Author Archives: Brad West

FAQ: Text Conversations and Written Notes

We’re thrilled with the response to Vellum 3.4, which introduced new features for Text Conversations and Written Notes. With all of the excitement, we’ve also received some questions. Here are answers to the most common ones:

Q & A

Questions & Answers

In ebooks, will Text Conversations and Written Notes resize as a reader changes font size?
Yes. The sizing is based on a reader’s font size and will change with their preferences.

Will the text within notes and conversations be accessible to screen reading systems?
Yes! All of the text is still included in your ebook. The appearance is just altered using styling and fonts.

Will using a Text Conversation or Written Note increase delivery costs?
Not at all. No images are used to create these, so you won’t see any increase in Amazon delivery costs. 

Will Text Conversation bubbles appear on all ebook readers?
In purchased ebooks, yes. As usual, formatting is limited in ebooks sideloaded into Kindle for iPhone.

Will Text Conversation bubbles work in dark mode?
Yes! The text and bubble colors will change to adapt to dark mode and other color schemes. You can see how this works in Vellum’s Preview.

Will Written Note fonts still be visible when readers change their preferred font?
In purchased ebooks, yes. In Kindle ebooks that are sideloaded, there are some limitations.

Vellum 3.4

Vellum 3.4 is now available! Here’s what you’ll find in this newest release:

Text message bubbles shown within a book on an ebook reader

Text Messages

Writing a story set in the digital world? Use a Text Conversation to format texts between characters. Configure sent and received messages, and choose from six different style options for how they appear in your book.

Written Notes

You can go analog, too! With a Written Note, you can include a letter, note, or any other dispatch from a character. Set up the different parts of a letter and select from handwritten typefaces or options that match the primary font.

Export to Word

You use Import Word File to bring your manuscript into Vellum. Now you can go the other way, too! The Export Content command — found in the File menu — takes text you’ve written in Vellum and creates a Word file you can send to your editor.

Also in Vellum 3.4

  • In Body Style, you can disable hyphenation for Capitalized Words
  • You can also disable hyphenation for a specific word in your book
  • In situations when you can’t provide a Kindle-specific file, you can safely use Generic EPUB with Send to Kindle
  • You can now use SVG vector images in print (macOS Ventura only)

Vellum 3.4 is a free update. This version requires macOS Catalina or newer, and is compatible with macOS Ventura.

To get Vellum 3.4, use Check for Updates. Or download Vellum from vellum.pub.

Vellum 3.3

Vellum 3.3 is now available! Here’s what you’ll find in this latest release:

Custom Headers & Footers

Go beyond Vellum’s presets with the new Custom option for Headers and Footers. Select information you want to include, control alignment, and — for an extra touch — even use your own themed ornament!

Series Title

Is your book a part of a series? You can now include the name of the series and the number of the book in Title Info. Vellum will include this on your book’s title page and in your ebook metadata.

Bibliography

For non-fiction works, you can list all of your references in Vellum’s new Bibliography element. Vellum automatically formats each citation using a standard hanging indent, and uses a smaller font size to fit more on the page.

Also in Vellum 3.3

  • New Special Characters menu offers quick access to tools like Soft Hyphen
  • Non-Breaking Space and other special characters are now always visible in the Text Editor
  • Vellum’s ebook preview now avoids widows and orphans for supported devices
  • Ukrainian 🇺🇦 is now an option for book Language

Version 3.3 is a free update. Get it using Check for Updates, or download from vellum.pub

Your Mac will need macOS Catalina or newer for this version.

Send to Kindle Now Accepts EPUB Files

Recently, Amazon announced that their Send to Kindle tools are transitioning from accepting MOBI files to EPUB files:

  • When using Send to Kindle by Email, you can now provide an EPUB file instead of a MOBI file
  • Amazon’s Send to Kindle apps will support EPUB files in the future
  • In August late 2022, Send to Kindle will stop accepting MOBI files 
Q & A

Questions & Answers

What file should I use with Send to Kindle?
If you use Send to Kindle by Email, you can now attach your Kindle.epub file instead of a converted MOBI file. (Amazon’s Send to Kindle app still requires a MOBI file.)


Can I attach Vellum’s Generic EPUB file?
We don’t recommend it. For best results, you’ll need to provide the same Kindle.epub file that you use when uploading to KDP.


Can Kindles now read EPUB files then?
No. Send to Kindle will convert your EPUB file to a proprietary format (AZW3) that can be read on Kindles.


Does this mean Send to Kindle now matches what readers see?
Unfortunately, no. Send to Kindle converts to an older format that doesn’t support Amazon’s Enhanced Typesetting. To see your book with Enhanced Typesetting, you’ll still need to use Kindle Previewer.


What if I load files via USB instead of using Send to Kindle?
Since Kindles can’t read EPUB files, you’ll need to use a MOBI file when you sideload via USB. Vellum can generate MOBI files for Kindle by adjusting Generation Preferences.


Will Vellum continue support for MOBI files?
Vellum relies on tools supplied by Amazon to convert your Kindle.epub file to a Kindle.mobi file. As long as Amazon maintains these tools, we’ll continue to offer this option in Vellum.

Update 6/2/22: After this was posted, Amazon changed requirements for EPUB files sent using Send to Kindle, which caused Kindle.epub files to be rejected. To address this, we‘ve updated the Kindle.epub format with Vellum 3.2.2.

Update 6/23/22: Amazon has made additional changes, and will again accept Kindle.epub files created with earlier versions of Vellum.

Vellum 3.2

Vellum 3.2 is now available, with a big change under the hood:

New File Format

Vellum 3.2 saves documents in an all-new format. Vellum documents are now just a single file (and no longer use the Mac’s package format).

With this simpler format, it’s easier to share your work with colleagues — via email or using cloud services like iCloud, Dropbox, and OneDrive.

Converting to the new format is automatic, and will happen the next time you save your work in Vellum. And when you save your file, your Mac will now show the cover as its icon!

Questions & Answers

How do I save documents in the new format?
Any document you save with Vellum 3.2 will use this new format.

Will I be able to open my existing documents?
Yes! Vellum 3.2 can still open older files, and will convert to the new format when you save.

Can older versions of Vellum open files saved in the new format?
No. If you send someone a file saved with this version, they’ll need Vellum 3.2 to open it.

Will files in the new format have a different name?
No. File names will stay the same, and continue to end with the .vellum extension.

Version 3.2 is a free update. Get it using Check for Updates, or download from vellum.pub.

Your Mac will need macOS Catalina or newer for this version.

Vellum 3.1

Vellum 3.1 is now available! Here’s everything in this new release:

Multiple Heading Backgrounds

Authors have used Heading Backgrounds to create some amazing paperbacks and hardcovers. With Vellum 3.1, you have new options for using Heading Backgrounds in your books.

You can now apply Heading Backgrounds to elements like Parts, Volumes, or even a Title Page. Or create alternate backgrounds for Chapters, and change the background to match each Chapter’s point-of-view.

Accessible Styles

Vellum 3.1 adds an Accessible section to Styles, with two new options designed for reading and visual impairments: 

  • Dyslexic incorporates the OpenDyslexic font, considered easier to read by many with dyslexia.
  • Legible uses Atkinson Hyperlegible, a sans serif font designed with readability in mind.

Accessible Styles adopt guidelines such as left-aligned text, space between paragraphs, and limited hyphenation and indentation. You can use them in any trim size, including Large Print.

Easier Box Set Construction

For years, Vellum has been the best way to combine books into a single release. Vellum 3.1 makes it even easier. 

With the New Box Set command you can add files, reorder, and then create your box set with one click. Make a box set that combines the books in your series, or collaborate with others to build a multiple-author bundle.

Also in Vellum 3.1

Version 3.1 is a free update. Get it using Check for Updates, or download from vellum.pub.

Your Mac will need macOS Catalina or newer for this version.

Vellum 3.0.2

Vellum 3.0.2 is a minor update that includes these improvements:

  • Fixed an issue that could cause a blank Preview or missing file errors
  • Replace All functionality has been restored
  • Files saved prior to Vellum 3.0 display their custom Ornamental Breaks

This release is a free update, available now.

Vellum 3.0.1

Vellum 3.0.1 is a minor update that includes these improvements:

  • Box Sets now use full-spread heading backgrounds for first Chapter in every Volume
  • Fixed rare issue that caused a blank Preview on Monterey
  • Improved rendering of some transparent images in print
  • Adjusted output to avoid KDP conversion failures for certain style options

This release is a free update, available now.

Vellum 3.0 is Here!

It’s here! Vellum 3.0 is out now with exciting new options for styling your books. Here’s everything that’s in this free update:

All-New Styles

Vellum 3.0 features twenty-four Styles, with sixteen all-new designs. Every Style allows for multiple configurations, giving you a world of new options for your books.

You’ll also find a brand new browser for Styles, with new categories that can help you find the perfect match for your story.

Full-Bleed Heading Backgrounds

Add a rich background behind the beginning of each chapter in your print edition. Use a single-page background, or fill the entire page spread and wow your readers. You can even set the mood with white text on a dark background.

Vellum comes with six illustrated backgrounds that are ready to use in your book, as well as a Custom option where you can provide your own.

Saved Styles

Configured the perfect setup for your book? Create a Saved Style and easily reuse it for every book in the series.

Also in Vellum 3.0

All of this comes in a revamped interface designed for the latest versions of macOS.

Version 3.0 is a free update. Get it using Check for Updates, or download Vellum from vellum.pub.

Your Mac will need macOS Catalina or newer for this version.