Indie authors, if you’re thinking ahead to the formatting stage of your fiction or nonfiction book, this blog outlines 5 reasons NOT to choose a Vellum formatting service before self publishing.
1) You want a particular font style and size that Vellum software doesn’t offer
Vellum currently offers nine different body text fonts alongside its set heading fonts. They are:
- Crimson Text
- Hoefler Text
- Iowan Old Style
- Times New Roman
Being indecisive at the best of times, I find that having less choice works better for me. However, if you’re an author who has your heart set on a particular font for your book that isn’t listed above, or you want to use a bespoke font to match your branding, or you want to use the same font that you used in your Word manuscript, then Vellum formatting won’t be the right fit for you.
Similarly, if you’ve decided that you want point size 12 for your body text and point size 16 for your headings (which might have been your font sizes in your Word manuscript), that too is impossible. Vellum doesn’t offer the option of choosing particular font sizes. It is possible, however, to enlarge or reduce font sizes and line spacing within its settings. A good formatter will ensure that the font size and line spacing is appropriate for your book, depending on your chosen book size. (The most popular paperback sizes are 5″ x 8″ and 6″ x 9″.)
How important is font style and size?
It is worth considering how important a font is to you though. How often do you notice what font has been used in the books you read? Hopefully not that often because the font itself should be so easy to read that you don’t even think about it. Imagine trying to read a novel full of ‘Curlz MT‘ or ‘Jokerman‘ fonts. As fun and quirky as those fonts are, they’re not suitable for the body text of a novel. They’re too fussy, and fussy fonts are likely to put readers off! All the fonts listed above are clean and simple – perfect for a pleasurable reading experience.
2) You want a particular interior style that Vellum software doesn’t offer
Vellum offers eight different book styles, all with their own customisable options such as:
- Ornamental breaks
- First paragraph choices (double height initial capital letter or first few words all capitals, for example)
If you’re an author who wants a very specific interior layout for your book, or you want to include blank pages/sections for readers to write in, then Vellum formatting will not adequately meet your needs. If that is the case, I would recommend investigating formatters and typesetters who work with Adobe InDesign software rather than Vellum.
3) You have more than 10 different images/graphics included in your nonfiction book
Vellum software works best for text only fiction books. That’s not to say it’s not suitable for nonfiction books at all because it can be, however, nonfiction is often much trickier to format than fiction. Whereas fiction (usually) contains seamless chapters with occasional ornamental (scene) breaks, nonfiction has many different sections within its chapters, often with subheadings, bullet pointed lists and images/graphics. This creates a much more disjointed structure, with a much higher chance of widows and orphans, split sections and awkward white space. Solving these issues requires a lot of skill on the formatter’s part, and often a willingness to be flexible regarding layout on the author’s part. Even then, perfection is not always possible. Therefore, if your nonfiction book contains more than 10 different images/graphics, I would again recommend an alternative software.
4) You’ve written a children’s/heavily illustrated book
The biggest book size Vellum offers is 6″ x 9″, which is a standard book size. As children’s/heavily illustrated books are usually bigger than this (and often square), Vellum software is not suitable for these types of projects.
However, a limited number of different sized illustrations (including full page images) can be included in a standard size book (ideally no more than 10, as mentioned above). These must be supplied as .png or .jpeg files for optimum quality.
5) You’re not on a tight publishing deadline and/or budget
Vellum is a brilliant choice if you’re an author on a strict publishing deadline with a tight budget (and none of the issues listed in this blog so far apply to you and/or your book!). As a formatter, I can produce both EPUB and PDF files of your book (customised to your specifications) within just a few days, and for a reasonable price. However, if you want to invest more time and money into creating a very specific interior for your book, then a more bespoke formatting or typesetting service may be worth exploring.
I hope this list of 5 reasons NOT to choose Vellum formatting for your self published book has been helpful. If you are considering Vellum formatting for your upcoming book and want to ask any questions that this blog hasn’t answered, please do get in touch either by contacting me directly or messaging me via Instagram.
Related posts you may find useful:
5 ways to prepare a manuscript for formatting
Penning and Planning – The Formatting Process
2 thoughts on “5 Reasons NOT to Choose Vellum Formatting”
Hello, what software do you recommend for a nonfiction book containing more than 10 images/graphics?
Thank you for your question! I believe InDesign is brilliant software for nonfiction with images. Vellum can handle it if you’re prepared to be flexible with image placement and page layout but InDesign is much more precise. However, it is also more expensive and requires a steeper learning curve, so Vellum is perfectly adequate if you’re on a smaller budget!