vellum-icon-drop-256I’ve always been ahead of my time. Which is just another way to say my timing is always off. What was announced yesterday (one week after TEMPORARY was released)?

Vellum 2.1

Yes. Right after I whined about the lack of flexibility in the positioning of the title page…they fixed it. Just after I had to create hyperlinks for Instagram instead of having the icon offered, they release it (and for Amazon and Goodreads, Bookbub and more).  Hopefully, an email icon will come with the next release (hint, hint, Vellum). (Oh, and maybe have a profile set up where authors can store all of their book links and social media links, which would save a lot of time for us and would be super awesome to have…hint, hint again.) All of this is super exciting. Except I spent a fair bit of time last night updating the interior of my ebooks that I just uploaded the week before because, yeah, that’s some cool stuff and you want your readers to have it.

But still…

It would be nice if my timing was on for once.

And while I’ve been toying around with Vellum and updating ebooks, here’s a couple other things I learned during the process:

If you want the Version field available in Vellum (needed if you make changes in iBooks), there’s a whole rigamarole involved to doing it with one key step missing — at least for me (and I’m pretty good with computers). I put that in BOLD (the rest is from the Vellum site):

  1. First, quit Vellum
  2. Then, start the Terminal program on your Mac. You’ll find it in the Utilities section of your Applications folder
  3. In the Terminal application, SELECT “NEW COMMAND” AND paste the following command INTO THE NEW COMMAND FIELD/WINDOW:

defaults write co.180g.Vellum OGShowIBooksVersionTextField -bool YES

     4. Start Vellum

(I’ve respectfully requested Vellum add this as a Preference rather than asking us to go through all those steps for something many of us will want/need.)

The other thing I found was that if you created your iBooks epub in iBooksAuthor, you aren’t going to be able to squeak your super, sexy cook Vellum version through when you update. At least I couldn’t.

My solution: Import your Vellum version into iBooksAuthor (use a Blank template) and make the formatting changes you’ll need there (and you will need to make a few adjustments). It won’t be as super sexy as the Vellum version, but it will be better than the iBooksAuthor epub. (Sorry, Apple. I love you and know you can do better.)

Now, even with all this griping, I do adore Vellum. It is an investment, but it’s already paying off. Even doing the update with iBooks last night, I was still able to get it up on the first try. Love that. There are still things to learn (I might even watch a YouTube or two), and I’ll be excited to see what the future updates provide.

And, as much as I think iBooksAuthor blows (sorry again, Apple), and how hard it can be to get things uploaded to iBooks, what I adore about Apple is the lovely human beings they have answering the phones to help you out. Not just a nice person to answer only to transfer you, the person who answers is the helper-outer. They are sweet and kind and patient, ready to find a solution, then email a follow-up and reply quickly. (Vellum takes over a day to respond and reply, and then you get a little mansplaining to go along with it. That’s always fun.)

Working on the third novel now, I’m excited (and hopeful) about how Vellum will work with the print format now that I can fiddle with it a little bit more. (I’ll still have my Word template at the ready, though.) If you’re an indie author, you owe it to yourself to look into the ways Vellum can make life easier. Because it does. Especially if your timing is better than mine.

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