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Is Vellum Formatting Suitable For My Book?

If you’re an indie author considering having your fiction or nonfiction book formatted before self publishing it, this blog is for you. It answers the question: Is Vellum formatting suitable for my book? Read on to find out which types of books (and authors!) Vellum formatting is perfect for, as well as which types of books (and authors!) aren’t as compatible.

Is Vellum Formatting Suitable For My Book?


Vellum formatting is suitable for your book if:

  • You want your paperback (if you are publishing a hard copy) to be one of the following sizes: 5” x 8”, 5.06” x 7.81″, 5.25” x 8”, 5.5” x 8.25”, 5.5” x 8.5” or 6” x 9”. These are all the size options available within the software. (If you are only publishing an ebook, these sizes are irrelevant.)
  • You are happy to use one of the following nine fonts as your body text throughout: Athelas, Baskerville, Cochin, Crimson Text, Fanwood, Hoefler Text, Iowan Old Style, Palatino or Times New Roman.
  • One of Vellum’s eight book styles meets your requirements. What book styles does Vellum offer? details the different choices available.
  • Your budget is tight. Vellum formatting can be an extremely affordable service for indie authors. At $249.99, Vellum software is fairly reasonable to buy too, if you’re planning to format a few of your own books yourself.
  • Your timescale is tight. Formatting a book using Vellum usually only takes a few days (sometimes sooner!), providing all your front and back matter is ready and the whole manuscript has been thoroughly proofread.
  • You have a text only manuscript (or text with a few images/illustrations) and want a clean, simple interior that will not detract your readers from your story or main content. Vellum formatting is perfect for these types of books.

Vellum formatting is not suitable for your book if:

  • You want a specific font in your manuscript that isn’t included in the section above. It’s also not suitable if you want mixed fonts throughout your manuscript as this isn’t possible within the software. The heading fonts are all pre-determined too, within the set book styles available.
  • You’ve written a children’s book with lots of images/illustrations. Children’s books are usually much bigger, and squarer, than Vellum’s set book sizes offer. They also usually contain lots of images/illustrations and a larger font, which Vellum can’t accommodate. For these types of projects, I would recommend a specialist, or a professional with plenty of experience of working with children’s books, rather than a formatting service.
  • You’ve written a journal style book with lots of blank pages and/or boxed/lined sections, for your readers to fill in. Although it’s possible to create boxed/lined sections using graphics, then import them into your book within Vellum software, it may not give you the exact layout you’re hoping for. Therefore, I would advise an alternative interior layout service for these types of books.
  • You haven’t had your book professionally proofread. Once a Word document has been imported into Vellum, in order to create the EPUB and PDF files for the book, all further changes have to be done manually and methodically. It’s not possible to use shortcuts, such as find and replace, like it is in Word. Therefore, the manuscript MUST be in the best shape possible BEFORE it is formatted.
  • You have very specific and/or complex interior requirements and/or hyper-perfectionist tendencies. If either of these apply, Vellum formatting is not suitable for you or your book as its restrictions are likely to frustrate and/or disappoint you. Compared to other typesetting and formatting software, such as InDesign, Vellum’s options are more limited.

Vellum future updates

Vellum software is evolving and being regularly updated. Some of its current capabilities may change and/or improve, and more options may become available. Therefore, checking with any Vellum formatter what can and can’t be done when you’re ready to self publish is always a good idea. Please contact me if you have any questions in relation to your book(s).

If you’ve found ‘Is Vellum formatting suitable for my book?’ helpful, check out these other formatting related posts too:

What Front and Back Matter Should I Include in my Book?

5 Formatting Mistakes to Avoid in Your Manuscript

Penning and Planning – The Formatting Process

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