I’ve been using Vellum, (Apple-only, unfortunately), which makes the entire layout process much easier. Vellum was one of those purchases I made some time ago, and it now has to be one of the best investments I’ve made in computer software.
I haven’t always thought of software as an investment in my writing business. To be honest, I’ve frequently perceived it as a cost. I’m a little uncomfortable with the way a lot of software companies are switching to the subscription model. Personally, I would much rather purchase a licence to use some software, rather than rent it.
The rental model is not all bad. It allows you to try out a piece of software more extensively, before you’ve invest more heavily in the programme, both financially, and in time. But I’m happier buying outright. (I’m using an owned-outright license of Microsoft Word, for example, rather than subscribing to a Microsoft Office account, because I rarely use Word and need not use the most up-to-date features.)
That’s not to say I don’t subscribe to any software – I do. I subscribe to the Ulysses writing app, because I use it every day, and I do all of my writing in it. (Even this blog post.) I pay about £27 a year, which works out at 51 pence a week.
Buying one-off (sometimes known as lifetime) licenses can be expensive, and Vellum was a case in point. I bought it soon after it launched a few years ago. It cost me about £150 and, at the time, it could only create eBooks.
However, I realised back then I had to think of it as an investment, like any other business asset. If I published one ebook, then that £150 investment was born by that one ebook. Publish two ebooks and the investment becomes £75 per ebook. Publish ten ebooks and it drops £15 per ebook, and so on.
A few years later, the software developers updated Vellum so it could produce print books. This was a serious game-changer, and as someone who invested in the full version for ebooks, they offered me a great upgrade price.
Today, Vellum is an important part of my writing business. The Complete Article Writer has sold over 400 copies in print and ebook format, which I’m extremely pleased with. And the software made it easy for me to update Photography for Writers and include photos in the second version (something the original publisher didn’t want to do because of costs).
And now that I have gained back the rights in The Positively Productive Writer, I’ll be updating that and self-publishing it in print and ebook format too.
It’s also enabled me to help some groups I’m involved with. I now produce the anthology for my writers’ group with the software, and this year I’ve produced the anthology for the National Association of Writers’ Groups, of which I’m on the committee.
And each time I’ve created a new book, I’ve learned something during the process, so even if I haven’t created a book for myself, I’m still investing in myself as I learn more about the software. I’ve now produced over 20 books, either in digital or print format (or both), either for myself, friends or organisations using Vellum.
So although the initial investment in the Vellum software was not insignificant, it was an investment: one that’s allowed my writing business to grow and develop.
So do you look at your software purchases as costs, or assets? And does considering it as an asset change the way you use it? Invest wisely, my friends.