I’ve reviewed a ton of book formatting software, and while I still do most of my writing in MS Word, formatting a word document can get tricky, even if you know what you’re doing. The best formatting software is Vellum, but it’s a Mac-only formatting software so I never really got into it.
Until, finally, I figured out how to use Vellum on a PC with Mac-in-Cloud.
It’s still kind of a pain, because I have to login to a special server that shows a Mac desktop, and to transfer files I have to upload them to Dropbox and download them again to my virtual Mac… but it’s *still* easier than using MS Word with better results. It’s not cheap, but it saves me a full day of mind-numbing work each time I need to format a book, which is almost every month…
So it’s worth it for me, as someone who publishes often, and it costs about what I paid someone else to format my first book before I learned how to do it myself. I believe you can use it for free and only pay to export your files, so you might as well try it out and see if it works for you.
How to format a book with Vellum (on a PC)
How to use MacInCloud to format your book in Vellum (even if you’re on a PC)
I’ve been using and teaching book formatting for years, but it’s always been a messy, complex, anxiety-inducing process… even when you know what you’re doing (and I remember spending days pulling out my hair trying to learn how to do book and ebook formatting from scratch.) So I’ve been Vellum-curious for years. I knew it produced great looking books; that everybody loved it; that it was easy to use. But I could never try it out, because I’m a PC user and it’s only for Mac. So today I finally went down the rabbit hole of “renting” space on a Mac device online, so I could run the software and format a book. Overall, I’m pretty excited about it. The first video (above) is just short and quick, showing you how to sign up and get started.
The second video (below) is a rough beginner’s guide to get started with Vellum (but not a professional tutorial on how to use it – there are better guides for that). My video is just a review of whether you should use it. And my answer is, probably, yeah.
Is Vellum Book formatting Software Worth It?
Probably, but if you prefer hard work and MS Word, grab my free formatting templates instead.
This is not a professional tutorial on how to get started using Vellum to format your book. This is just me (a PC user) stumbling around with MacInCloud so I can peak behind the curtain and see what the big deal is, without paying big money for it. Vellum is an expensive book formatting software that everybody loves. After spending an hour with it, I can see why – but there are also some limitations you need to know about.
How to Use Vellum to Format Your Books: A Detailed Guide
Vellum is a top-tier software for authors looking to format their eBooks and print books. Its user-friendly interface and advanced features make it a dream to work with, whether you’re a seasoned author or just starting out.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of using Vellum to format your book. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Download and Install Vellum
Visit the Vellum website to download the software. Currently, Vellum is only available for macOS, so make sure you’re using an Apple computer. Follow the prompts to install the software.
Step 2: Import Your Manuscript
Launch Vellum. You’ll be greeted with the option to create a new project. Select “Import Word File” and locate your manuscript file on your computer.
Step 3: Add Book Details
After importing, you can add or edit details like your book title, author name, and subtitle. You can also add your book cover by clicking on the cover slot and choosing your cover file.
Step 4: Organize Your Book’s Structure
Vellum automatically divides your book into chapters based on your Word document. Review these and make any necessary adjustments. You can add parts, chapters, or sections by clicking on the “+” button in the upper-left corner.
Step 5: Style Your Book
Now for the fun part – styling your book! Navigate to the ‘Styles’ tab in the top-right corner. You can preview different style options for your headings, first paragraphs, block quotations, and more. Clicking on an option will show you a live preview.
Step 6: Insert Special Elements
You can add elements like images, ornamental breaks, and notes. Just click where you want to insert the element and select the desired option from the “+” button at the top of the editor.
Step 7: Preview Your Book
One of Vellum’s greatest strengths is its live preview feature. At any time, you can click on ‘Preview’ to see how your book will look on various devices (Kindle, iPad, iPhone) or in print.
Step 8: Generate Your Files
Once you’re satisfied with your formatting, you can generate your files for publishing. Click on ‘Generate’ in the upper-right corner. You’ll have the option to generate eBook files (for Kindle, Apple Books, etc.) and print-ready PDF files.
Step 9: Purchase and Export
Vellum is free to download and use, but you’ll need to purchase a package to export your files. Choose the package that suits you best, make the purchase, and then you can export your files and upload them to your chosen publishing platforms.
And there you have it! A comprehensive guide to formatting your book with Vellum. Although it might seem daunting at first, once you get the hang of it, you’ll see how it can streamline the book formatting process, saving you time and energy. Plus, the final product will be a professional-grade manuscript that readers will love. Happy formatting!
I’m a philosophy dropout with a PhD in Literature. I covet a cabin full of cats, where I can write fantasy novels to pay for my cake addiction. Sometimes I live in castles.