Vellum - Formatting Software

This is a MacOS application for formatting both ebooks and print. It’s very expensive - well, at least I thought so. I wondered if anyone on here has it? Please feel free to add anything below.

Kind Regards

I have tested it but didn’t like it, for three reasons.

  1. You have to import the text as .docx which means that I first have to write it in Scrivener, then export as Word and import to Vellum to export as epub/mobi. Vellum should be able to read ebook format and fix the fine points of layout.

  2. I couldn’t get the chapter headings and hierarchial levels to work the way I wanted.

  3. The layout was fixed in advance and although there were several templates to choose from, you can’t use that as a basis and then fine-tune according to your own ideas.

I bought a book instead, explaining in detail how to format books using Scrivener’s Compile function. You can do a lot with that! At least everything you can do in Vellum.

Your issues are basically the same as the ones I have run into. I don’t find it anywhere as open and editable as I would like. I don’t want to harp on about the price but for what it actually does, the price is ludicrous. I guess I will stick with my Scrivener compiles.

Try Calibre

or Sigil

Both completely free and powerful ebook editors.

Scrivener 3 offers much more control over ePub and Kindle export, incidentally. With its ePub 3/updated Kindle support, you can tweak the CSS style sheet right within Scrivener’s Compile and use that in conjunction with Scrivener’s new styles system to take full control over how your book looks.

I think that’s probably just what I’m looking for. :smiley:

I’m looking forward to the new Scrivener. I create ePub files, check them in both Sigil and Calibre as well as the Amazon Kindle Previewer and STILL they look absolutely awful when viewed through the Amazon Look Inside feature.

I’m so fed up with this issue. How are people supposed to overcome and tweak the CSS when they don’t even know what constrictions and formatting Amazon is using for Look Inside?

I spent the best part of this week battling with ‘Look Inside’. I finally managed to get Calibre to fine-tune everything just right. At least now, the Look Inside feature doesn’t look so terrible.

I think Vellum is aimed at authors who don’t really want to mess around with formatting, but still want to produce decent looking stuff for eBooks and print (the new version now supports PDF output for printed books). I use Scrivener for writing the book, then I dump the finished version into Vellum and let it handle the finished output.

This has worked well for the last book, but I’m not so sure that I need it now that I’ve been playing with Scrivener 3. Vellum books look great, but it’s quite limited in what you can do by way of customisation: there are only a handful of fonts you can select for the printed version, and you can’t change the size of the headers and footers.

What it handles beautifully though, is layout. It can sort out widows and orphans and can space the text out so that your book looks even and crisp throughout. Scrivener doesn’t handle widows and orphans, so that means a lot of subtle adjustments to the text, or round-tripping through Word (not Pages! It STILL can’t handle facing pages!) or Libre Office to sort out the subtle spacing issues. If Scriv could handle widows and orphans then it would be the one stop shop, but you can’t have everything.

Now, I’m not really one to complain about software prices; I imagine that it’s subject to the same laws of supply and demand as everything else: if it was too expensive, then the developer wouldn’t sell any and would be forced to drop the price. Having said that, $249 for Vellum is not cheap, and you really would need to think hard about your needs before buying it.

Hang on.

I’ve been playing around with Scrivener3 and I’ve tripped over a format setting to suppress widows & orphans. How long’s that been there??

I’ve been looking everywhere for it, where did you find it?

Widow and orphan control in Scrivener:

Ahhhh, that’ll be why I couldn’t find it, then.