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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Clemmer

Vellum vs. Atticus: Layout Made Easy

If you’re new to layout, you’ve probably already realized that it can easily be one of the hardest parts of publishing and has brought many authors to tears. The journey from completed manuscript to published book is long and fraught with hardship, especially if you’re not graphically inclined and can’t afford someone to prepare your layout for you. Free options like Draft2Digital can give your book a passable or even attractive appearance, but if you want a quality custom touch—or especially an easily relatable paperback interior—you might wish to take things a step further.

Enter Vellum and Atticus: easy, approachable ways for authors to format elegant books. It used to be that you would need a software like Adobe’s InDesign to create an eye-catching layout. You would have to orchestrate your book page by page and refine every detail to be what you want to see, and the process could take more time and effort than it was worth.

Today there are options—and with the recent release of Dave Chesson’s Atticus, it’s now easier than ever for every author to get a custom layout for every book or series. If you’re ready to take layout into your own hands, here’s an overview of these top two options.

Ten or fifteen years ago, if you wanted to design a custom layout for your book, you had to master the elements of a larger and more complicated service like InDesign. Vellum changed the game by being the first easily accessible layout software available for authors.

Vellum has a variety of templates and makes for a fast and easy layout experience. Since it first released, it has become a staple part of the publishing process for many authors and one of the best publishing services available.

Unfortunately, Vellum isn’t possible for everyone. It remains exclusive for Mac users, and its price tag of $249 for full services is a strong deterrent for people who aren’t sure if they’re ready to tackle layout.

As of this writing, Atticus is the latest release from Kindlepreneur’s Dave Chesson, the mastermind behind Publisher Rocket. Atticus has a broader focus than Vellum in that it is also a writing software with a detailed and goal-oriented interface. It’s a be-all, end-all with book production.

Atticus has a steep competitor in Vellum, but it makes up for it by having a lower price point ($147) and being available on any browser. The versatility is a huge advantage for anyone looking for a writing upgrade.

Unfortunately, Atticus does not currently have a trial available for people curious about making the buy. The cloud reliance also means that you need a reliable Internet connection to work, which might be a problem for some writers.

Do you need layout software?

Not necessarily. Many authors use a variety of free services available online, and there’s no reason to spend a lot on your layout when you first get started. In the end, the quality of your writing does carry more weight than the beauty and uniqueness of your chapter headings. Whether this is a worthwhile upgrade depends on where you are in publishing and how much you could gain from a custom formatting software.

As always, please share your personal reviews and reflections in the comment section below. You can also click on the blue button to join my Facebook group for self-publishing fiction writers.


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