This week, Rekka and Brian welcome Brad Andalman from 180g, a co-author of the MacOS-based software Vellum. He joins us from Oakland, California, to introduce Vellum to our listeners.
- Brian gets the obvious out of the way at the gate: Go buy Vellum. It makes the end-product (the book layout) an easy step in your publication process. Get it, roll around in it. You can download the software to your MacOS computer and play around with all the features without committing to purchasing the layout.
- Scrivener and Vellum just released updated versions featuring “Kinespherical Awareness” of each other to simplify the process of exporting from Scrivener’s project format to Vellum’s import intelligence. Now there’s a Vellum Compile option in Scrivener tailored for Vellum which removes the need to understand all the quirks of each program.
- Vellum was launched in 2014. Brad and the other Brad left Pixar, looking for something to do that was both creative and professional. They became aware that it was difficult to format eBooks to make them feel like printed books, and make them consistent across multiple reading devices, and were confident they could solve this problem for indie publishers.
- Their first release version focused on fiction authors, provided eight seamless designs. Since then, they’ve added images, lists, custom chapter art, and more.
- They spent a lot of time in bookstores and in libraries to see what books in each genre look like so they can provide options for everyone to help them create a genre-appropriate result.
- There are reader previews to see how the options selected render across multiple devices.
- There are eight major themes with a few customization options within the same style to help make the book look like it has options, yet the design remains cohesive.
- They wanted to give writers guidance, and not be overwhelmed by the possibilities. The Brads have experienced a lot of software that provides too many options to apply to a blank slate. By limiting the options, Vellum software doesn’t require a huge investment of time to learn the software.
- The device emulators are built into the software so you can see your changes take effect immediately.
- Their roadmap is very carefully considered and they take their time getting the features right (for example, footnotes, more trim sizes for print).
- In development stages, they consider whether their dads could use a feature without getting confused. They’ve had a couple of beta periods to run new features against unknown use cases to gather feedback and incorporate improvements before formal release.
- They want their features to go unnoticed and feel natural. You know when someone hasn’t designed with the end user in mind.
- They buy devices to confirm that their output performs as expected.
- Vellum is designed for Mac and want to keep improving it, so will not add other platform support so they can keep moving forward without splitting their focus.
- Dragon for Mac will accept dictation directly into Vellum. You heard it here first!
- Vellum is stable enough to draft into, so you can draft wherever you feel most comfortable.
- The front and back matter can be added in via the Vellum menus, and those pages can be dragged and dropped from another Vellum project so you can reuse it without having to create it each time, or pay a formatter to update your existing books when you update it later.
- Vellum checks your cover art size and resolution when you import it to your project and includes that with the ebook files.
- If you don’t have a vision for your formatted book, Vellum will create a beautiful book. If you do, there will be very few design things you can’t apply to a Vellum project.
For print output, Vellum balances page text and handles the kinds of things that most writers don’t consider when creating print layouts.
Download the Software (Demo to play, Purchase to Output Your Books)