A New Formatting Tool for eBooks

The world is always changing, and nowhere is that more prevalent than the publishing world. What was once great last year, no longer works this year, and the tools we use are constantly upgraded and changed to accommodate this rapid evolution.

When I first began publishing eBooks, I formatted them myself in MS Word. But I could not format ePubs. I’ve tried Scrivener to format the file, but I was unhappy with the results. Then I tried Calibre for ePubs, and that worked great for a few years. Last spring during my six-month review, I found formatting issues with eBooks available at a few online retailers. There were no issues with the files I had manually formatted, but the ePubs were a mess.

So I took the leap and rented InDesign. There’s a large learning curve, but once I conquer it, I’ll be able to create eBooks and print books professionally.

That’s my story. This morning, I read Joanna Penn’s story. Most self-published authors have probably heard of Penn and The Creative Penn website. She’s been self-publishing for years and is very successful. Today, she wrote about formatting issues with eBooks created with Scrivener.

She writes, “In the last few weeks, a reader reported that a couple of my books had a formatting issue with the Kindle Look Inside on Amazon.com. I checked and found that the spacing and alignment was screwed up.”

Penn goes on to tell about a new program she discovered and now uses. Unfortunately, it’s available only for Mac users. So if you are having issues with your eBook formatting or would like to try “the best tool for the ebook formatting job” and you own a Mac computer, check out her post at Why I’ve Moved From Scrivener to Vellum for Formatting Ebooks.

Part of self-publishing is keeping up with the times and checking periodically to see if old files (published eBooks) are still user friendly. If they aren’t, update them immediately. Bad formatting will affect sales.

This is the first I have heard of Vellum. Have you used it? What do you think about it?

My Cortland Apple Tree
My Cortland Apple Tree

8 thoughts on “A New Formatting Tool for eBooks

  1. One of the commenters on Joanna’s post found a way to make Scrivener work … lemme find the note I made … gotta love copy-n-paste. 🙂

    “I had the same problem with my Look Insides and realized Scrivener was the root cause. I contacted Amazon support, but it provided no lasting help, so I started tweaking my compile settings, publishing, checking the results, repeating. Anyway, I found the fix.

    Under Compile -> Transformations, check both “Remove Highlighting” and “Remove text color”. That should do it.

    It may be that only one of those two is needed… once I got it working, I stopped experimenting.”


  2. I used Vellum back in May after I saw it recommended on a facebook group, after spending a great deal of time with Scrivener, Word, and Calibre. It was super-easy and I loved the result.


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