Written by Guest Author – Alisha Costanza
Once upon a time, I ran an independent publishing company. We published lone authors and curated anthologies–some with more than seventy stories. To save costs, I learned to format the books myself. The long way. Using Microsoft Word, Pages, templates, and a ton of Googling.
It. Took. Forever.
I’m not just saying that. An anthology would take up to eight hours per version, i.e hardcover, paperback, and e-book–one for each platform to have the proper internal links.
See where I’m going with this? It was inexpensive, but even after learning how, it took some serious time.
Then, I invested in Vellum.
Vellum is a one-time fee formatting software that is so super easy to use, especially once the first “template” is created. It generates e-books for the five major self-publishing platforms and has a sixth generic option. Plus, it generates print books in several popular trim sizes and offers print settings for easier uploading to distributors.
The time saved. What used to take me sixteen or more hours has become a task that takes me around an hour. For. All. Formats.
Easy links. Once I collect the proper links, I only have to input them once using the store option and the software will parse them to their proper .epub files. All of my KDP links are in my KDP file so that readers who buy on Amazon have an easy link back to my books on their preferred retailer. And it’s smart to make it as easy as possible for readers to buy my books.
I don’t want anything to get in the way.
Style options. They have twenty-six prepared styles that can be easily tweaked for preference.
Clickable Images. It’s easy to include and replace images within both ebooks and print formats. They include sizing, descriptions, and links–with internal, store, and standard website options. I love to use this for my newsletter sign-up in the acknowledgements and my review banner at the end of the book.
Chapter backgrounds. Chapter starters can have a two-page or single-page chapter background with customized images. These are only for print files, but they are a great option for custom artwork, chapter themes, and special additions.
Customization. They don’t offer custom fonts. I asked. The only reason this can suck is for branding. Most of that isn’t necessary inside of the book, but there are some work-arounds that can create more customization.
Essentially, Vellum makes my life so much easier, and it gives me a lot of creative freedom. The best part of using Vellum is the high volume of hours I’m saving myself per book.
Interested in seeing some Vellum tutorials? Let us know in the comments below.