Author Topic: Vellum: the official thread  (Read 127596 times)  

Offline Brad Andalman

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Vellum: the official thread
« on: January 27, 2015, 11:13:02 AM »
Hi there,

We've noticed a few threads in the Writer's Cafe that mentioned Vellum, and we wanted to start an official thread where we can post updates, answer questions, and get your feedback.

Vellum is Mac OS X software that allows you to create beautiful eBooks for iBooks, Kindle, and Nook. Import your manuscript from Word or write completely in Vellum's simple, elegant editor. Once you're done, choose from dozens of style options and view your eBook instantly in the live Preview. After you've purchased, you can generate for all three major platforms with one click.

Creating eBooks has never been so easy.

Learn more on our website: https://vellum.pub

Do you have any questions for us? Fire away! Or, if you'd prefer, get in touch with us at vellum@180g.co.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 07:16:18 PM by Brad Andalman »
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Offline Betsy the Quilter

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2015, 11:24:01 AM »
Welcome, Brad!

Welcome to Kboards!

You're welcome to promote your business and website here in the Writers' Caf!

Now that you have an official thread, you'll want to add your listing to our Yellow Pages Listing, found here:
http://www.kboards.com/yp/

The listing is free to KB members and is completely self-service; you can add and edit your listing from the page.  More information on our Yellow Pages listing can be found here.

In your thread here, we ask that the same basic rules be followed as we have for authors in the Book Bazaar:  you may have this one thread about your service and must post to it rather than start a new thread each time.  New threads about the service wil be removed.  Please bookmark this thread so that you can find it again to post to.  And, you may not make back-to-back posts to the thread within seven days.  If someone responds (such as this post), you may reply but otherwise must wait seven days, thanks!

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Note that this welcome does not constitute an endorsement or vetting of a service by KBoards.  Members should do due diligence when considering using a service, for example, by asking KB members for feedback and doing an Internet search such as "service provider name" complaints.
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Offline John Ellsworth

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2015, 11:41:23 AM »
I use Vellum exclusively for my books. I used to be a programmer (C#, HTML, etc.) and know pretty much all the tools, but for ease of use and consistency in stylesheets, there's nothing on the market quite like Vellum. Especially where Vellum lets me pick and choose different styles for each facet of my book from all the different stylesheets, meaning I can use multiple styles at once. Wow. There are certain enhancements I'm waiting for, but I know they're being worked up. My latest book even contains a picture of the author--gasp, me--which might actually stunt sales, but there you are. Keep up the great work.

Offline MyraScott

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2015, 12:03:59 PM »
Hi Brad,

Any plans for a Windows version?

Thanks-

Offline Brad Andalman

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2015, 12:14:42 PM »
Hi Brad,

Any plans for a Windows version?

Thanks-

Hi Myra,

We're currently focusing on our Mac product and, at this time, don't have any plans to create a product for Windows. But thank you for the feedback, and please keep us in mind should you ever find yourself in front of a Mac!
Brad Andalman. Co-founder of 180g, creators of Vellum.

Offline Lydniz

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2015, 12:16:22 PM »
Hi, Brad. Is "Any plans for a Windows version?" the question you get asked most often? ;D

Offline Twizzlers

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2015, 12:19:20 PM »
There needs to be a Windows version. A lot of people use Windows and hate Mac's with a fiery passion.

Offline MyraScott

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2015, 12:24:16 PM »
Hi Myra,

We're currently focusing on our Mac product and, at this time, don't have any plans to create a product for Windows. But thank you for the feedback, and please keep us in mind should you ever find yourself in front of a Mac!

That's not likely to happen, but if I am, I'll check it out!  Sounds like the market is begging for a similar Windows ebook formatting software.  It would be nice if you guys stepped into that void (iOS to Windows conversions for an HTML-based product aren't expensive- check out Elance) but I'm sure someone will soon.

Offline CN_Crawford

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2015, 03:11:54 PM »
Vellum is great. I used it to format my first novel and will use it to format the second. I love how it automatically provides the correct store links for each type of output file.

Of course there are features I'd like to see. Namely a way to center text (without making it verse), a way to move the TOC to the end of the book, and an improved default stylesheet that plays nice with Amazon's online previewer.

Looking forward to what you do with it moving forward.

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Offline VioletVaughn

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2015, 03:15:48 PM »
Another endorsement for Vellum. I started using it for my serial and found it quite easy. The installments afterward are even easier because I've already created a template.


Offline John Twipnook

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2015, 03:47:20 PM »
Hi Brad,

One of the big selling points of Scrivener's epub and mobi file compiler is that you can create many versions of an ebook using drag and drop content pages. This is useful when creating separate ebooks for specific vendors. It lets you customize links to other books you own, using the vendor's links. That way the ebook buyer can just click on a link and go to the store to buy another book, boom. For example, say my Big Book 3 contains links at the back to my Big Books 1 and 2. On Amazon I want the links for Big Books 1 and 2 to be for those books' particular Amazon sales pages. On Barnes & Noble, I want those links to route to those books' particular Barnes & Noble sales pages. Et cetera.

The interface in Scrivener allows drag-and-drop content pages. So when compiling for Amazon, from a master link Scrivener project file I drag and drop in a folder called Amazon Links at the end of Big Book 3 Scrivener book file and then hit compile. Then I delete the Amazon Links folder and drop in B&N Links folder. Then for Kobo. And so on.

It makes creating sales-channel-specific ebook files quick and easy.

My questions are

1. Does Vellum have any way of doing this, and

2. If not, can the links be built into a Word doc or docx manuscript file, then imported into Vellum? I might be able to select-and-replace hyperlinks to book covers in Word using macros.

I like the look of Vellum.

Thanks.

Offline Brad Andalman

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2015, 04:39:16 PM »
[...]
1. Does Vellum have any way of doing this, and
[...]

Hi John,

Yes! Vellum has a feature called Store Links that solves exactly this problem. Once you add a Store Link, you can specify store-specific identifiers for the books you want to link to. Then, when it comes time to generate your eBook, Vellum will automatically output links to the appropriate stores. Store Links can even send your readers to the correct Amazon store based on where they are reading your book, which means you don't need to create separate links for US and UK stores.

 
« Last Edit: December 01, 2016, 05:54:28 PM by Brad Andalman »
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Offline Peter Spenser

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2015, 04:49:32 PM »
Vellum has a feature called Store Links that solves exactly this problem. Once you add a Store Link, you can specify store-specific identifiers for the books you want to link to. Then, when it comes time to generate your eBook, Vellum will automatically output links to the appropriate stores. Store Links can even send your readers to the correct Amazon store based on where they are reading your book, which means you don't need to create separate links for US and UK stores.

I would just add (and Brad can correct me if I'm wrong) that it's important to remember that the Nook e-book version that Vellum generates does not have to be uploaded only to Barnes & Noble. It can be used anyplace that accepts an EPUB2 file, which includes Kobo for example. The store link that you add, and the descriptive text that you surround that link with, can just as easily refer to the Kobo store as to the Barnes & Noble store.



Offline P.T. Phronk

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2015, 04:58:32 PM »
As an extremely lazy person, I'm a sucker for anything that saves me a few hours. Giving this a download. Thanks!

Offline Brad Andalman

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2015, 05:03:37 PM »
I would just add (and Brad can correct me if I'm wrong) that it's important to remember that the Nook e-book version that Vellum generates does not have to be uploaded only to Barnes & Noble. It can be used anyplace that accepts an EPUB2 file, which includes Kobo for example. The store link that you add, and the descriptive text that you surround that link with, can just as easily refer to the Kobo store as to the Barnes & Noble store.

Hi, Peter! You are right: the "Nook" version that Vellum generates is standard EPUB2 and can be uploaded to any store that accepts that format. However, if you specify a Nook store identifier in your Store Link, then that link really will direct readers to the Barnes & Noble store. For this reason, if you are going to upload a version to Kobo (for instance), we recommend using Web Links and not Store Links. We have written this up in more detail in the "Aggregators" section of our "Uploading to Stores" help document: http://help.180g.co/vellum/uploading/#aggregators.

[...]
Of course there are features I'd like to see. Namely a way to center text (without making it verse), a way to move the TOC to the end of the book, and an improved default stylesheet that plays nice with Amazon's online previewer.
[...]

I can't give too much away right now, but I did want to mention that our next minor update - which should be available in a few weeks - should make you some percentage happier!  ;)
« Last Edit: December 01, 2016, 05:54:46 PM by Brad Andalman »
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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2015, 05:11:11 PM »
I can't give too much away right now, but I did want to mention that our next minor update -- which should be available in a few weeks -- should make you some percentage happier!  ;)

No fair teasing. We wants it now. We wants the precious.
     

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2015, 05:20:06 PM »
I'm another happy Vellum customer. Love the product. Love how easy it is to update back matter. Love how responsive you guys are when I send email asking questions :) Vellum has saved me hours of time. Had my son format 5 books for me this afternoon. He did all 5 in around an hour and a half (and it would have taken less time if he hadn't had to ask wait for my response to his questions). And it creates simply beautiful ebooks.
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Offline Midnight Whimsy

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2015, 05:24:08 PM »
I would really REALLY love to see a Windows version of the program. I hope you will consider making that move soon.

M.W

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2015, 05:30:52 PM »
What about print versions? Any plans to add the ability to export something that can be uploaded to Createspace?

(I'm sure you get asked this all the time, but vague hints at a future feature like that would really help me decide how many books to buy. Hint hint.)

Offline Donald Rump

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2015, 05:48:46 PM »
This is funny, because I actually just got done writing a program to render XHTML valid EPUB and MOBI source files. Did I just waste my time? Does Vellum do it better? Ugh! Most likely...

Offline bethrevis

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2015, 07:13:26 PM »
What about print versions? Any plans to add the ability to export something that can be uploaded to Createspace?

(I'm sure you get asked this all the time, but vague hints at a future feature like that would really help me decide how many books to buy. Hint hint.)

Seconding this. OMG, that would be AMAZING.
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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2015, 07:19:50 PM »

What about print versions? Any plans to add the ability to export something that can be uploaded to Createspace?

Thirding it. :)
     

Offline John Twipnook

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2015, 07:31:11 PM »
Hi John,

Yes! Vellum has a feature called Store Links that solves exactly this problem. Once you add a Store Link, you can specify store-specific identifiers for the books you want to link to. Then, when it comes time to generate your eBook, Vellum will automatically output links to the appropriate stores. Store Links can even send your readers to the correct Amazon store based on where they are reading your book, which means you don't need to create separate links for US and UK stores.

Hi, Peter! You are right: the "Nook" version that Vellum generates is standard EPUB2 and can be uploaded to any store that accepts that format. However, if you specify a Nook store identifier in your Store Link, then that link really will direct readers to the Barnes & Noble store. For this reason, if you are going to upload a version to Kobo (for instance), we recommend using Web Links and not Store Links. We have written this up in more detail in the "Aggregators" section of our "Uploading to Stores" help document: http://help.180g.co/vellum/uploading/#aggregators.


Hi Brad,

Thanks. However, it looks like Vellum's store links feature works with only three stores: Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble.

I get that for direct uploads to all other stores, Vellum's Nook-Epub2 compile would work best. But I don't see "web links" written anywhere in the page you referenced with that Aggregators link. The advice just says if you're uploading to an aggregator, "your book should not contain any Store Links." I guess you can override the store link with some other kind of web link?

However, modifying store links each time for each book for each store kind of defeats the quick and easy object. Especially if one has a 5-or-more book back list. I'm not finding fault or being argumentative, just trying to get to the bottom line. It looks like Vellum's store links are only quick and easy compiles for three stores.

Perhaps a hybrid approach would work best:

Vellum compile for 3 stores: Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble.
Scrivener compile for all other direct uploads: Google Books, Kobo, DriveThruFiction, Xinxii, etc.

It'd be a bit of a hassle to compile with both Vellum and Scrivener though.

Thanks for all your input.

Offline John Twipnook

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2015, 07:49:19 PM »
I would really REALLY love to see a Windows version of the program. I hope you will consider making that move soon.

M.W

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Re: Vellum: the official thread
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2015, 08:03:28 PM »
I'm giving Vellum a try, so I'm happy to see this thread. I need to update my front/back matter. I outsourced the formatting so not sure if that's something that I can bring into Vellum without messing things up.  Stay tuned. ;D
« Last Edit: January 27, 2015, 08:05:08 PM by Alan Petersen »