Category Archives: Tips

3 Ways to Reuse Elements

Vellum 3.6, our newest release, adds the powerful new Reuse Elements feature: a flexible way to share content across your books. Here are just three ways you can reuse elements:

Add Front and Back Matter

Blurbs, Also By, About the Author: front and back matter that is in all of your books. Save elements like these in a dedicated file, then reuse them in every new book you create.

Include a Teaser

Developing a series? Give readers of Book 1 a taste of Book 2 by creating a teaser. Reuse chapters from the next book in the series and give readers a sneak peek of what’s to come.

Build a Box Set

Once your series is complete, you can bundle the books as a box set. When you create a box set, chapters are automatically reused from the original books.

Update with Changes

However you reuse elements, you can easily update with changes to the source. Need to add books to your Also By, update your bio, or just fix a typo? Whatever the change, you can update with a click.

You can begin reusing elements with a free update to Vellum 3.6. You’ll need macOS Big Sur or newer.

3 Tips for Using the new Startup Window

The Startup Window. It’s the easiest way to begin working on a project, and it received an overhaul with Vellum 3.5.

Here are 3 tips to get the most out what’s new:

1. Keep Scrolling

The new Startup Window lists up to 100 files you’ve recently opened. Don’t see your file on the first page? Keep going! The Startup Window now shows bigger covers and titles so it’s easier to spot the one you’re looking for.

2. Find Your File

Need to access your file in the Finder? Use the  button shown when the file is selected. In the Finder, you can move your file, rename it, or send it to a colleague. You can even delete your file by moving it to the Trash (but only if you mean it!).

3. Play Favorites

Have a file that you keep coming back to, like one with your common front- and back-matter? Keep it pinned to the top by marking it as a Favorite. Your favorite files are always listed first in the Startup Window and in the Open Recent menu.

The new Startup Window is part of Vellum 3.5, released in May. Don’t have it yet? Make sure you’re up-to-date.

Kindle Delivery Costs: Fact vs. Fiction

Kindle Delivery Costs: Fact vs. Fiction

As you may know, when you choose the 70% royalty option at KDP, Amazon will charge a “delivery cost” for each book sold, computed at $0.15 per MB.

We’ve been getting new questions about this fee from authors, many who have recently read misleading information about how these costs are calculated.

To clear up this confusion, here are four facts (and, later, three pieces of fiction) about Kindle Delivery Costs:

FACT: To determine delivery cost, upload to KDP

Don’t waste time doing math for the file you generate: Kindle Delivery Cost is computed using a (smaller) converted file created by Amazon. You’ll learn the size and resulting cost after you upload to KDP:

FACT: Images are often the biggest contributor to delivery costs

Detailed images can take up a lot of space, even compressed. In a book with many images, the fastest way to decrease costs is to simply reduce the number. To exclude an image from your ebook (but keep it in print), you can use Vellum’s Include In option:

FACT: Vellum automatically optimizes images for Kindle

Images that remain in your ebook will be resized by Vellum based on Kindle’s guidelines and how each image is used. Still have a lot of images? You can adjust Vellum’s Image Sizing for Kindle in Generation Preferences:

FACT: Reusing an image is free!

Adding the same illustration to every chapter? Vellum will make sure that image is reused, and only counted once in your book. Vellum also optimizes small, common images like ornamental breaks so that they barely take up any space.

And now, here are some pieces of fiction that you may have read:

FICTION: Fonts increase delivery costs

Though embedded fonts increase the size of the ebook you upload, these are excluded from the converted file Amazon creates. That means they don’t affect delivery costs. At all.

FICTION: Eliminating “XML Bloat” can reduce costs

While Vellum’s output is concise and clean, the truth is this doesn’t have any effect on delivery costs. Those are computed on a file converted by Amazon (that doesn’t use this XML).

FICTION: Use an EPUB compression tool before uploading

Most online EPUB compression tools are designed for readers who want to fit more ebooks on their devices. For authors, they can produce invalid EPUB files that could prevent your book from being published. We don’t recommend them.

Want more facts (and less fiction)? You‘ll find them in our updated guide to Kindle Delivery Costs.

Still have questions? Let us know!