I’ll admit it. I’m a card-carrying, loud and proud supporter of Vellum. I recommend it to all my friends. It does everything I want when it comes to formatting a book for publication. It doesn’t matter whether you are doing an e-book or print version. Vellum has you covered. Except. . .it is Mac only. That leaves out a lot of writers and, to be honest, there are times when I don’t have my Macbook Air with me and I need to format a book or tweak something in a book that’s already been uploaded. I’ve tried other software, including Scrivener, but none have been as easy or intuitive as Vellum. But that may be coming to an end. There’s a new software “kid” on the block–well, at least in beta–and it looks promising. Welcome to Atticus.
One of the developers for Atticus is Dave Chesson, aka the Kindlepreneur. He’s made a name for himself helping authors learn to navigate the sometimes murky and confusing waters of Amazon. It is clear he’s put much of what he’s learned to use in this program.
- Atticus is designed to be more than just as conversion tool. You can easily write in the program, formatting as you go. To me, the interface is more eye appealing that that for Scrivener and certainly not as confusing or potentially distracting as Scrivener with all that program allows you to do.
- You can use Atticus either through a web interface or through an app you download. You do not have to be online to use it, although to sync your work or to download, you must be online.
- Best of all, you can use it on your PC, Mac or Linux machine. You can even use it on your Chromebook. So, if you are out and about with your Mac, you can work and sync with your PC, etc.
- Excellent customer service response. Not that I’d expect anything less from Chesson.
- The program is still in beta and, the last I checked, there was no date for the full release.
- Going hand-in-hand with this, it isn’t a “free” beta. It’s what can best be called a pay-to-play beta. Yes, you do get the full program once it’s released, but still. . . That said, I did go ahead and pay for the program because I wanted to see what it was like and I wanted to give you guys my opinion. Basically, what you get is a locked-in price for the program which will be lower than the release price.
- Because it is a beta, it is glitchy. So be prepared for that.
- Because it is a beta version, you don’t get all the functionality. That can be frustrating. At least the devs are open about it and about what they are working on now and what is coming down the line. Check out their roadmap here.
- Related to the above, some general word processing functions are not currently available. There isn’t a find & replace option yet. Nor is there function for volumes and parts of a book beyond chapters.
- In the Atticus vs Scrivener battle, Atticus falls behind because it doesn’t have outlining/plotting functionality. It is coming, but not until after launch.
Some general observations:
I do have great hope for this software. The devs are consistently updating the beta and, as a gamer, let me tell you this isn’t nearly as glitchy as some AAA games I’ve played.
My concern for the software’s growth is that it isn’t as intuitive as Vellum and Scrivener has such a rabid fanbase. That said, the devs have considered different ways people convert their work. There’s even a throwback to Smashwords, if you can believe it. Atticus has three ways (that I know of so far) that it recognizes new chapters. The first is if you use H1 headers to indicate a new chapter. The second is if you type in 20pt font. The third–drum roll please–if you have three paragraph breaks or more in a row, it will recognize a new chapter.
But, as noted above, this is part of the problem as well. It recognize H1 headers but no others, at least not now. So you can’t have a section heading and then chapters using H2 to give you an interactive table of contents that shows the section heading and then, if you open it up, the chapters under it.
Another thing that bugged me a bit is the difference in how it deal with ePub and pdf downloads. Your ePub download is instantaneous. But it has to email you a link for your pdf downloads. So there is a lag there and that can prove to be problematical if you are running up against a deadline and something happens and the app chokes on sending you the link.
There’s more, but I’m not going to be too critical since this is still in beta testing and the devs do seem to be responsive and listening to their beta testers. I will say I have hope for the program. But do I recommend you run out and track down how to be a beta purchaser?
That’s something you have to ask and answer for yourself. But I do recommend you follow the app’s website, maybe even sign up for the waitlist. Frankly, to have a program that offers the exact same capabilities cross-platform and is easy to sync (a real issue with Scrivener) is something I’d appreciate. I’m not sure it will get me to completely give up on Vellum. In fact, unless it becomes a bit more intuitive in use, it won’t. But it is an option I want available, especially if I’m traveling and don’t want to carry both the Mac and the PC.
If you are interested in seeing the app in use, check out the following Youtube videos.
There’s more, but this gives you a taste of the app. What do you think?
And now for a bit of promo. I have three pre-orders up right now. The first, Victory from Ashes, will be available for download 9/7/21. (The link is a universal link that lets you choose which store you want to use.) And here’s the blurb:
War is hell. No battle plan survives the opening salvo. When the enemy is set on the total destruction of your homeworld, how far will you go to protect it and those you love?
This war has already cost Col. Ashlyn Shaw too much. She has lost friends and family to an enemy that doesn’t know the meaning of honor. Marines under her command have died doing their duty. Her enemies at home conspired and brought her up on charges, sending her and members of her command to the Tarsus military penal colony. But they didn’t win then and she won’t let them win now. She is a Marine, a Devil Dog, and they can’t take that away from her.
Ashlyn is determined to do all she can to protect her homeworld and end the war. She will lead her Marines against the enemy, knowing that if they fail, Fuercon will fall. But will it be enough and will those who have conspired behind the scenes to destroy her and all she stands for finally be brought to justice?
Duty and honor. Corps and family. That is what matters. It is all that matters.