Vellum for e-book Publishing

vellum-1200-icon.jpgI just used Vellum for the first time to prepare files to upload on KDP, Amazon’s e-book platform. I’ve dragged my feet on doing this for over a year. Instead I’ve resorted to my past, lazy use of uploading Word files.

Author Christiana Miller mentioned Vellum to me last year. “It’s easy,” she said. “Even for people who aren’t Tech geeks. It’s intuitive. It allows you to add flair and fanciness to an otherwise plain looking manscript.” I’m paraphrasing.

But like a lot of people, and a lot of writers, I was intimidated by the process. It would be hard, I thought.  I’d become overwhelmed and do something wrong and it would look lousy. And anyway, uploading from a Word doc was fine so why mess with it?

Well, one reason is a table of contents. I released a short story collection last month and there isn’t a table contents. In the print version I have one, because Shadowridge Press is good with print layout. But not in my digital version that I’m responsible for.

Today finally, when I’d put off  uploading my Word doc long enough for The Rainbox, I decided to give Vellum a shot. OMG, it’s AWESOME!!!!! Why did I wait so long?

This is how I felt when I finally started eating avocados, or using floss picks, or doing Yoga.

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 2.37.07 PM.pngFor one thing, it’s free until you actually need to upload your book to Kindle or any of the other platforms. For another, you can VERY EASILY do neat things like restyle your section breaks instead of using the manual ***  I had before. You can select to have the first letter in each chapter be a big pretty CAPITAL letter…And there’s a table of contents, and it puts everything where it’s supposed to go. And organizes things like Acknowledgements. You can use their headings or make your own.

I am not a Tech person but it was a breeze. The only issue I had when I dragged and dropped my Word doc into the program (that was easy) was that there were about 50 chapters. In real life there are 9. I quickly figured out how to merge chapters (highlighted the ones I needed with CTRL+Shift and clicked “merge chapters.”) Then I read through and added in the section breaks which the program had mistaken for chapter breaks.

Scrolling through and viewing the document in the program allowed me to see a couple of typos I had missed before as well. This made me very happy.

imagesTo purchase the document which gives you five different file types for different platforms that you can edit anytime, forever, is just $29.99. If you pay $99.99 you can do 10 books. Unlimited is $199.99. I don’t have that many books so I opted for the bundle of 10.

I highly recommend this software for anyone who wants a better looking e-book and wants to have fun setting it up. Currently this is only available on Mac computers, not PCs.

Soon I’ll be updating all my books on Kindle with my snazzy new software!


To see more of Tracy’s thoughts on writing, life, cooking, and home repairs, please visit her WEBSITE HERE. Also, please visit and follow her on Amazon for updates on upcoming titles and author appearances.








January is a Good Month for Fiction

I awoke Sunday and was thrilled to find out the New England Horror Writers‘ first anthology, Epitaphs, made the Preliminary Ballot for the Bram Stoker Award.  In addition, because of the number of recommendations in that category, our anthology is moving straight to the final ballot. We cannot call ourselves “Stoker Nominated” just yet, but soon, the end of February.  Till then, I’m just happy to be on the Preliminary Ballot. We’re up against some stiff competition but I have hope. It’s a riveting collection of 26 short stories and poems. Winners in various categories will be announced at the World Horror Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah on March 31st, where the Horror Writers Association will celebrate its 25th anniversary.

In the last week I have also worked to begin the huge task of editing all of my old unpublished stories and putting them up on Kindle. So far I have two up, The Folks and One Minute for $.99 each. The process is a lot easier than I expected, and in the next few months I hope to have a large collection of stories available, as well as a couple of novels. More to come on that.

So I was riding pretty high on that wave, and then tonight I got word that my story, “The Girl Who Drowned” will be featured in Evil Jester Digest #1, to premiere at the World Horror Conference.

And the icing on the cake? I will be visiting a middle school in NH on February 3rd to promote The Soul Collector to five classes of 7th Graders, and to teach them about brainstorming. Once I get the hang of it, I’m hoping to visit a lot more local schools in the coming months.

It’s been a very busy and productive month so far and I look forward to the rest of 2012.


All the above books and more are available on Amazon.