a broader choice. Make sure to choose a font that suits your target audience. Take into consideration the age range, accessibility needs and genre. For example, if you’re writing a children’s book, Comic Sans might be the most suitable option.
Split Chapters Into Two With a Right-Click
Once you see your chapters loaded into Vellum, you may decide, when previewing them, that a chapter may be too long and needs to be split into two chapters. Simply place your cursor where you want the chapter split and right-click with your mouse or trackpad. Now choose “Split Chapter at Cursor.” The rest of the chapter will be placed in a new chapter, and subsequent chapters will automatically re-number themselves.
Easy Insertion of Metadata
Metadata refers to the book’s title, the author’s name, the translator, the editor, the cover designer, the ISBN, and more. You can quickly and easily type in these details and upload a logo if you have your publishing imprint.
Upload Your Cover
In the metadata section, you can also upload your cover. Vellum will advise you if the cover is big enough; if not, you should resize it to conform to Vellum’s advice.
Easy Generating & Inserting of Front & Back Matter
Front and back matter is where Vellum shines. The software gives you many options for what to include before and after your story. Although, for obvious reasons, you shouldn’t choose too many because you don’t want your reader fuming with frustration trying to find your story among all the front matter!
Vellum offers features such as a table of contents, a copyright page, a blurbs page, a page to list all of your other work, a page to embed your social media links, endnotes, and much more. You can even generate a blank page if you want to do something not covered by other categories.
View Previous Versions & Restore To a Previous Version
Sometimes, rewrites don’t go as planned, and you must return to the previous version. Instead of tediously deleting your changes and trying to remember what you had written, just view the previous versions Vellum keeps track of. Find the version you want, then hit the “Restore” button. Bingo, you’ll be reverted back!
Always Preview Your Progress
Another great feature of Vellum is having a preview pane on the right-hand side, showing you your real-time progress. Make one change, and it instantly updates in the preview. This way, you can see how the page will look to the reader and if everything is formatted the way it should.
You can also see how the page looks in different eReaders. By dropping down a menu, you can choose between a Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire, Apple iPad and iPhone, Nook, Kobo, Android tablet, and what the print edition will look like.
Generate Your eBook In Different Formats & Trim Sizes
When the book manuscript has been finished and formatted, it’s time to generate the necessary digital files to be uploaded to Amazon, Nook, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and wherever else you sell.
Simply click the “Generate” button and choose which formats you want. It makes a Kindle MOBI file, an ePUB file, a print file, and a specially formatted ePUB file for Apple, Nook, Kobo, and Android.
Also, remember to choose your trim size. It has every conceivable trim size you could want, including large print versions!
Update At Any Time
Vellum allows you to revisit your book at any time to update it, which is ideal for correcting an accidental typo or grammatical error. All you need to do is open your manuscript, update the error, and you’ll have a new set of files ready and waiting for you. The simplicity and intuitive tools of Vellum make it one of the most popular software choices for self-publishing writers.
Areas For Improvement
Although Vellum is a fantastic software that can empower writers to publish their books, there are some aspects I would change. Some of the drawbacks include:
- The high price points and premium is much more expensive
- Difficulty inserting images or illustrations
- No Windows version is available
High Price Points
Vellum is an expensive product with a limited eBook version costing $199.99. The premium version that created books for print publishing is $50 more, costing $249.99. Although this is a one-off payment for unlimited use, it’s a high price to pay all in one go.
Difficulty Inserting Images
Vellum is a great product for books that use mostly text. However, when trying to insert images, it’s not very cooperative. It would be best to use a different software if your book includes a lot of images or illustrations.
No Windows Version
Vellum is a Mac-only product, meaning that it can’t be used on computers with a Windows operating system. Although there is a workaround for using MacinCloud, this is complicated and very time-consuming.
Why You Can Trust Me
During the past four years, I’ve written and self-published 17 books (with number 18 on the way!) All of which were effortlessly formatted as digital files by Vellum. And here’s the thing about me: I’m incredibly fussy. The slightest fault is enough to make me demand my money back. It has to work all the time as advertised. Otherwise, I turn a shade of purple.
So when I say Vellum is the greatest piece of formatting software in history, you’d better believe it. That thing has been put through a rigorous and bruising testing process and passed with flying colors.
Looking for more? Check out our guide on how to get paid to write reviews!
FAQs About Vellum Review
Can you write a book in Vellum?
Can you use Vellum to make box sets?
Vellum: The Final Word
Since I have been cheerleading for the Vellum software in this article, it’s no surprise that I highly recommend it. If you have a Mac computer, consider the high fee a worthwhile upfront investment in the future and just go for it. As I indicated above, Vellum has some downsides. But they aren’t a huge drawback when considering what else you get.
Vellum is an easy way to generate box sets; just drag all your Vellum book files into the software and rearrange them in the right order.
With just a few clicks, you can make a digital manuscript look so good that a traditional publisher would weep.
The developer is constantly working on the software and updating it with new features.
Add all kinds of front and back matter to your books, such as a table of contents, an acknowledgments page, an epilogue, a prologue, social media links, and more.
Vellum is only available for MacOS users.
Limited templates and fonts to choose from.
You must install an Amazon program on your Mac computer to generate a Kindle-compatible file. It’s a safe program but still a pain.
Once the file is in Vellum, you can’t export the file to PDF or even to a new Microsoft Word document file. You can only export as an RTF file, which, in my opinion, is pretty useless as you would lose all of your formattings.