In this tutorial you will use Vellum to create a great-looking book. You will start with a prepared manuscript and finish ready to generate files for each major book platform and for print. We’ve provided starting materials and will guide you through each step. By the end, you should have an understanding of Vellum and how it can be used to easily create beautiful books.
- Download Vellum
- Download Sample Material
- Import the Manuscript
- Browse Your Book
- Save the Vellum File
- Choose a Book Style
- Add Front and Back Matter
- Add a Cover Image
- Preview Your Book
- What’s Next
If you haven’t already done so, download and install Vellum.
This is the full version of Vellum, which you will use to run through this Tutorial. You can also use it to format your own manuscript. A purchase is only necessary when you are ready to generate your books.
Download Sample Material
You’ll be creating a book from the classic H. G. Wells novella, The Invisible Man. We’ve prepared a Microsoft Word version of the text and an image to use for the ebook cover. Click the link below to download these sample materials:
The downloaded package should appear in your Downloads folder. Find the downloaded folder, which you’ll need for the next step.
Import the Manuscript
To import the text from The Invisible Man into Vellum:
- Start Vellum
- Press Import Word File…
- Locate The Invisible Man.docx in the Vellum Sample Documents folder and press Import
Vellum will open the Word document, analyze it to find title information and chapters, and then convert it into Vellum’s native format.
You can also import this or any Microsoft Word document (with a .docx extension) directly from Vellum’s File menu, or by dropping it onto the Vellum flower icon in your dock.
Note: Before importing your own manuscript, we suggest reading Importing into Vellum for tips about how best to format for Vellum.
Browse Your Book
After successfully importing the manuscript, you should see the book in Vellum.
Vellum divides your book into chapters, which are listed in the Navigator.
Click through the chapters in the Navigator. When you select a chapter in the Navigator, its content is shown in the Text Editor.
Save the Vellum File
Even though Vellum will auto-save your document, it’s good to get into the habit of saving your changes. Use Vellum’s File > Save menu item to create your first Vellum file.
Whenever you use Save, Vellum will save the changes you’ve made to your book’s content, as well as the style choices you have made.
Choose a Book Style
With the contents of your book in place, you’ll now take a look at Styles and see how Vellum combines quality typography and custom fonts and flourishes to create an attractive book.
At the top of the Navigator, click the Styles button:
The Navigator now displays the styles that can be applied to your book. The Book Style — a coordinated set of style attributes — is currently selected. To its right, the Style Carousel displays options for each kind of style.
Click on the pages of the Style Carousel to see the possible styles:
You can also move through the carousel by swiping on a multitouch trackpad or by using the left- and right-arrow keys.
Select the Oxford book style:
The Oxford book style combines historic fonts and ornaments for a “classic” look. A book style affects the title page, chapter headings, and important sections of your book. You can view these details and customize them by clicking on the other entries in the Navigator.
In the Navigator, select Heading to change the carousel to show styles for chapter headings.
Now as you navigate through the carousel, you’ll see variants on the Oxford theme. Select the heading variant you like best.
You can experiment with styles as you are writing, or come back and change your mind after you’ve proofed your book. More information about styles can be found in Apply Styles to Your Book.
Maybe 17th century typefaces aren’t your thing. Return to Book Style and select something more modern. See how that affects options for Heading and other feature styles, like Ornamental Break.
Add Front and Back Matter
The manuscript for The Invisible Man contains only the content of the novel. However, a finished book should include front and back matter as well. Next, you will add a Copyright and About the Author page.
First, switch the Navigator to Contents. Use the Chapter menu to add a Copyright and About the Author element.
You can add a variety of elements using this menu. Want to add several at once? Use Add Multiple Elements instead.
Edit the text of the About the Author page to add a short biography of H. G. Wells. Be sure to include a link to his Twitter account!
Add a Cover Image
Next, we’ll assign an image to use for the cover of your ebooks. To add a cover:
- Select the book title — The Invisible Man — from the Contents Navigator. This will show you the title and author information for the book.
- Now click on the Ebook Cover button to inspect the cover.
- Click on the plus that appears when your mouse is over the cover.
- Select the cover image that you downloaded above.
You can also drag an image file and drop it right on the cover.
Vellum assigns the cover image to your book and shows you if it satisfies size criteria for ebook stores. In this case, you will see that the image is large enough for all book platforms.
Note: If you’ve created ebooks before, you might have expected the image to be in the JPEG format. Don’t worry: when Vellum creates ebooks, it automatically converts the cover image to the best format for each platform. You can learn more about Using Cover Images in Vellum.
Extra Credit 1
In the Preview, you’ll see how the cover image will be presented to your reader. Switch to an eInk device (like Kindle Paperwhite) to see how the cover image will appear on an eInk screen.
Extra Credit 2
Try using other images for the cover to see how Vellum analyzes them for meeting requirements of ebook platforms.
Preview Your Book
After you’ve imported your manuscript, picked your style options, and added your desired front and back matter, you can use Vellum’s live Preview to view your book on a variety of devices. Use the Device popup to switch between them.
You’ve finished the tutorial. If your name is H. G. Wells, you are poised to become a self-publishing sensation!
Book generation requires the purchase of a Vellum package. When you are ready to buy, press the Purchase button in Vellum’s toolbar.
If you have any questions, please see our Purchasing FAQ, which answers the most common ones.
Enjoy using Vellum!