Brad West and his partner, Brad Andalman, met while working at Pixar Animation Studios. When they wanted to start their own company, they decided to create a program to help authors create e-books.
“We both love reading and talking about books,” said West, “We’d heard about self publishing, but had no idea how to do it.” West and Andalman mapped out the typical process authors had to follow to create an ebook. “It took us like all day,” said West. “How on earth are authors absorbing and understanding this complicated problem? Authors tear their hair out, then end up giving up on something, like making the formatting or Table of Contents work the way they envisioned.”
The pair formed a company called 180g and created a program called Vellum to simplify the process of converting manuscripts into great-looking ebooks that work in all formats—EPUB (used by Nook), MOBI (used by Amazon’s Kindle) and iBooks.
Using Vellum is completely free so you can try out the process and see how your manuscript looks before you submit your e-book to Amazon, Nook, or iBookstore. When you’re ready to submit your e-book, you’ll need to pay according to this rate:
- One e-book $49.99
- Three e-books $99.99
- Five e-books $149.99
You can download and try Vellum for free. Generally I recommend spending as little as possible and doing as much as possible yourself so you can learn the process of creating and submitting e-books. It won’t be fun, but it will be a useful skill that you can share with others. For that reason, I’d suggest trying Vellum but saving your money until you’ve already formatted and submitted an e-book yourself and gotten some sales. Vellum can create beautifully designed e-books and make the e-book creation process simple. What Vellum can’t do for you is market and sell your e-books. Until you figure out the best way to promote and sell your e-books, it doesn’t matter how pretty they look if nobody knows they exist and nobody buys them.
What you should do is write and submit e-books yourself and when you find one or more e-books that seems to sell regularly, that’s when you can consider using a tool like Vellum to make your e-books look pretty. If you pay to use Vellum to create and submit your first e-book, chances are good you won’t see many sales because you haven’t learned to promote and market your e-books yet.
Keep Vellum in mind, but save your money for now. Vellum isn’t a bad program. Just realize that Vellum alone won’t sell your e-book. You need to first develop a marketing plan that can market and promote your e-book, so get that in place before spending any money if you can. To learn more about Vellum, click here.