Author Topic: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?  (Read 995 times)

VanessaC

Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« on: March 25, 2021, 04:04:33 AM »
OK, this is probably unbelievably basic, but any help would be appreciated.

I'm a Windows user, and write in Scrivener for windows. Until now I've been compiling from Scrivener then uploading the EPUB to KDP (I'm also in KU).

However, I'd like to venture into paperbacks and after one go formatting in Word, I'm so ready for an easier option!

I'm seriously considering Vellum. It looks fabulous, but I would need to use this through a "mac in cloud" service.

Just had a look online and completely bewildered by the options, and what I'd need. Vellum is easy, it's the "mac in cloud" service that's confusing me - I assumed there would be one from Apple, but it didn't come up in my search results ...

Does anyone use Vellum from a Windows base - if so, what Mac in cloud option do you use?

Hope that all made sense. Thank you!
     



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R. C.

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Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2021, 07:29:56 AM »
Vannesa,

As a WinTel user, I have looked a Vellum and "Mac in the Cloud" a couple of times.

Here is MY OPINION

As an experienced tech-weenie, I have been anti "emulators" for a couple of decades. YES, emulators, like "Mac in the Cloud" can work for limited functionality. It has been my experience they are more trouble than alternatives. The question then becomes: What is the best alternative?

Again, MY OPINION

I would like to use Vellum to simplify content formatting for print publication. However, I found a well formatted docx file loaded to one of several on-demand publishers will produce a great product.

After trying several on-demand publishers, I settled on Lulu.  Easy interface. Easy corrective actions. Quick delivery. Frequent discounts. Competitively priced.

Important point: I have decades of experience with MS Word. There is not much I can't figure out when it comes to formatting.

Happy to expand on this if you want details.

Cheers,
R.C.

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notthatamanda

Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2021, 07:30:18 AM »
I never went ahead with it but there is talk about it here:

https://writersanctum.com/index.php?topic=4225.msg82305#msg82305
 
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VanessaC

Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2021, 06:57:15 PM »
Vannesa,

As a WinTel user, I have looked a Vellum and "Mac in the Cloud" a couple of times.

Here is MY OPINION

As an experienced tech-weenie, I have been anti "emulators" for a couple of decades. YES, emulators, like "Mac in the Cloud" can work for limited functionality. It has been my experience they are more trouble than alternatives. The question then becomes: What is the best alternative?

Again, MY OPINION

I would like to use Vellum to simplify content formatting for print publication. However, I found a well formatted docx file loaded to one of several on-demand publishers will produce a great product.

After trying several on-demand publishers, I settled on Lulu.  Easy interface. Easy corrective actions. Quick delivery. Frequent discounts. Competitively priced.

Important point: I have decades of experience with MS Word. There is not much I can't figure out when it comes to formatting.

Happy to expand on this if you want details.

Cheers,
R.C.

Thank you - that's really helpful.

I did manage to get there with the Word formatting, it just took forever. Sounds like I might be better off looking for a Windows-based alternative to Vellum, and I'm sure that's been discussed once or twice!
     



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VanessaC

Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2021, 06:57:55 PM »
I never went ahead with it but there is talk about it here:

https://writersanctum.com/index.php?topic=4225.msg82305#msg82305

Thank you! I thought I'd seen a discussion on this somewhere, but had forgotten where.

Out of interest, what did you end up doing?
     



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notthatamanda

Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2021, 08:49:23 PM »
Not doing print. I'm disappointed, but my income tanked in 2020 and I couldn't justify it.
 
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VanessaC

Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2021, 10:40:10 PM »
Not doing print. I'm disappointed, but my income tanked in 2020 and I couldn't justify it.

Sorry to hear about the income - it was a tough year. Fingers crossed for your for better times ahead.

At least formatting in Word is free money-wise, even if it does cost me in patience!
     



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R. C.

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Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2021, 01:57:11 AM »
... it does cost me in patience!

Patience is the one virtue I cultivate.  :doh:

Let me know if you need anything re: MS Word (Office) formatting.

Cheers,
R.C.
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RPatton

Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2021, 06:06:28 AM »
Not doing print. I'm disappointed, but my income tanked in 2020 and I couldn't justify it.

Sorry to hear about the income - it was a tough year. Fingers crossed for your for better times ahead.

At least formatting in Word is free money-wise, even if it does cost me in patience!

Formatting for print in Word is all about styles.

Create a dummy file with 1 chapter of a book. (You don't need a TOC for fiction). Make sure your page size is set then tweak margins as needed. (You'll also want to make sure pages are facing.)

Name the styles something like: Title, author, copyright, series page, first paragraph, paragraph, chapter heading, chapter subtitle, scene break, and after scene break. (I also create backmatter styles.)

Now it's just a matter of adjusting those styles to the look you want. Once you have the look you want, save it as something basic. This is basically your book template. Just open it, save it as something new, pop your book into the document, and apply styles. For the most part this will work pretty well. In Windows you can select keeping widows and orphans together, which frankly is easier than keeping a squared bottom.

It takes patience to get that template built, but once you have it set, it makes setting up a print book incredibly easy. (I actually think Word does a better job than Vellum when it comes to print just because you can make adjustments you can't do in Vellum.)
 
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Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2021, 08:45:34 AM »
Not doing print. I'm disappointed, but my income tanked in 2020 and I couldn't justify it.

Sorry to hear about the income - it was a tough year. Fingers crossed for your for better times ahead.

At least formatting in Word is free money-wise, even if it does cost me in patience!

Formatting for print in Word is all about styles.

Create a dummy file with 1 chapter of a book. (You don't need a TOC for fiction). Make sure your page size is set then tweak margins as needed. (You'll also want to make sure pages are facing.)

Name the styles something like: Title, author, copyright, series page, first paragraph, paragraph, chapter heading, chapter subtitle, scene break, and after scene break. (I also create backmatter styles.)

Now it's just a matter of adjusting those styles to the look you want. Once you have the look you want, save it as something basic. This is basically your book template. Just open it, save it as something new, pop your book into the document, and apply styles. For the most part this will work pretty well. In Windows you can select keeping widows and orphans together, which frankly is easier than keeping a squared bottom.

It takes patience to get that template built, but once you have it set, it makes setting up a print book incredibly easy. (I actually think Word does a better job than Vellum when it comes to print just because you can make adjustments you can't do in Vellum.)

 :goodpost:  This! Some much this!

Oh and, knowing how to edit the TOC for the various upload requirements.

Cheers,
R.C.
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notthatamanda

Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2021, 08:51:52 AM »
Just a side note - the D2D meatgrinder has been working pretty well and it generates the TOC for you. I assume you are talking about the epub files..
 
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VanessaC

Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2021, 07:09:26 PM »
... it does cost me in patience!

Patience is the one virtue I cultivate.  :doh:

Let me know if you need anything re: MS Word (Office) formatting.

Cheers,
R.C.

That's really kind of you, thank you - may well take you up on that in future!
     



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VanessaC

Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2021, 07:10:31 PM »
Not doing print. I'm disappointed, but my income tanked in 2020 and I couldn't justify it.

Sorry to hear about the income - it was a tough year. Fingers crossed for your for better times ahead.

At least formatting in Word is free money-wise, even if it does cost me in patience!

Formatting for print in Word is all about styles.

Create a dummy file with 1 chapter of a book. (You don't need a TOC for fiction). Make sure your page size is set then tweak margins as needed. (You'll also want to make sure pages are facing.)

Name the styles something like: Title, author, copyright, series page, first paragraph, paragraph, chapter heading, chapter subtitle, scene break, and after scene break. (I also create backmatter styles.)

Now it's just a matter of adjusting those styles to the look you want. Once you have the look you want, save it as something basic. This is basically your book template. Just open it, save it as something new, pop your book into the document, and apply styles. For the most part this will work pretty well. In Windows you can select keeping widows and orphans together, which frankly is easier than keeping a squared bottom.

It takes patience to get that template built, but once you have it set, it makes setting up a print book incredibly easy. (I actually think Word does a better job than Vellum when it comes to print just because you can make adjustments you can't do in Vellum.)

Thank you, this is really helpful.

From memory, the mistake I made when trying to format for print using Word was to try and do the whole book at once - setting up a template, even if it might be fiddly, is a much better idea!
     



Genre: Fantasy
 

VanessaC

Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2021, 07:12:36 PM »
Just a side note - the D2D meatgrinder has been working pretty well and it generates the TOC for you. I assume you are talking about the epub files..

Thank you. I'm actually ok with the EPUB files - I compile them from Scrivener and check them in the Kindle Previewer.  I'm all in with Amazon / KU at the moment - keeping it simple.

However, print is a whole other issue! Great advice above, so I will fortify myself with caffeine and chocolate and have another try with Word.

I'm also only trying to do print for KDP, so that helps, I think.

     



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Riven

Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2021, 09:39:51 PM »
Hi Vanessa,

I use Vellum through Mac in Cloud (macincloud.com) and have done since 2019. I use their prepay plan where you buy $30 of credits giving you 30 hours of access.

The are two caveats. The first being that it doesn't divide time into units smaller than an hour. If you log in, even for five minutes a day, it counts as an hour. But if you log in 3 times in the one day for 20 minutes each, that still counts as the one hour. The second is that your credits expire if you don't log in to the server for more than 60 days.

Some people have had trouble with it not logging out properly. I keep track of my log in and log out times just in case, but I've never had any issues, and I use it every 6 weeks. I've only had one occasion where I couldn't access the server, and their support had it fixed within a few hours, despite it being a holiday weekend.

It's straightforward to use. You log in and it brings you to a Mac desktop page. Vellum's already installed, as is Dropbox. And once you've set those up once, you just open them back up the next time you log in.
 
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Writer

Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2021, 08:24:21 AM »
I'm another one who's been using Vellum with MacInCloud for a couple years now. It's been a huge time/money saver for me, so I'm a big fan. After formatting dozens of books, I've only run into technical issues with MacInCloud once (by my own clumsy mistake). I've tried Scrivener, formatting paperbacks in templates with Word, and hiring a pro formatter, and Vellum wound up being my favorite option.

It's only negative (in my opinion) is that if you're not very tech-minded it does take a few days of following tutorials and experimenting before you get the hang of navigating in the Cloud. But once you've figured it out, you're formatting books in a few minutes. Crazy easy, once you know how to do it (like anything, I guess).

To give you an example of costs, in 2020 I formatted 13 new books + around 10 new editions and new paperback sizes for old books, and paid $30 for MacInCloud for the entire year. I had already bought lifetime Vellum use at $250 the year before.

Also, Riven's post above matches my own experience in how they divide hourly units. I'm extra careful to fully log out after every use, because I've heard of one person having a bad experience and getting over-billed. Never had any issues myself, though.
 
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R. C.

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Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2021, 08:45:27 AM »
...
To give you an example of costs, in 2020 I formatted 13 new books + around 10 new editions and new paperback sizes for old books, and paid $30 for MacInCloud for the entire year. I had already bought lifetime Vellum use at $250 the year before.
...

Damn, now I am going to have to try it my own self... Arg...

At $1 per hour, current pricing, you were able format 13 new books + around 10 new editions and new paperback sizes for old books, for $30?

It seems lite to me at $1 per hour or $25 per month.  Did you receive a discount?

Cheers,
R.C.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2021, 08:48:15 AM by R. C. »
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Writer

Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2021, 03:33:28 PM »
It seems lite to me at $1 per hour or $25 per month.  Did you receive a discount?

No discount, just a Pay-As-You-Go block of 30 hour credits for $30. It usually takes me fifteen minutes to format a book, so roughly 23 books would be roughly 23 out of my 30 hours, assuming I logged in on 23 separate days and spent less than an hour per session logged in. I even had a few hours left over.

Out of curiosity, I checked my PayPal records for 2019 and found I spent the same on MacInCloud in 2019 as in 2020: $30. I formatted 27 books in 2019 (including formatting for some relatives, since Vellum's FAQ says that's allowed under their license). 

I used to hire a pro formatter for $100 per book, so for me, lifetime Vellum paid for itself + a 30 hour block of credits after I formatted 3 books ($280 instead of my usual $300). Big savings for someone who formats as many books as I do and just wants a quick, tidy looking ebook/paperback without a lot of individual customization. I rarely change styles or fiddle with ornamental dividers and things, although there are several looks available. Just simple and tidy suits my needs.
 
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VanessaC

Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2021, 10:08:41 PM »
Hi Vanessa,

I use Vellum through Mac in Cloud (macincloud.com) and have done since 2019. I use their prepay plan where you buy $30 of credits giving you 30 hours of access.

The are two caveats. The first being that it doesn't divide time into units smaller than an hour. If you log in, even for five minutes a day, it counts as an hour. But if you log in 3 times in the one day for 20 minutes each, that still counts as the one hour. The second is that your credits expire if you don't log in to the server for more than 60 days.

Some people have had trouble with it not logging out properly. I keep track of my log in and log out times just in case, but I've never had any issues, and I use it every 6 weeks. I've only had one occasion where I couldn't access the server, and their support had it fixed within a few hours, despite it being a holiday weekend.

It's straightforward to use. You log in and it brings you to a Mac desktop page. Vellum's already installed, as is Dropbox. And once you've set those up once, you just open them back up the next time you log in.

Thank you - great to hear a positive experience.

I'm so tempted by the time saving that Vellum offers ...
     



Genre: Fantasy
 

VanessaC

Re: Using Mac In Cloud for Vellum - what's the right option?
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2021, 10:10:21 PM »
I'm another one who's been using Vellum with MacInCloud for a couple years now. It's been a huge time/money saver for me, so I'm a big fan. After formatting dozens of books, I've only run into technical issues with MacInCloud once (by my own clumsy mistake). I've tried Scrivener, formatting paperbacks in templates with Word, and hiring a pro formatter, and Vellum wound up being my favorite option.

It's only negative (in my opinion) is that if you're not very tech-minded it does take a few days of following tutorials and experimenting before you get the hang of navigating in the Cloud. But once you've figured it out, you're formatting books in a few minutes. Crazy easy, once you know how to do it (like anything, I guess).

To give you an example of costs, in 2020 I formatted 13 new books + around 10 new editions and new paperback sizes for old books, and paid $30 for MacInCloud for the entire year. I had already bought lifetime Vellum use at $250 the year before.

Also, Riven's post above matches my own experience in how they divide hourly units. I'm extra careful to fully log out after every use, because I've heard of one person having a bad experience and getting over-billed. Never had any issues myself, though.

Thank you - great to have another positive experience.

It's the time saving that's the real attraction of Vellum - I could format in Word, but the idea that a formatted print book is a few clicks away is soooooo tempting.

I'm not very technical, but I can follow tutorials, so sounds like this might be worth a try ...
     



Genre: Fantasy
 
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