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SPS-426: Format your book in style with Vellum 

This week’s episode is with Brad West the co-founder of Vellum, (in our opinion) the best formatter in the business

Show Notes

Show notes:
– Updates on the Learn Self Publishing courses
– FaceBook Ads and Advantage +
– What is Vellum
– Features of Vellum and why you use them, including store links
– Adding drama to your chapters
– Custom illustrations and AI
– Direct selling and personalised special editions
– Vellum attending the SPS conference in June

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Show’s Patreon page

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Speaker 1 (00:03):
Publishing is changing. No more gatekeepers, no more barriers, no one standing between you and your readers. This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.
James Blatch (00:19):
Hello and welcome to the Self-Publishing Show. It's me, James, and I'm going to be with you for this Friday. Coming up in a few moments time, we have an interview with one of the two Brads who founded and still to this day entirely by themselves run Vellum. The formatting of Brad West will be joining us. Now, I know Vellum is Mac only and some of you're pc, maybe most of you're pc. I guess. I dunno, a lot of authors do use Mac, but generally PCs are more popular, but so sorry about that. There is a way of using Vellum if you're on pc, but it is such an amazing bit of software. It's a joy to use in my opinion. I love the formatting stage of book production and if you are using Vellum, do listen because we talk about a couple of the features within Vellum that quite a few people don't use.
(01:11):
You might not even know they are there so worthwhile listening to Brad, he's such a lovely guy as well. We're talking about a bit of indie publishing generally. Okay, I have a couple of things to talk about before then. Now, last week I told you I was going to have a little play with 11 Labs, which is an AI voice generator so it can actually synthesise your voice. There are two ways of doing it, a kind of quick and dirty way, and then a more long term way, which you have to record 15 hours of your own voice, which is basically an entire novela. I was actually going to do that and I realised I would be recording my entire novela just to synthesise my voice to try and see what it would sound like if I got a synthesised version of me to do it.
(01:59):
Anyway, I did the quick and dirty one and somewhere in this podcast I'm going to use a bit of that voice instead of my voice and your job is to work out. If you can find out where that is, I will give you the answer next week, but I'll probably post a thread in the community group on Facebook so that you can have a guess if you want. I mean, hopefully it'll be really obvious because I don't think we want our voices to be a hundred percent synthesised at this stage. We always want it to sound as authors. I think we want it to sound like it's a human narrating our voice. Certainly a lot of you are voice actors and you do your own voice acting work, and so you will certainly be concerned about this. So keep listening, see if you can tell where it is or I have become the Robot James.
(02:41):
Right? A couple of other things to mention, A couple of course announcements. First of all, we are going to be opening Self-Publishing Launch Pad this Wednesday. It's the 22nd of May 10:00 PM UK time. So Self-Publishing Launchpad is the foundation course. It's the one that will get you established as an independent author. It's ideal for someone who's at the beginning of their career. So whether you're coming towards the end of your first book or you are on books two or three, but you haven't really got a good setup and main list and all the rest of it at this stage, it is the one for you and it'll get you into your first paid ads and reviews and so on. It's very comprehensive course. It's basically a collection of all the material that you can find around the web one place or another, but you don't really know if it's the best information and it takes you a long time to get there.
(03:24):
And if you're like me, you make a lot of mistakes without following a course like this. So it's one. We have a lot of testimonials on this course of how successful it's been and what a platform it's been for many people. So you can go and check that out. Learnselfpublishing.com/launchpad and that will be open from 10:00 PM on Wednesday. Another announcement, if you are on our Ads for Authors programme. If you're enrolled in ads for authors, we are going to have a Do-over of a couple of the significant courses there. So first of all, Facebook ads for authors. It's been a bit piecemeal over the last couple of years as they've changed a few aspects of the interface and they've introduced Advantage Plus, so the screens look a little bit different in some places. I did do quite lot of re-recording last year for this, but is a bit piecemeal, so we decided to redo the entire course and so my colleague Tom Ashford and I are going to be doing that.
(04:19):
So you'll get a brand new version of Facebook ads for authors later this year. We're hoping to have it by June, but there might be a bit of a tall order, so we will see when we can roll that out. And at the same time, we're also updating Amazon ads for authors, so Ricardo Fayet is taking the lead on that and that should be ready for June. So Amazon ads for authors, Facebook ads for authors. Two of the flagship courses within Ads for authors will be brand new in a couple of months time with everything up to date I should say about Facebook ads. I spend a lot of time in the Facebook ads interface and I've noticed a few people saying, oh, it's changed so much. Actually, I don't think it has changed that much. I think they've introduced Advantage Plus, which is a different way of doing things and definitely worth testing, but it's not the be all and end all.
(05:05):
Some other tutors out there are saying it is that you don't need to target anymore. That'll do it all for you. I'm not sure that's always the case. In fact, I'm certain it's not. However, the interface looks different because they really thrust Advantage Plus on you. So if you dunno what I'm talking about, basically you could go in and manually target where your ads are going to go and manually choose where they're going to be shown within the Facebook ads ecosystem or you can see all those decisions over to Advantage Plus, which uses Facebook's own knowledge to serve your ads to who and where it thinks will work best. It looks different, but actually it's slightly hidden, but if you click on edit or manual version switch over, all of the other stuff is there just underneath the surface. So the actual platform system hasn't changed that much at this stage.
(05:55):
Now sort of feels in the future they're going to take away those manual options, but we don't know that for sure. I kind of would be surprised if they did take them away completely. But anyway, advantage Price definitely worth using for now as a test alongside your targeted adverts, but you should understand how the system works from a manual targeting point of view. To start off with particularly placements, I think it's the one area Advantage Plus does not do well if you don't take over the placements of your Facebook ads, you allow Facebook to send them everywhere. They will be sent into places which are really no good for book sales and it's so tight for us. We need to optimise our ads so that we get the very best value for every dollar we spend. And you need to be focused on things like the Facebook newsfeed for an old audience.
(06:44):
Most of our audiences are older. Not all of you listening will have older audiences, but I certainly do the Facebook news feed, the Instagram newsfeed, add a push are very good once you get onto Marketplace and Reels and some of those ephemeral things that fleet and go and disappear, they're no good for an old audience, so you don't want to be surfing around. It's just wasted money and don't let Advantage Plus do that for you. You want to take over the placements and do those manually. Right? I think that's probably it for my rambling. It is time for us to listen to Brad West. Love the Brads who run Vellum over there in the us. They're going to be here in June at our conference, so you can come and meet them at our celebrities in the indie world. So here's Brad, I'll be back for a quick chat at the end of the interview.
Speaker 1 (07:30):
This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.
James Blatch (07:35):
Hello, Brad West from Vellum. Welcome back to the Self-Publishing Show. Great.
Brad West (07:40):
Hey, James. Thank you.
James Blatch (07:41):
Yeah, great to chat with you and longtime listeners of the show will know that I'm a user and a fan of Vellum. I just think it's a really wonderful bit of software and it's a pleasure to use and you do a great job, but there might be people listening who do not know what Vellum is, so you better start by explaining that.
Brad West (07:59):
Oh, okay. Yeah. Vellum is a software that you can use to take your manuscript and turn it into a book. So that's a process called formatting, and that's going to give you files for an ebook or for a print on demand. Basically take that word file that you've been staring at for a year or longer and actually turn it into something. You can publish software that you can use on your Mac. You try to make it as easy to use as possible and try to make something that you can really be proud of and feel like a book and get your book published. Yeah,
James Blatch (08:35):
I mean, it was 10 years for my first novel before I got the formatting stage, but I take your point, sometimes it is a year for fast people, sometimes it's a month for romance writers. You mentioned Mac, so we'll get this bit out the way at the beginning. It is software that runs on the Mac OS system. There is a way around it for PC users. There's something called Mac in the air, was it? Or Mac in the cloud or something?
Brad West (08:58):
Mac and Cloud, yeah. Yeah, it works for some people. It really is designed to work natively on your Mac. People who have Macs really appreciate that it's a desktop piece of software. It means you don't need an internet connection. You can use it anywhere you want. If you want to go to that fabled Writer's Cabin and Unplug, you can keep on using Vellum, but it is designed for Mac. Some people have used this software called Mac and Cloud, which gives you a virtual Mac that you can use and you can use it in there. And some people say that they're only using Vellum for a half hour, so it's not too bad, but it doesn't work for everyone. But it's suggesting out there, we have a help guide on our website for those who are interested in that.
James Blatch (09:45):
And the software itself is very aesthetically pleasing. It sort of fits into that whole, I think the Apple tradition of looking good. And my mouse is all probably, you might call it style over substance or form and function, but I think Apple and Apple have really perfected form and function, haven't they? Which is why they did so much. Yeah,
Brad West (10:04):
We try to follow that guy. I think the mouse is maybe not the example I would pick. That's probably the mass that you need to turn on its side to charge. Oh, yes,
James Blatch (10:12):
That is true. It is. Yeah,
Brad West (10:14):
So a little bit of style over substance, but yeah, we care about aesthetics at every level and we just want to, the biggest compliment we hear is people who have been looking at their Word file for one year or 10 years, they're just so excited to just see their book as a book, to see it with page numbers and headers and everything in there and just to be a part of that is something that we really enjoy.
James Blatch (10:43):
And that's the thing about the way it works. It's an old concept, which used to be knocking around when I was in computing in the eighties called what you see is what you Get Wise Z Wig, which doesn't always exist in the way that we format stuff. There are format options in a few of the bits of software people use, and often it's ticking a few boxes saying this is how you want it to come out and you press a button. It's a bit like compiling old code and then it spits out the final document, but Vem is not like that. You literally work with the pages almost turning the pages saying exactly what they look like. And I think that's really
Brad West (11:14):
Helpful and it's an interesting twist on what you see is what you get, because what you get can change, it will look a little bit different in your ebook and in print, and it will look a little bit different on a big iPad versus a small phone versus a black and white E Ink reader. And so that's part of Vellum two is showing you all of those answers for what you get. But yeah, really giving you a better idea of what that's going to be and allowing you to make changes and also just getting excited
James Blatch (11:49):
About it. And it's great that it looks and feels good because ultimately that's about the end product. Isn't everything dovetails here, it's important that our 10 years work or one year one month work is the formatting doesn't get in the way of the reader. It's got to be an elegant and easy experience. I think that's what, if you use your software correctly, I think that's what you end up with.
Brad West (12:13):
Yeah, for sure. And definitely making sure everything still works for eBooks, all the different ways that people can read eBooks. eBooks are interesting in that a reader can change to use their own font can change to make it much bigger and much smaller. Those are great from a reader's perspective that they can have something that works for how they like to read, but you want to make sure your ebook can adapt to that. So that's something we pay close attention to.
James Blatch (12:42):
Now for people who aren't using Vellum or thinking about using it, let's talk about a few of the things. I think there are quite a few features in there, less well-known and less well used that are actually very useful. Perhaps you'll know some that I probably don't know, but why don't we start with things like the stored, the links, the way you would link to another book, so say the next thing series.
Brad West (13:04):
Yeah, yeah. So yeah, a few people will use Vellum for a while before they discover this feature, and it really comes into play as soon as you start thinking about stores other than Amazon, if you want to say distribute with Apple Books or Barnes and Noble, Google Play, Cobo, et cetera, or even if you just want to have something on your own website, selling direct is really big lately. It can be tricky to give a reader a link to your next book. And what you don't want to do is just drop a link to Amazon in there and then send that to Apple Books. You'll find out very quickly why that's wrong. They'll just completely reject your book. And so a unique thing about Vellum is for your ebook version, vellum is going to make multiple versions of your book. It's going to make a specialised version for Kindle and a specialised version for Apple Books, one for Cobo, et cetera.
(14:03):
And almost all of the content is going to be the same except for those links and a few other things. But those links are going to point to the correct store for each of those versions. So someone reading on Kindle, if they want to read book two in your series, they're going to go straight to Amazon, someone who is reading in Apple Books. A great thing about Apple Books is you don't jump out to a web browser and deal with this interface of the web. It's just a nice little popup buy right there. We see a lot of people get great read through on Apple Books for that reason. And the reason that can work so well is it's a direct link. It's going straight to the Apple bookstore. It's not bouncing the reader out where they have to choose where to go. And the way that works is when you're setting that up, when you give a link, you're not going to give just one link. You give a link for each destination and Vellum figures out which one should go where.
James Blatch (14:59):
Yeah, that's very easy to do when you're just putting in those details. And likewise, I think even if you are just with Amazon, it will geo link, right?
Brad West (15:09):
Yeah. So Amazon, a little twist is there's not just one Amazon store. There's amazon.com in the us there's amazon.co.uk, and Amazon can eventually get a reader to the right store, but it's always better to get them straight there. So the links that Vellum use will check where the reader is. And if they're in London, they'll go to amazon.co.uk. If they're in Austin, they'll go to amazon.com. If they're in Ontario, they'll go to amazon.ca.
James Blatch (15:43):
Yeah, perfect. Saves a lot of time. And another feature that I use a lot, particularly with Vinci Books, is things like the copyright page, where it is and what it looks like is different for me from Kindle to paperback, just because I think in the paperback people are going to see it in the Kindle. They probably won't. It tends to start you off at the beginning of the book. It doesn't matter so much what the table of contents et cetera look like. So the copyright page, I will do a specific one, and if you've got ISBNs, obviously you would want that copyright page potentially to be different anyway, but that's also something you can do. You sort of click on the page and say only in the print version or only in the Kindle version, you've only got one value file, but when you do the generating, it spits out all these different versions, which is perfect,
Brad West (16:25):
Right? Yeah. So that's one example. Another example is something like in your ebook, you might want a dedicated page that says, Hey, sign up for my newsletter. It has a lot of links in it and click here. Which obviously it would look ridiculous if you're seeing that in print. So you can make different versions of that book or just say, Hey, I only want this newsletter sign up in my ebook and in print. I'll just skip that.
James Blatch (16:50):
Yeah. Now, tell me something that I might not know about Vem. Is there some other hidden features?
Brad West (16:58):
Well, there's something that we released a few months ago that not everyone has gotten up to speed on with, and that is reusing elements. So if you are a first time author, you're going to set up things like you're also by page or you're about the author. As your career extends you, those pages are going to be modified over time. You're going to grow that library of also buy, and you might have say 10 books in your catalogue or 20 books in your catalogue. And keeping those all straight can be a little cumbersome. And so what we introduced at the end of 2023 was a way to say, oh, this is the also by page that I want to use in all my books. And whenever you need update that you can make that change in one place and automatically update all of your books.
(17:55):
And we designed it in a way to just be really general. So anytime you want to have something that you want to reuse somewhere else, we have a box set tool that authors can use. If they've got a series, they release book one, book two, book three, they can build a box set of that and sell that together. Well, what happens if a reader reports a typo in book two? You don't want to have to like, oh, remember, I've got to change it over here and over here. And when you build a box set, velum will keep links back to those original books. So if you make that correction in book two, your box set's going to get it as well. So that's been something that people have really, especially authors who've been building up that catalogue have really appreciated and use in really productive
James Blatch (18:44):
Ways. Wow. Well, you're right. I didn't know that. So there's quite a heavy user of veem, so that's great. Now, something that your colleague, hilariously also called Brad, came and talked to us about SPFA couple of years ago, were these plates, these illustrative plates, I guess mainly used at the beginning of chapters, but actually you could use them anywhere. And I'm thinking now with AI being an option for generating images a little more easily than we used to be able to and more inexpensively that could come into its own. Do you just want to just talk through that feature?
Brad West (19:20):
Sure. That's a feature we call heading Backgrounds, and it's a way to just bring a really dramatic entrance to the first page of a chapter. It can be a range of uses. We've seen really subtle backgrounds that are just kind of add a nice organic feel to a page or we see really high contrast, really dramatic pages, and you can actually flip the text to be white on black for that first page. Lots of different uses. You can have just one that establishes a theme for your whole book. If your book involves a beach setting, for example, you might want a beach background for each of those chapters. But we've also seen people use them for specific characters or POVs, and I think that's where for something like a beach, that's probably something we've heard from a lot of authors who find a good stock photo and use that and just drop that in and kind of make some adjustments to make it more subtle.
(20:24):
But something like character POVs, you might want illustrations and illustrations. Custom illustrations for your characters can be really cool, but they can also be really expensive to hire an illustrator. It's really time consuming to do that. And yeah, AI is something that can bring you some options if you get the right prompts for your characters or if you want to say, have some world building and show what this world looks like, that's something that you can use AI and use those as backgrounds or just full illustrations in your book. We've seen a lot of that for people either just stepping up their books or producing a special edition of their book that they might release after their initial publication.
James Blatch (21:16):
Yeah, fantastic. We saw some fantastic results and Brad demonstrated that to us a couple of years ago, and it got me thinking, it's on my to-do list somewhere to do like an REF rounder for my books, which I think would look great. And special editions, which you mentioned direct selling, I mean, that's a really big area at the moment, and most of us would probably with a bit of time think of things that could personalise a book, get a print version of it, and then sell them direct on our website. And it's a good way of doing that, a nice and easy, convenient way instead of us thinking, how on earth would I actually do that? Here is velum that will do it for you.
Brad West (21:54):
And there's really great options for selling direct that, I mean you've probably talked to with other people about this, but that don't actually involve housing a bunch of boxes of books in your closet. There's options for drop shipping or even if we hear from some authors who just list their special issues on Amazon and they don't have to deal with any of the logistics of delivery, but they still have this special version that some of their big time fans can purchase.
James Blatch (22:31):
Yeah, brilliant. Now you're always working on Venom. It surprised me. I was chatting to you and Brad at one of the conferences and I said, how often do you end up making changes to this software? It seems such a neat compact programme to me. And you guys were like, every day we're in there, we're in the code every day doing something, which amazes me, but you got big plans for the future, or is it tick perfecting?
Brad West (22:59):
It's always something. And yeah, we don't want to change everything and move everything around on people. We want to keep everything working how it does, but sometimes it's a lot of work to keep everything running. But when we are always making small changes, maybe make things a little bit faster or a little bit more efficient or work a little better on stores. And then we're always kind of thinking about larger things and we have so many different types of users, authors, nonfiction authors, fiction authors, formatters, small publishing houses that longtime authors, brand new authors. We try to even it out and balance things so that, okay, here's one for this group. And so our last release was added footnotes, which are used by a lot of different people, but really nonfiction are the people that were requesting that. And that's been great. One, a lot of nonfiction authors of biographies and histories and religious studies making use of footnotes, but we've hear fun things from fiction authors who are using footnotes for ways we didn't expect, and that's fun to hear. So I guess to answer your question, non-fiction is kind of what we focus on. We'll probably flip over to something maybe for the fiction, maybe something a little less serious in the future, but we're always talking to customers and hearing what works for them and what they want. And when we're at the next conference, we'll talk to people and hear some ideas. And that's really what guides us and where we go.
James Blatch (24:54):
And if people want to talk to you, you're going to be in London next month.
Brad West (24:57):
Yeah, we will be there. And that's always fun. It is a great mix of meeting brand new authors that we can tell about Vellum and just some of them have never formatted a book before so we can help explain what that process is, what it looks like. And then we love meeting customers who've been using Vellum for one, two, or three or some 10 years, love seeing what they've been producing with Vellum and just hearing from them. We have a lot of people just stop by and give us thumbs up and take a sticker, and that's fun too. Yeah,
James Blatch (25:38):
Definitely. How much is Venom and how does the pricing operate? Is it subscription or is it one-off
Brad West (25:45):
A one-time purchase and we have two options. We have some authors, it's fewer and fewer now who are ebook focused, and so we have a $200 price point if that's all you are interested in. But pretty much everyone now is working with both eBooks and print, and so that is $250 us. I can't remember the current pound conversion. That's fine. Yeah, it'll probably change by the time this airs. Yes, exactly.
James Blatch (26:14):
Yeah. And do you know why?
Brad West (26:16):
Yeah. And then the way it works is you can go to our website, you can download Vellum and use it, bring your book in, see how it looks. You can use it as long as you want to. There's, there's no time limit on that. The only thing that is disabled is the button that you use to generate those files, but everything else is available and whenever you're ready, you can make that purchase. We've had some people who have literally used it for about a year. Some people have actually written their book in Vellum, and they get to that point where they're finally ready to publish and then they send us an email and tell us, Hey, I'm so happy to finally give you some money. I'm going to be purchasing it. But yeah, we design it so people can really understand what they're getting into.
James Blatch (27:02):
Yeah, I was going to mention, you can write the book in Vellum. I mean actually there comes a point where we tend to have our Word document. It ends up on Word one way or another because most editors require words. So you end up with word and spacing and then you go back into ve, you go into Vem, into format. But from that point onwards, usually what happens in my world is that you update two files for typos, et cetera. You update the Vem file and the word file. But I'm starting to think Veem has been around a long time now. You're not disappearing anywhere tomorrow. I think you could exist in Veem and you can actually start in Vellum because it's a little bit like Scrivener. You can move the chapters around whilst you're writing. Do you know many people actually do write in Vellum.
Brad West (27:47):
It's not a tonne, but every conference we go to, we hear from someone and we've added some features for them. So one thing that you can do is if you start in Vellum, you write the whole thing, but as you mentioned, you need to get it edited. You need it to get it to an editor. You can export that out of Velum and into Word and send that to your editor. And the way we export it is in a format that is exactly what Velum is going to want when it comes back in, so the editor can make their changes and you can bring that back and develop and you won't lose any of your chapter divisions or anything like that. But yeah, we hear from 'em and they like a lot of people just seeing their book kind of magically appear on the right as they're writing. I just think that that's just a nice reward.
James Blatch (28:40):
It's motivating as
Brad West (28:41):
They're working. Yeah.
James Blatch (28:42):
Yeah, definitely. Another little thing I found out recently, we have some back catalogues where we haven't always got the word manuscript. In fact, in some cases we have no manuscript, but we publish the books at Vinci, which is awkward, and trying to convert the proof PDF you can download from Amazon, trying to convert that into where it's horrendously difficult. All the online pdf DF converters won't do it. It's full of all the author name stuff, but the one thing that does work is importing that converted word into Vellum, then exporting it as a Word document because your software seems to strip out a lot of the stuff that gets in the way. It's probably something that could be used nefariously by someone ping it, but actually legitimately, if you're trying to recover a manuscript, that export of word is surprisingly useful.
Brad West (29:30):
We basically, when things come in, because we know that this is how people work, everyone knows that they should be indicating there are new paragraphs by setting up a style with an indentation. Not everyone does it, or even if they do it, they're not always on it. They might do a tab sometimes or a space sometimes, and some people still have the habit of hitting two spaces. That's just being a human writer. And so that's part of what we do when we import that book is we are mainly looking for the content of that book. And just from that process, you do get something cleaner in and cleaner out because we're really only looking at that content. Yeah.
James Blatch (30:20):
Well, Brad, always a pleasure to catch up with you. And I say for me, formatting velum is like a reward for having written a book. It's the bit I really look forward to. It's a pleasurable thing. We forgot to mention. I think both of you guys come from a Pixar background, which is another really beautiful, aesthetically pleasing organisation that just creates stuff that looks great and that shows that for me, that shows through in the work you do.
Brad West (30:46):
Oh, thanks for saying that. Yeah, we spent about 15 years at Pixar, but we've been doing Vellum now for over 10 years, so been a big change, but it is been a fun different path to take. Well,
James Blatch (30:59):
We appreciate it, Brad, and I can't wait to see you and catch up in London.
Brad West (31:04):
Yes. Yeah, I can't wait. I'll see you there.
Speaker 1 (31:07):
This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.
James Blatch (31:11):
There you go. That is Brad West from Vellum. And if you're a Vellum user, you'll know why I feel so warm and fuzzy about that particular product. If you're not a Vellum user, it's probably because you're using a PC, because I think most people with Max probably do use Vellum at this stage to format their books and some useful tips there about the store links and so on inside ve if you're not already using those. Okay, so that is it for this week. Don't forget, Self-Publishing Launchpad opens for enrollment on Wednesday at 10:00 PM uk Learn Self-publishing dot com slash launchpad, and on that page you'll be able to see everything that's in the course. I'm going to send a couple of emails out at the beginning of next week that just outline exactly what the course is, what's in it, whether it's going to be suitable for you.
(32:01):
You can always ask us that question if you want. We'll give you an honest answer. Of course. And just to reiterate, we have our live conference in June, London South Bank. Hopefully the weather will be lovely. 25th and 26th of June, Tuesday and Wednesday. Do come and join us. Go learnselfpublishing.com/spslive. Right. Did you spot Robot James? I dunno how it's going to work on YouTube. I'm going to have to work hard to try and sync it with my voice on YouTube, but that's a task for me in the next few minutes. Okay, that's it. Thank you very much indeed. I shall speak to you next week. All that remains for me to say is a goodbye from me.
Speaker 1 (32:39):
Goodbye get show notes, the podcast archive and free resources to boost your writing career at self-publishing show.com. Join our thriving Facebook group at self-publishing show.com/facebook. Support the [email protected] slash self-Publishing show. And join us next week for more help and inspiration so that you can make your mark as a successful indie author. Publishing is changing. So get your words into the world and join the Revolution with the Self-Publishing Show Show.

SPS-425: Which Book Promo is Right For Me? with Mike Hourigan

In this weeks episode James speak to Mike Hourigan, Mike is one of the forces behind Written Word Media and a whole host of promotion brands that you might be familiar with, including our very own Hello Books

Show Notes

  • Who are Written Word Media?
  • What do WWM offer?
  • What are ‘promo stacks’?
  • Best practice and what options you have
  • WWM at the Self Publishing Show LIVE

Resources mentioned in this episode:

SPS LIVE 2024 GET YOUR TICKETS HERE

SPS LIVE 2024 DIGITAL TICKETS: Get your digital tickets here

PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Show’s Patreon page

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Speaker 1 (00:03):
Publishing is changing. No more gatekeepers, no more barriers, no one standing between you and your readers. This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.
James Blatch (00:19):
Hello and welcome to the Self-Publishing Show. It's me, James, and I'm going to be with you for this Friday. Coming up in a few moments time, we have an interview with one of the two Brads who founded and still to this day entirely by themselves run Vellum. The formatting of Brad West will be joining us. Now, I know Vellum is Mac only and some of you're pc, maybe most of you're pc. I guess. I dunno, a lot of authors do use Mac, but generally PCs are more popular, but so sorry about that. There is a way of using Vellum if you're on pc, but it is such an amazing bit of software. It's a joy to use in my opinion. I love the formatting stage of book production and if you are using Vellum, do listen because we talk about a couple of the features within Vellum that quite a few people don't use.
(01:11):
You might not even know they are there so worthwhile listening to Brad, he's such a lovely guy as well. We're talking about a bit of indie publishing generally. Okay, I have a couple of things to talk about before then. Now, last week I told you I was going to have a little play with 11 Labs, which is an AI voice generator so it can actually synthesise your voice. There are two ways of doing it, a kind of quick and dirty way, and then a more long term way, which you have to record 15 hours of your own voice, which is basically an entire novela. I was actually going to do that and I realised I would be recording my entire novela just to synthesise my voice to try and see what it would sound like if I got a synthesised version of me to do it.
(01:59):
Anyway, I did the quick and dirty one and somewhere in this podcast I'm going to use a bit of that voice instead of my voice and your job is to work out. If you can find out where that is, I will give you the answer next week, but I'll probably post a thread in the community group on Facebook so that you can have a guess if you want. I mean, hopefully it'll be really obvious because I don't think we want our voices to be a hundred percent synthesised at this stage. We always want it to sound as authors. I think we want it to sound like it's a human narrating our voice. Certainly a lot of you are voice actors and you do your own voice acting work, and so you will certainly be concerned about this. So keep listening, see if you can tell where it is or I have become the Robot James.
(02:41):
Right? A couple of other things to mention, A couple of course announcements. First of all, we are going to be opening Self-Publishing Launch Pad this Wednesday. It's the 22nd of May 10:00 PM UK time. So Self-Publishing Launchpad is the foundation course. It's the one that will get you established as an independent author. It's ideal for someone who's at the beginning of their career. So whether you're coming towards the end of your first book or you are on books two or three, but you haven't really got a good setup and main list and all the rest of it at this stage, it is the one for you and it'll get you into your first paid ads and reviews and so on. It's very comprehensive course. It's basically a collection of all the material that you can find around the web one place or another, but you don't really know if it's the best information and it takes you a long time to get there.
(03:24):
And if you're like me, you make a lot of mistakes without following a course like this. So it's one. We have a lot of testimonials on this course of how successful it's been and what a platform it's been for many people. So you can go and check that out. Learnselfpublishing.com/launchpad and that will be open from 10:00 PM on Wednesday. Another announcement, if you are on our Ads for Authors programme. If you're enrolled in ads for authors, we are going to have a Do-over of a couple of the significant courses there. So first of all, Facebook ads for authors. It's been a bit piecemeal over the last couple of years as they've changed a few aspects of the interface and they've introduced Advantage Plus, so the screens look a little bit different in some places. I did do quite lot of re-recording last year for this, but is a bit piecemeal, so we decided to redo the entire course and so my colleague Tom Ashford and I are going to be doing that.
(04:19):
So you'll get a brand new version of Facebook ads for authors later this year. We're hoping to have it by June, but there might be a bit of a tall order, so we will see when we can roll that out. And at the same time, we're also updating Amazon ads for authors, so Ricardo Fayet is taking the lead on that and that should be ready for June. So Amazon ads for authors, Facebook ads for authors. Two of the flagship courses within Ads for authors will be brand new in a couple of months time with everything up to date I should say about Facebook ads. I spend a lot of time in the Facebook ads interface and I've noticed a few people saying, oh, it's changed so much. Actually, I don't think it has changed that much. I think they've introduced Advantage Plus, which is a different way of doing things and definitely worth testing, but it's not the be all and end all.
(05:05):
Some other tutors out there are saying it is that you don't need to target anymore. That'll do it all for you. I'm not sure that's always the case. In fact, I'm certain it's not. However, the interface looks different because they really thrust Advantage Plus on you. So if you dunno what I'm talking about, basically you could go in and manually target where your ads are going to go and manually choose where they're going to be shown within the Facebook ads ecosystem or you can see all those decisions over to Advantage Plus, which uses Facebook's own knowledge to serve your ads to who and where it thinks will work best. It looks different, but actually it's slightly hidden, but if you click on edit or manual version switch over, all of the other stuff is there just underneath the surface. So the actual platform system hasn't changed that much at this stage.
(05:55):
Now sort of feels in the future they're going to take away those manual options, but we don't know that for sure. I kind of would be surprised if they did take them away completely. But anyway, advantage Price definitely worth using for now as a test alongside your targeted adverts, but you should understand how the system works from a manual targeting point of view. To start off with particularly placements, I think it's the one area Advantage Plus does not do well if you don't take over the placements of your Facebook ads, you allow Facebook to send them everywhere. They will be sent into places which are really no good for book sales and it's so tight for us. We need to optimise our ads so that we get the very best value for every dollar we spend. And you need to be focused on things like the Facebook newsfeed for an old audience.
(06:44):
Most of our audiences are older. Not all of you listening will have older audiences, but I certainly do the Facebook news feed, the Instagram newsfeed, add a push are very good once you get onto Marketplace and Reels and some of those ephemeral things that fleet and go and disappear, they're no good for an old audience, so you don't want to be surfing around. It's just wasted money and don't let Advantage Plus do that for you. You want to take over the placements and do those manually. Right? I think that's probably it for my rambling. It is time for us to listen to Brad West. Love the Brads who run Vellum over there in the us. They're going to be here in June at our conference, so you can come and meet them at our celebrities in the indie world. So here's Brad, I'll be back for a quick chat at the end of the interview.
Speaker 1 (07:30):
This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.
James Blatch (07:35):
Hello, Brad West from Vellum. Welcome back to the Self-Publishing Show. Great.
Brad West (07:40):
Hey, James. Thank you.
James Blatch (07:41):
Yeah, great to chat with you and longtime listeners of the show will know that I'm a user and a fan of Vellum. I just think it's a really wonderful bit of software and it's a pleasure to use and you do a great job, but there might be people listening who do not know what Vellum is, so you better start by explaining that.
Brad West (07:59):
Oh, okay. Yeah. Vellum is a software that you can use to take your manuscript and turn it into a book. So that's a process called formatting, and that's going to give you files for an ebook or for a print on demand. Basically take that word file that you've been staring at for a year or longer and actually turn it into something. You can publish software that you can use on your Mac. You try to make it as easy to use as possible and try to make something that you can really be proud of and feel like a book and get your book published. Yeah,
James Blatch (08:35):
I mean, it was 10 years for my first novel before I got the formatting stage, but I take your point, sometimes it is a year for fast people, sometimes it's a month for romance writers. You mentioned Mac, so we'll get this bit out the way at the beginning. It is software that runs on the Mac OS system. There is a way around it for PC users. There's something called Mac in the air, was it? Or Mac in the cloud or something?
Brad West (08:58):
Mac and Cloud, yeah. Yeah, it works for some people. It really is designed to work natively on your Mac. People who have Macs really appreciate that it's a desktop piece of software. It means you don't need an internet connection. You can use it anywhere you want. If you want to go to that fabled Writer's Cabin and Unplug, you can keep on using Vellum, but it is designed for Mac. Some people have used this software called Mac and Cloud, which gives you a virtual Mac that you can use and you can use it in there. And some people say that they're only using Vellum for a half hour, so it's not too bad, but it doesn't work for everyone. But it's suggesting out there, we have a help guide on our website for those who are interested in that.
James Blatch (09:45):
And the software itself is very aesthetically pleasing. It sort of fits into that whole, I think the Apple tradition of looking good. And my mouse is all probably, you might call it style over substance or form and function, but I think Apple and Apple have really perfected form and function, haven't they? Which is why they did so much. Yeah,
Brad West (10:04):
We try to follow that guy. I think the mouse is maybe not the example I would pick. That's probably the mass that you need to turn on its side to charge. Oh, yes,
James Blatch (10:12):
That is true. It is. Yeah,
Brad West (10:14):
So a little bit of style over substance, but yeah, we care about aesthetics at every level and we just want to, the biggest compliment we hear is people who have been looking at their Word file for one year or 10 years, they're just so excited to just see their book as a book, to see it with page numbers and headers and everything in there and just to be a part of that is something that we really enjoy.
James Blatch (10:43):
And that's the thing about the way it works. It's an old concept, which used to be knocking around when I was in computing in the eighties called what you see is what you Get Wise Z Wig, which doesn't always exist in the way that we format stuff. There are format options in a few of the bits of software people use, and often it's ticking a few boxes saying this is how you want it to come out and you press a button. It's a bit like compiling old code and then it spits out the final document, but Vem is not like that. You literally work with the pages almost turning the pages saying exactly what they look like. And I think that's really
Brad West (11:14):
Helpful and it's an interesting twist on what you see is what you get, because what you get can change, it will look a little bit different in your ebook and in print, and it will look a little bit different on a big iPad versus a small phone versus a black and white E Ink reader. And so that's part of Vellum two is showing you all of those answers for what you get. But yeah, really giving you a better idea of what that's going to be and allowing you to make changes and also just getting excited
James Blatch (11:49):
About it. And it's great that it looks and feels good because ultimately that's about the end product. Isn't everything dovetails here, it's important that our 10 years work or one year one month work is the formatting doesn't get in the way of the reader. It's got to be an elegant and easy experience. I think that's what, if you use your software correctly, I think that's what you end up with.
Brad West (12:13):
Yeah, for sure. And definitely making sure everything still works for eBooks, all the different ways that people can read eBooks. eBooks are interesting in that a reader can change to use their own font can change to make it much bigger and much smaller. Those are great from a reader's perspective that they can have something that works for how they like to read, but you want to make sure your ebook can adapt to that. So that's something we pay close attention to.
James Blatch (12:42):
Now for people who aren't using Vellum or thinking about using it, let's talk about a few of the things. I think there are quite a few features in there, less well-known and less well used that are actually very useful. Perhaps you'll know some that I probably don't know, but why don't we start with things like the stored, the links, the way you would link to another book, so say the next thing series.
Brad West (13:04):
Yeah, yeah. So yeah, a few people will use Vellum for a while before they discover this feature, and it really comes into play as soon as you start thinking about stores other than Amazon, if you want to say distribute with Apple Books or Barnes and Noble, Google Play, Cobo, et cetera, or even if you just want to have something on your own website, selling direct is really big lately. It can be tricky to give a reader a link to your next book. And what you don't want to do is just drop a link to Amazon in there and then send that to Apple Books. You'll find out very quickly why that's wrong. They'll just completely reject your book. And so a unique thing about Vellum is for your ebook version, vellum is going to make multiple versions of your book. It's going to make a specialised version for Kindle and a specialised version for Apple Books, one for Cobo, et cetera.
(14:03):
And almost all of the content is going to be the same except for those links and a few other things. But those links are going to point to the correct store for each of those versions. So someone reading on Kindle, if they want to read book two in your series, they're going to go straight to Amazon, someone who is reading in Apple Books. A great thing about Apple Books is you don't jump out to a web browser and deal with this interface of the web. It's just a nice little popup buy right there. We see a lot of people get great read through on Apple Books for that reason. And the reason that can work so well is it's a direct link. It's going straight to the Apple bookstore. It's not bouncing the reader out where they have to choose where to go. And the way that works is when you're setting that up, when you give a link, you're not going to give just one link. You give a link for each destination and Vellum figures out which one should go where.
James Blatch (14:59):
Yeah, that's very easy to do when you're just putting in those details. And likewise, I think even if you are just with Amazon, it will geo link, right?
Brad West (15:09):
Yeah. So Amazon, a little twist is there's not just one Amazon store. There's amazon.com in the us there's amazon.co.uk, and Amazon can eventually get a reader to the right store, but it's always better to get them straight there. So the links that Vellum use will check where the reader is. And if they're in London, they'll go to amazon.co.uk. If they're in Austin, they'll go to amazon.com. If they're in Ontario, they'll go to amazon.ca.
James Blatch (15:43):
Yeah, perfect. Saves a lot of time. And another feature that I use a lot, particularly with Vinci Books, is things like the copyright page, where it is and what it looks like is different for me from Kindle to paperback, just because I think in the paperback people are going to see it in the Kindle. They probably won't. It tends to start you off at the beginning of the book. It doesn't matter so much what the table of contents et cetera look like. So the copyright page, I will do a specific one, and if you've got ISBNs, obviously you would want that copyright page potentially to be different anyway, but that's also something you can do. You sort of click on the page and say only in the print version or only in the Kindle version, you've only got one value file, but when you do the generating, it spits out all these different versions, which is perfect,
Brad West (16:25):
Right? Yeah. So that's one example. Another example is something like in your ebook, you might want a dedicated page that says, Hey, sign up for my newsletter. It has a lot of links in it and click here. Which obviously it would look ridiculous if you're seeing that in print. So you can make different versions of that book or just say, Hey, I only want this newsletter sign up in my ebook and in print. I'll just skip that.
James Blatch (16:50):
Yeah. Now, tell me something that I might not know about Vem. Is there some other hidden features?
Brad West (16:58):
Well, there's something that we released a few months ago that not everyone has gotten up to speed on with, and that is reusing elements. So if you are a first time author, you're going to set up things like you're also by page or you're about the author. As your career extends you, those pages are going to be modified over time. You're going to grow that library of also buy, and you might have say 10 books in your catalogue or 20 books in your catalogue. And keeping those all straight can be a little cumbersome. And so what we introduced at the end of 2023 was a way to say, oh, this is the also by page that I want to use in all my books. And whenever you need update that you can make that change in one place and automatically update all of your books.
(17:55):
And we designed it in a way to just be really general. So anytime you want to have something that you want to reuse somewhere else, we have a box set tool that authors can use. If they've got a series, they release book one, book two, book three, they can build a box set of that and sell that together. Well, what happens if a reader reports a typo in book two? You don't want to have to like, oh, remember, I've got to change it over here and over here. And when you build a box set, velum will keep links back to those original books. So if you make that correction in book two, your box set's going to get it as well. So that's been something that people have really, especially authors who've been building up that catalogue have really appreciated and use in really productive
James Blatch (18:44):
Ways. Wow. Well, you're right. I didn't know that. So there's quite a heavy user of veem, so that's great. Now, something that your colleague, hilariously also called Brad, came and talked to us about SPFA couple of years ago, were these plates, these illustrative plates, I guess mainly used at the beginning of chapters, but actually you could use them anywhere. And I'm thinking now with AI being an option for generating images a little more easily than we used to be able to and more inexpensively that could come into its own. Do you just want to just talk through that feature?
Brad West (19:20):
Sure. That's a feature we call heading Backgrounds, and it's a way to just bring a really dramatic entrance to the first page of a chapter. It can be a range of uses. We've seen really subtle backgrounds that are just kind of add a nice organic feel to a page or we see really high contrast, really dramatic pages, and you can actually flip the text to be white on black for that first page. Lots of different uses. You can have just one that establishes a theme for your whole book. If your book involves a beach setting, for example, you might want a beach background for each of those chapters. But we've also seen people use them for specific characters or POVs, and I think that's where for something like a beach, that's probably something we've heard from a lot of authors who find a good stock photo and use that and just drop that in and kind of make some adjustments to make it more subtle.
(20:24):
But something like character POVs, you might want illustrations and illustrations. Custom illustrations for your characters can be really cool, but they can also be really expensive to hire an illustrator. It's really time consuming to do that. And yeah, AI is something that can bring you some options if you get the right prompts for your characters or if you want to say, have some world building and show what this world looks like, that's something that you can use AI and use those as backgrounds or just full illustrations in your book. We've seen a lot of that for people either just stepping up their books or producing a special edition of their book that they might release after their initial publication.
James Blatch (21:16):
Yeah, fantastic. We saw some fantastic results and Brad demonstrated that to us a couple of years ago, and it got me thinking, it's on my to-do list somewhere to do like an REF rounder for my books, which I think would look great. And special editions, which you mentioned direct selling, I mean, that's a really big area at the moment, and most of us would probably with a bit of time think of things that could personalise a book, get a print version of it, and then sell them direct on our website. And it's a good way of doing that, a nice and easy, convenient way instead of us thinking, how on earth would I actually do that? Here is velum that will do it for you.
Brad West (21:54):
And there's really great options for selling direct that, I mean you've probably talked to with other people about this, but that don't actually involve housing a bunch of boxes of books in your closet. There's options for drop shipping or even if we hear from some authors who just list their special issues on Amazon and they don't have to deal with any of the logistics of delivery, but they still have this special version that some of their big time fans can purchase.
James Blatch (22:31):
Yeah, brilliant. Now you're always working on Venom. It surprised me. I was chatting to you and Brad at one of the conferences and I said, how often do you end up making changes to this software? It seems such a neat compact programme to me. And you guys were like, every day we're in there, we're in the code every day doing something, which amazes me, but you got big plans for the future, or is it tick perfecting?
Brad West (22:59):
It's always something. And yeah, we don't want to change everything and move everything around on people. We want to keep everything working how it does, but sometimes it's a lot of work to keep everything running. But when we are always making small changes, maybe make things a little bit faster or a little bit more efficient or work a little better on stores. And then we're always kind of thinking about larger things and we have so many different types of users, authors, nonfiction authors, fiction authors, formatters, small publishing houses that longtime authors, brand new authors. We try to even it out and balance things so that, okay, here's one for this group. And so our last release was added footnotes, which are used by a lot of different people, but really nonfiction are the people that were requesting that. And that's been great. One, a lot of nonfiction authors of biographies and histories and religious studies making use of footnotes, but we've hear fun things from fiction authors who are using footnotes for ways we didn't expect, and that's fun to hear. So I guess to answer your question, non-fiction is kind of what we focus on. We'll probably flip over to something maybe for the fiction, maybe something a little less serious in the future, but we're always talking to customers and hearing what works for them and what they want. And when we're at the next conference, we'll talk to people and hear some ideas. And that's really what guides us and where we go.
James Blatch (24:54):
And if people want to talk to you, you're going to be in London next month.
Brad West (24:57):
Yeah, we will be there. And that's always fun. It is a great mix of meeting brand new authors that we can tell about Vellum and just some of them have never formatted a book before so we can help explain what that process is, what it looks like. And then we love meeting customers who've been using Vellum for one, two, or three or some 10 years, love seeing what they've been producing with Vellum and just hearing from them. We have a lot of people just stop by and give us thumbs up and take a sticker, and that's fun too. Yeah,
James Blatch (25:38):
Definitely. How much is Venom and how does the pricing operate? Is it subscription or is it one-off
Brad West (25:45):
A one-time purchase and we have two options. We have some authors, it's fewer and fewer now who are ebook focused, and so we have a $200 price point if that's all you are interested in. But pretty much everyone now is working with both eBooks and print, and so that is $250 us. I can't remember the current pound conversion. That's fine. Yeah, it'll probably change by the time this airs. Yes, exactly.
James Blatch (26:14):
Yeah. And do you know why?
Brad West (26:16):
Yeah. And then the way it works is you can go to our website, you can download Vellum and use it, bring your book in, see how it looks. You can use it as long as you want to. There's, there's no time limit on that. The only thing that is disabled is the button that you use to generate those files, but everything else is available and whenever you're ready, you can make that purchase. We've had some people who have literally used it for about a year. Some people have actually written their book in Vellum, and they get to that point where they're finally ready to publish and then they send us an email and tell us, Hey, I'm so happy to finally give you some money. I'm going to be purchasing it. But yeah, we design it so people can really understand what they're getting into.
James Blatch (27:02):
Yeah, I was going to mention, you can write the book in Vellum. I mean actually there comes a point where we tend to have our Word document. It ends up on Word one way or another because most editors require words. So you end up with word and spacing and then you go back into ve, you go into Vem, into format. But from that point onwards, usually what happens in my world is that you update two files for typos, et cetera. You update the Vem file and the word file. But I'm starting to think Veem has been around a long time now. You're not disappearing anywhere tomorrow. I think you could exist in Veem and you can actually start in Vellum because it's a little bit like Scrivener. You can move the chapters around whilst you're writing. Do you know many people actually do write in Vellum.
Brad West (27:47):
It's not a tonne, but every conference we go to, we hear from someone and we've added some features for them. So one thing that you can do is if you start in Vellum, you write the whole thing, but as you mentioned, you need to get it edited. You need it to get it to an editor. You can export that out of Velum and into Word and send that to your editor. And the way we export it is in a format that is exactly what Velum is going to want when it comes back in, so the editor can make their changes and you can bring that back and develop and you won't lose any of your chapter divisions or anything like that. But yeah, we hear from 'em and they like a lot of people just seeing their book kind of magically appear on the right as they're writing. I just think that that's just a nice reward.
James Blatch (28:40):
It's motivating as
Brad West (28:41):
They're working. Yeah.
James Blatch (28:42):
Yeah, definitely. Another little thing I found out recently, we have some back catalogues where we haven't always got the word manuscript. In fact, in some cases we have no manuscript, but we publish the books at Vinci, which is awkward, and trying to convert the proof PDF you can download from Amazon, trying to convert that into where it's horrendously difficult. All the online pdf DF converters won't do it. It's full of all the author name stuff, but the one thing that does work is importing that converted word into Vellum, then exporting it as a Word document because your software seems to strip out a lot of the stuff that gets in the way. It's probably something that could be used nefariously by someone ping it, but actually legitimately, if you're trying to recover a manuscript, that export of word is surprisingly useful.
Brad West (29:30):
We basically, when things come in, because we know that this is how people work, everyone knows that they should be indicating there are new paragraphs by setting up a style with an indentation. Not everyone does it, or even if they do it, they're not always on it. They might do a tab sometimes or a space sometimes, and some people still have the habit of hitting two spaces. That's just being a human writer. And so that's part of what we do when we import that book is we are mainly looking for the content of that book. And just from that process, you do get something cleaner in and cleaner out because we're really only looking at that content. Yeah.
James Blatch (30:20):
Well, Brad, always a pleasure to catch up with you. And I say for me, formatting velum is like a reward for having written a book. It's the bit I really look forward to. It's a pleasurable thing. We forgot to mention. I think both of you guys come from a Pixar background, which is another really beautiful, aesthetically pleasing organisation that just creates stuff that looks great and that shows that for me, that shows through in the work you do.
Brad West (30:46):
Oh, thanks for saying that. Yeah, we spent about 15 years at Pixar, but we've been doing Vellum now for over 10 years, so been a big change, but it is been a fun different path to take. Well,
James Blatch (30:59):
We appreciate it, Brad, and I can't wait to see you and catch up in London.
Brad West (31:04):
Yes. Yeah, I can't wait. I'll see you there.
Speaker 1 (31:07):
This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.
James Blatch (31:11):
There you go. That is Brad West from Vellum. And if you're a Vellum user, you'll know why I feel so warm and fuzzy about that particular product. If you're not a Vellum user, it's probably because you're using a PC, because I think most people with Max probably do use Vellum at this stage to format their books and some useful tips there about the store links and so on inside ve if you're not already using those. Okay, so that is it for this week. Don't forget, Self-Publishing Launchpad opens for enrollment on Wednesday at 10:00 PM uk Learn Self-publishing dot com slash launchpad, and on that page you'll be able to see everything that's in the course. I'm going to send a couple of emails out at the beginning of next week that just outline exactly what the course is, what's in it, whether it's going to be suitable for you.
(32:01):
You can always ask us that question if you want. We'll give you an honest answer. Of course. And just to reiterate, we have our live conference in June, London South Bank. Hopefully the weather will be lovely. 25th and 26th of June, Tuesday and Wednesday. Do come and join us. Go learnselfpublishing.com/spslive. Right. Did you spot Robot James? I dunno how it's going to work on YouTube. I'm going to have to work hard to try and sync it with my voice on YouTube, but that's a task for me in the next few minutes. Okay, that's it. Thank you very much indeed. I shall speak to you next week. All that remains for me to say is a goodbye from me.
Speaker 1 (32:39):
Goodbye get show notes, the podcast archive and free resources to boost your writing career at self-publishing show.com. Join our thriving Facebook group at self-publishing show.com/facebook. Support the [email protected] slash self-Publishing show. And join us next week for more help and inspiration so that you can make your mark as a successful indie author. Publishing is changing. So get your words into the world and join the Revolution with the Self-Publishing Show Show.

SPS- 424:What’s the big deal about Romantasy? With Alex Newton

Join James and the numbers man, Alex Newton from K-lytics who digs beneath the Romantasy data and explains current trends.

Show Notes

Show notes:
– Trends and longer trending genres
– What is the Romantasy genre?
– What does the K-Lytics report on Romantasy include
– Other genre data
– German markets

Resources mentioned in this episode:

SPS LIVE 2024 TICKETS – GET THEM HERE!

PATREON: Self Publishing Formula Show’s Patreon page

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Speaker 1 (00:03):
Publishing is changing. No more gatekeepers, no more barriers, no one standing between you and your readers. This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.
James Blatch (00:19):
Hello and welcome to the Self-Publishing Show. It's me, James, and I'm going to be with you for this Friday. Coming up in a few moments time, we have an interview with one of the two Brads who founded and still to this day entirely by themselves run Vellum. The formatting of Brad West will be joining us. Now, I know Vellum is Mac only and some of you're pc, maybe most of you're pc. I guess. I dunno, a lot of authors do use Mac, but generally PCs are more popular, but so sorry about that. There is a way of using Vellum if you're on pc, but it is such an amazing bit of software. It's a joy to use in my opinion. I love the formatting stage of book production and if you are using Vellum, do listen because we talk about a couple of the features within Vellum that quite a few people don't use.
(01:11):
You might not even know they are there so worthwhile listening to Brad, he's such a lovely guy as well. We're talking about a bit of indie publishing generally. Okay, I have a couple of things to talk about before then. Now, last week I told you I was going to have a little play with 11 Labs, which is an AI voice generator so it can actually synthesise your voice. There are two ways of doing it, a kind of quick and dirty way, and then a more long term way, which you have to record 15 hours of your own voice, which is basically an entire novela. I was actually going to do that and I realised I would be recording my entire novela just to synthesise my voice to try and see what it would sound like if I got a synthesised version of me to do it.
(01:59):
Anyway, I did the quick and dirty one and somewhere in this podcast I'm going to use a bit of that voice instead of my voice and your job is to work out. If you can find out where that is, I will give you the answer next week, but I'll probably post a thread in the community group on Facebook so that you can have a guess if you want. I mean, hopefully it'll be really obvious because I don't think we want our voices to be a hundred percent synthesised at this stage. We always want it to sound as authors. I think we want it to sound like it's a human narrating our voice. Certainly a lot of you are voice actors and you do your own voice acting work, and so you will certainly be concerned about this. So keep listening, see if you can tell where it is or I have become the Robot James.
(02:41):
Right? A couple of other things to mention, A couple of course announcements. First of all, we are going to be opening Self-Publishing Launch Pad this Wednesday. It's the 22nd of May 10:00 PM UK time. So Self-Publishing Launchpad is the foundation course. It's the one that will get you established as an independent author. It's ideal for someone who's at the beginning of their career. So whether you're coming towards the end of your first book or you are on books two or three, but you haven't really got a good setup and main list and all the rest of it at this stage, it is the one for you and it'll get you into your first paid ads and reviews and so on. It's very comprehensive course. It's basically a collection of all the material that you can find around the web one place or another, but you don't really know if it's the best information and it takes you a long time to get there.
(03:24):
And if you're like me, you make a lot of mistakes without following a course like this. So it's one. We have a lot of testimonials on this course of how successful it's been and what a platform it's been for many people. So you can go and check that out. Learnselfpublishing.com/launchpad and that will be open from 10:00 PM on Wednesday. Another announcement, if you are on our Ads for Authors programme. If you're enrolled in ads for authors, we are going to have a Do-over of a couple of the significant courses there. So first of all, Facebook ads for authors. It's been a bit piecemeal over the last couple of years as they've changed a few aspects of the interface and they've introduced Advantage Plus, so the screens look a little bit different in some places. I did do quite lot of re-recording last year for this, but is a bit piecemeal, so we decided to redo the entire course and so my colleague Tom Ashford and I are going to be doing that.
(04:19):
So you'll get a brand new version of Facebook ads for authors later this year. We're hoping to have it by June, but there might be a bit of a tall order, so we will see when we can roll that out. And at the same time, we're also updating Amazon ads for authors, so Ricardo Fayet is taking the lead on that and that should be ready for June. So Amazon ads for authors, Facebook ads for authors. Two of the flagship courses within Ads for authors will be brand new in a couple of months time with everything up to date I should say about Facebook ads. I spend a lot of time in the Facebook ads interface and I've noticed a few people saying, oh, it's changed so much. Actually, I don't think it has changed that much. I think they've introduced Advantage Plus, which is a different way of doing things and definitely worth testing, but it's not the be all and end all.
(05:05):
Some other tutors out there are saying it is that you don't need to target anymore. That'll do it all for you. I'm not sure that's always the case. In fact, I'm certain it's not. However, the interface looks different because they really thrust Advantage Plus on you. So if you dunno what I'm talking about, basically you could go in and manually target where your ads are going to go and manually choose where they're going to be shown within the Facebook ads ecosystem or you can see all those decisions over to Advantage Plus, which uses Facebook's own knowledge to serve your ads to who and where it thinks will work best. It looks different, but actually it's slightly hidden, but if you click on edit or manual version switch over, all of the other stuff is there just underneath the surface. So the actual platform system hasn't changed that much at this stage.
(05:55):
Now sort of feels in the future they're going to take away those manual options, but we don't know that for sure. I kind of would be surprised if they did take them away completely. But anyway, advantage Price definitely worth using for now as a test alongside your targeted adverts, but you should understand how the system works from a manual targeting point of view. To start off with particularly placements, I think it's the one area Advantage Plus does not do well if you don't take over the placements of your Facebook ads, you allow Facebook to send them everywhere. They will be sent into places which are really no good for book sales and it's so tight for us. We need to optimise our ads so that we get the very best value for every dollar we spend. And you need to be focused on things like the Facebook newsfeed for an old audience.
(06:44):
Most of our audiences are older. Not all of you listening will have older audiences, but I certainly do the Facebook news feed, the Instagram newsfeed, add a push are very good once you get onto Marketplace and Reels and some of those ephemeral things that fleet and go and disappear, they're no good for an old audience, so you don't want to be surfing around. It's just wasted money and don't let Advantage Plus do that for you. You want to take over the placements and do those manually. Right? I think that's probably it for my rambling. It is time for us to listen to Brad West. Love the Brads who run Vellum over there in the us. They're going to be here in June at our conference, so you can come and meet them at our celebrities in the indie world. So here's Brad, I'll be back for a quick chat at the end of the interview.
Speaker 1 (07:30):
This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.
James Blatch (07:35):
Hello, Brad West from Vellum. Welcome back to the Self-Publishing Show. Great.
Brad West (07:40):
Hey, James. Thank you.
James Blatch (07:41):
Yeah, great to chat with you and longtime listeners of the show will know that I'm a user and a fan of Vellum. I just think it's a really wonderful bit of software and it's a pleasure to use and you do a great job, but there might be people listening who do not know what Vellum is, so you better start by explaining that.
Brad West (07:59):
Oh, okay. Yeah. Vellum is a software that you can use to take your manuscript and turn it into a book. So that's a process called formatting, and that's going to give you files for an ebook or for a print on demand. Basically take that word file that you've been staring at for a year or longer and actually turn it into something. You can publish software that you can use on your Mac. You try to make it as easy to use as possible and try to make something that you can really be proud of and feel like a book and get your book published. Yeah,
James Blatch (08:35):
I mean, it was 10 years for my first novel before I got the formatting stage, but I take your point, sometimes it is a year for fast people, sometimes it's a month for romance writers. You mentioned Mac, so we'll get this bit out the way at the beginning. It is software that runs on the Mac OS system. There is a way around it for PC users. There's something called Mac in the air, was it? Or Mac in the cloud or something?
Brad West (08:58):
Mac and Cloud, yeah. Yeah, it works for some people. It really is designed to work natively on your Mac. People who have Macs really appreciate that it's a desktop piece of software. It means you don't need an internet connection. You can use it anywhere you want. If you want to go to that fabled Writer's Cabin and Unplug, you can keep on using Vellum, but it is designed for Mac. Some people have used this software called Mac and Cloud, which gives you a virtual Mac that you can use and you can use it in there. And some people say that they're only using Vellum for a half hour, so it's not too bad, but it doesn't work for everyone. But it's suggesting out there, we have a help guide on our website for those who are interested in that.
James Blatch (09:45):
And the software itself is very aesthetically pleasing. It sort of fits into that whole, I think the Apple tradition of looking good. And my mouse is all probably, you might call it style over substance or form and function, but I think Apple and Apple have really perfected form and function, haven't they? Which is why they did so much. Yeah,
Brad West (10:04):
We try to follow that guy. I think the mouse is maybe not the example I would pick. That's probably the mass that you need to turn on its side to charge. Oh, yes,
James Blatch (10:12):
That is true. It is. Yeah,
Brad West (10:14):
So a little bit of style over substance, but yeah, we care about aesthetics at every level and we just want to, the biggest compliment we hear is people who have been looking at their Word file for one year or 10 years, they're just so excited to just see their book as a book, to see it with page numbers and headers and everything in there and just to be a part of that is something that we really enjoy.
James Blatch (10:43):
And that's the thing about the way it works. It's an old concept, which used to be knocking around when I was in computing in the eighties called what you see is what you Get Wise Z Wig, which doesn't always exist in the way that we format stuff. There are format options in a few of the bits of software people use, and often it's ticking a few boxes saying this is how you want it to come out and you press a button. It's a bit like compiling old code and then it spits out the final document, but Vem is not like that. You literally work with the pages almost turning the pages saying exactly what they look like. And I think that's really
Brad West (11:14):
Helpful and it's an interesting twist on what you see is what you get, because what you get can change, it will look a little bit different in your ebook and in print, and it will look a little bit different on a big iPad versus a small phone versus a black and white E Ink reader. And so that's part of Vellum two is showing you all of those answers for what you get. But yeah, really giving you a better idea of what that's going to be and allowing you to make changes and also just getting excited
James Blatch (11:49):
About it. And it's great that it looks and feels good because ultimately that's about the end product. Isn't everything dovetails here, it's important that our 10 years work or one year one month work is the formatting doesn't get in the way of the reader. It's got to be an elegant and easy experience. I think that's what, if you use your software correctly, I think that's what you end up with.
Brad West (12:13):
Yeah, for sure. And definitely making sure everything still works for eBooks, all the different ways that people can read eBooks. eBooks are interesting in that a reader can change to use their own font can change to make it much bigger and much smaller. Those are great from a reader's perspective that they can have something that works for how they like to read, but you want to make sure your ebook can adapt to that. So that's something we pay close attention to.
James Blatch (12:42):
Now for people who aren't using Vellum or thinking about using it, let's talk about a few of the things. I think there are quite a few features in there, less well-known and less well used that are actually very useful. Perhaps you'll know some that I probably don't know, but why don't we start with things like the stored, the links, the way you would link to another book, so say the next thing series.
Brad West (13:04):
Yeah, yeah. So yeah, a few people will use Vellum for a while before they discover this feature, and it really comes into play as soon as you start thinking about stores other than Amazon, if you want to say distribute with Apple Books or Barnes and Noble, Google Play, Cobo, et cetera, or even if you just want to have something on your own website, selling direct is really big lately. It can be tricky to give a reader a link to your next book. And what you don't want to do is just drop a link to Amazon in there and then send that to Apple Books. You'll find out very quickly why that's wrong. They'll just completely reject your book. And so a unique thing about Vellum is for your ebook version, vellum is going to make multiple versions of your book. It's going to make a specialised version for Kindle and a specialised version for Apple Books, one for Cobo, et cetera.
(14:03):
And almost all of the content is going to be the same except for those links and a few other things. But those links are going to point to the correct store for each of those versions. So someone reading on Kindle, if they want to read book two in your series, they're going to go straight to Amazon, someone who is reading in Apple Books. A great thing about Apple Books is you don't jump out to a web browser and deal with this interface of the web. It's just a nice little popup buy right there. We see a lot of people get great read through on Apple Books for that reason. And the reason that can work so well is it's a direct link. It's going straight to the Apple bookstore. It's not bouncing the reader out where they have to choose where to go. And the way that works is when you're setting that up, when you give a link, you're not going to give just one link. You give a link for each destination and Vellum figures out which one should go where.
James Blatch (14:59):
Yeah, that's very easy to do when you're just putting in those details. And likewise, I think even if you are just with Amazon, it will geo link, right?
Brad West (15:09):
Yeah. So Amazon, a little twist is there's not just one Amazon store. There's amazon.com in the us there's amazon.co.uk, and Amazon can eventually get a reader to the right store, but it's always better to get them straight there. So the links that Vellum use will check where the reader is. And if they're in London, they'll go to amazon.co.uk. If they're in Austin, they'll go to amazon.com. If they're in Ontario, they'll go to amazon.ca.
James Blatch (15:43):
Yeah, perfect. Saves a lot of time. And another feature that I use a lot, particularly with Vinci Books, is things like the copyright page, where it is and what it looks like is different for me from Kindle to paperback, just because I think in the paperback people are going to see it in the Kindle. They probably won't. It tends to start you off at the beginning of the book. It doesn't matter so much what the table of contents et cetera look like. So the copyright page, I will do a specific one, and if you've got ISBNs, obviously you would want that copyright page potentially to be different anyway, but that's also something you can do. You sort of click on the page and say only in the print version or only in the Kindle version, you've only got one value file, but when you do the generating, it spits out all these different versions, which is perfect,
Brad West (16:25):
Right? Yeah. So that's one example. Another example is something like in your ebook, you might want a dedicated page that says, Hey, sign up for my newsletter. It has a lot of links in it and click here. Which obviously it would look ridiculous if you're seeing that in print. So you can make different versions of that book or just say, Hey, I only want this newsletter sign up in my ebook and in print. I'll just skip that.
James Blatch (16:50):
Yeah. Now, tell me something that I might not know about Vem. Is there some other hidden features?
Brad West (16:58):
Well, there's something that we released a few months ago that not everyone has gotten up to speed on with, and that is reusing elements. So if you are a first time author, you're going to set up things like you're also by page or you're about the author. As your career extends you, those pages are going to be modified over time. You're going to grow that library of also buy, and you might have say 10 books in your catalogue or 20 books in your catalogue. And keeping those all straight can be a little cumbersome. And so what we introduced at the end of 2023 was a way to say, oh, this is the also by page that I want to use in all my books. And whenever you need update that you can make that change in one place and automatically update all of your books.
(17:55):
And we designed it in a way to just be really general. So anytime you want to have something that you want to reuse somewhere else, we have a box set tool that authors can use. If they've got a series, they release book one, book two, book three, they can build a box set of that and sell that together. Well, what happens if a reader reports a typo in book two? You don't want to have to like, oh, remember, I've got to change it over here and over here. And when you build a box set, velum will keep links back to those original books. So if you make that correction in book two, your box set's going to get it as well. So that's been something that people have really, especially authors who've been building up that catalogue have really appreciated and use in really productive
James Blatch (18:44):
Ways. Wow. Well, you're right. I didn't know that. So there's quite a heavy user of veem, so that's great. Now, something that your colleague, hilariously also called Brad, came and talked to us about SPFA couple of years ago, were these plates, these illustrative plates, I guess mainly used at the beginning of chapters, but actually you could use them anywhere. And I'm thinking now with AI being an option for generating images a little more easily than we used to be able to and more inexpensively that could come into its own. Do you just want to just talk through that feature?
Brad West (19:20):
Sure. That's a feature we call heading Backgrounds, and it's a way to just bring a really dramatic entrance to the first page of a chapter. It can be a range of uses. We've seen really subtle backgrounds that are just kind of add a nice organic feel to a page or we see really high contrast, really dramatic pages, and you can actually flip the text to be white on black for that first page. Lots of different uses. You can have just one that establishes a theme for your whole book. If your book involves a beach setting, for example, you might want a beach background for each of those chapters. But we've also seen people use them for specific characters or POVs, and I think that's where for something like a beach, that's probably something we've heard from a lot of authors who find a good stock photo and use that and just drop that in and kind of make some adjustments to make it more subtle.
(20:24):
But something like character POVs, you might want illustrations and illustrations. Custom illustrations for your characters can be really cool, but they can also be really expensive to hire an illustrator. It's really time consuming to do that. And yeah, AI is something that can bring you some options if you get the right prompts for your characters or if you want to say, have some world building and show what this world looks like, that's something that you can use AI and use those as backgrounds or just full illustrations in your book. We've seen a lot of that for people either just stepping up their books or producing a special edition of their book that they might release after their initial publication.
James Blatch (21:16):
Yeah, fantastic. We saw some fantastic results and Brad demonstrated that to us a couple of years ago, and it got me thinking, it's on my to-do list somewhere to do like an REF rounder for my books, which I think would look great. And special editions, which you mentioned direct selling, I mean, that's a really big area at the moment, and most of us would probably with a bit of time think of things that could personalise a book, get a print version of it, and then sell them direct on our website. And it's a good way of doing that, a nice and easy, convenient way instead of us thinking, how on earth would I actually do that? Here is velum that will do it for you.
Brad West (21:54):
And there's really great options for selling direct that, I mean you've probably talked to with other people about this, but that don't actually involve housing a bunch of boxes of books in your closet. There's options for drop shipping or even if we hear from some authors who just list their special issues on Amazon and they don't have to deal with any of the logistics of delivery, but they still have this special version that some of their big time fans can purchase.
James Blatch (22:31):
Yeah, brilliant. Now you're always working on Venom. It surprised me. I was chatting to you and Brad at one of the conferences and I said, how often do you end up making changes to this software? It seems such a neat compact programme to me. And you guys were like, every day we're in there, we're in the code every day doing something, which amazes me, but you got big plans for the future, or is it tick perfecting?
Brad West (22:59):
It's always something. And yeah, we don't want to change everything and move everything around on people. We want to keep everything working how it does, but sometimes it's a lot of work to keep everything running. But when we are always making small changes, maybe make things a little bit faster or a little bit more efficient or work a little better on stores. And then we're always kind of thinking about larger things and we have so many different types of users, authors, nonfiction authors, fiction authors, formatters, small publishing houses that longtime authors, brand new authors. We try to even it out and balance things so that, okay, here's one for this group. And so our last release was added footnotes, which are used by a lot of different people, but really nonfiction are the people that were requesting that. And that's been great. One, a lot of nonfiction authors of biographies and histories and religious studies making use of footnotes, but we've hear fun things from fiction authors who are using footnotes for ways we didn't expect, and that's fun to hear. So I guess to answer your question, non-fiction is kind of what we focus on. We'll probably flip over to something maybe for the fiction, maybe something a little less serious in the future, but we're always talking to customers and hearing what works for them and what they want. And when we're at the next conference, we'll talk to people and hear some ideas. And that's really what guides us and where we go.
James Blatch (24:54):
And if people want to talk to you, you're going to be in London next month.
Brad West (24:57):
Yeah, we will be there. And that's always fun. It is a great mix of meeting brand new authors that we can tell about Vellum and just some of them have never formatted a book before so we can help explain what that process is, what it looks like. And then we love meeting customers who've been using Vellum for one, two, or three or some 10 years, love seeing what they've been producing with Vellum and just hearing from them. We have a lot of people just stop by and give us thumbs up and take a sticker, and that's fun too. Yeah,
James Blatch (25:38):
Definitely. How much is Venom and how does the pricing operate? Is it subscription or is it one-off
Brad West (25:45):
A one-time purchase and we have two options. We have some authors, it's fewer and fewer now who are ebook focused, and so we have a $200 price point if that's all you are interested in. But pretty much everyone now is working with both eBooks and print, and so that is $250 us. I can't remember the current pound conversion. That's fine. Yeah, it'll probably change by the time this airs. Yes, exactly.
James Blatch (26:14):
Yeah. And do you know why?
Brad West (26:16):
Yeah. And then the way it works is you can go to our website, you can download Vellum and use it, bring your book in, see how it looks. You can use it as long as you want to. There's, there's no time limit on that. The only thing that is disabled is the button that you use to generate those files, but everything else is available and whenever you're ready, you can make that purchase. We've had some people who have literally used it for about a year. Some people have actually written their book in Vellum, and they get to that point where they're finally ready to publish and then they send us an email and tell us, Hey, I'm so happy to finally give you some money. I'm going to be purchasing it. But yeah, we design it so people can really understand what they're getting into.
James Blatch (27:02):
Yeah, I was going to mention, you can write the book in Vellum. I mean actually there comes a point where we tend to have our Word document. It ends up on Word one way or another because most editors require words. So you end up with word and spacing and then you go back into ve, you go into Vem, into format. But from that point onwards, usually what happens in my world is that you update two files for typos, et cetera. You update the Vem file and the word file. But I'm starting to think Veem has been around a long time now. You're not disappearing anywhere tomorrow. I think you could exist in Veem and you can actually start in Vellum because it's a little bit like Scrivener. You can move the chapters around whilst you're writing. Do you know many people actually do write in Vellum.
Brad West (27:47):
It's not a tonne, but every conference we go to, we hear from someone and we've added some features for them. So one thing that you can do is if you start in Vellum, you write the whole thing, but as you mentioned, you need to get it edited. You need it to get it to an editor. You can export that out of Velum and into Word and send that to your editor. And the way we export it is in a format that is exactly what Velum is going to want when it comes back in, so the editor can make their changes and you can bring that back and develop and you won't lose any of your chapter divisions or anything like that. But yeah, we hear from 'em and they like a lot of people just seeing their book kind of magically appear on the right as they're writing. I just think that that's just a nice reward.
James Blatch (28:40):
It's motivating as
Brad West (28:41):
They're working. Yeah.
James Blatch (28:42):
Yeah, definitely. Another little thing I found out recently, we have some back catalogues where we haven't always got the word manuscript. In fact, in some cases we have no manuscript, but we publish the books at Vinci, which is awkward, and trying to convert the proof PDF you can download from Amazon, trying to convert that into where it's horrendously difficult. All the online pdf DF converters won't do it. It's full of all the author name stuff, but the one thing that does work is importing that converted word into Vellum, then exporting it as a Word document because your software seems to strip out a lot of the stuff that gets in the way. It's probably something that could be used nefariously by someone ping it, but actually legitimately, if you're trying to recover a manuscript, that export of word is surprisingly useful.
Brad West (29:30):
We basically, when things come in, because we know that this is how people work, everyone knows that they should be indicating there are new paragraphs by setting up a style with an indentation. Not everyone does it, or even if they do it, they're not always on it. They might do a tab sometimes or a space sometimes, and some people still have the habit of hitting two spaces. That's just being a human writer. And so that's part of what we do when we import that book is we are mainly looking for the content of that book. And just from that process, you do get something cleaner in and cleaner out because we're really only looking at that content. Yeah.
James Blatch (30:20):
Well, Brad, always a pleasure to catch up with you. And I say for me, formatting velum is like a reward for having written a book. It's the bit I really look forward to. It's a pleasurable thing. We forgot to mention. I think both of you guys come from a Pixar background, which is another really beautiful, aesthetically pleasing organisation that just creates stuff that looks great and that shows that for me, that shows through in the work you do.
Brad West (30:46):
Oh, thanks for saying that. Yeah, we spent about 15 years at Pixar, but we've been doing Vellum now for over 10 years, so been a big change, but it is been a fun different path to take. Well,
James Blatch (30:59):
We appreciate it, Brad, and I can't wait to see you and catch up in London.
Brad West (31:04):
Yes. Yeah, I can't wait. I'll see you there.
Speaker 1 (31:07):
This is the Self-Publishing Show. There's never been a better time to be a writer.
James Blatch (31:11):
There you go. That is Brad West from Vellum. And if you're a Vellum user, you'll know why I feel so warm and fuzzy about that particular product. If you're not a Vellum user, it's probably because you're using a PC, because I think most people with Max probably do use Vellum at this stage to format their books and some useful tips there about the store links and so on inside ve if you're not already using those. Okay, so that is it for this week. Don't forget, Self-Publishing Launchpad opens for enrollment on Wednesday at 10:00 PM uk Learn Self-publishing dot com slash launchpad, and on that page you'll be able to see everything that's in the course. I'm going to send a couple of emails out at the beginning of next week that just outline exactly what the course is, what's in it, whether it's going to be suitable for you.
(32:01):
You can always ask us that question if you want. We'll give you an honest answer. Of course. And just to reiterate, we have our live conference in June, London South Bank. Hopefully the weather will be lovely. 25th and 26th of June, Tuesday and Wednesday. Do come and join us. Go learnselfpublishing.com/spslive. Right. Did you spot Robot James? I dunno how it's going to work on YouTube. I'm going to have to work hard to try and sync it with my voice on YouTube, but that's a task for me in the next few minutes. Okay, that's it. Thank you very much indeed. I shall speak to you next week. All that remains for me to say is a goodbye from me.
Speaker 1 (32:39):
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