If you’re like me, you’ve been sitting at your PC for years coveting that magical formatting software available only on Macs. If you ask anyone how they got the beautiful formatting in their ebook or paperback, the most common answer is Vellum. And there’s a really good reason for that: Vellum has been the standout program for achieving professional formatting without requiring in-depth experience or recurring expenses. Those of us who aren’t Mac users, however, have been left to jump through hoops, like renting time on Mac in cloud, or finding another program to fill the void.
Times have finally changed!
Atticus brings the ease of Vellum (and more) to the PC and any other operating system you might be using.
I’ve tried the gambit of formatting options available to PC users from Word to Jutoh to Draft2Digital, and while they all have their strengths, none of them offer everything I’m looking for: ease, accessibility, and total control of the details. So, when I got the offer to sign up for the beta version of Atticus, I had a few reservations. Will it be everything I need? Is it worth the price tag?
Is it too good to be true?
What is Atticus?
Atticus is an all-in-one writing and formatting software that works on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chromebook.
The program recently had its official launch, but I’ve been using it for a while now since I opted into their beta program as soon as I got the chance.
The first couple of days were glitchy, but nothing more than I expected from a beta version, and the initial program was pretty basic. I could see the vision, but we had a long way to go before we got there. I stuck with it, toying around with the features every couple of weeks and watching as the improvements rolled in. As the program grew, so did my excitement. Yes, there were hitches along the way and one massive moment of panic when I realized I’d somehow lost half of my work. But, the ultimate test of any company is how they handle those moments, and when they calmly responded to my email and told me that their tech team was on it, I relaxed a little. When their next email informed me that the team had restored my work and fixed the problem that caused my chaos, they solidified a life-long customer.
I’m glad I decided to be among the first to take the plunge with the beta and share in the ups and downs, bumps and victories, because I not only got to see this program grow into what it is currently, but I had the pleasure of being part of the process, giving input, sharing in milestones, and witnessing how the amazing team handled every aspect of it all.
I didn’t expect that I’d use the program much for writing, but I love having all of my work in one place (and I can save backups at any time, just in case the unthinkable happens–again). Plus, they’ve added goal trackers, so I can see how much I’ve written each day across multiple projects, and track how close I am to the goals on each of my individual manuscripts. And, like Scrivener, I have the ability to move chapters around with ease when I don’t write in chronological order. I’m eagerly awaiting the addition of dark mode, but if you prefer writing in a different font like comic sans or a dyslexic font, those options are already available as well.
Another future integration I’m excited about is the ability to use ProWritingAid right in the editor, but if you prefer editing in Word or need a Word document to send to your editor, you can easily export your project as a docx file.
Yes, it’s the holy grail of easy, accessible, and full control formatting.
Built in themes: 17+
Custom headers ✔️
Build your own theme ✔️
Large Print ✔️
Full-bleed images ✔️
Full page images ✔️
Custom scene breaks ✔️
Reusable elements (also by pages, about the author, anything you want) ✔️
Drop caps ✔️
Lead in small caps ✔️
Control font sizing, line spacing, ebook start page, gutters, margins, and more.
With Atticus, I’ve been able to create layouts like this:
And it literally only takes a few minutes after I’ve created the images.
My favorite aspects
- If I need to make adjustments to the front matter or back matter of an ebook, I can open my project from the dashboard, make the changes, and have a new ebook ready to upload in minutes.
- I can easily change the look of an entire book (or series of books) by modifying my template. After the changes are saved, the updated look will be used for any book with that template the next time I export the ebook.
- I can control the finer details without having to worry about making sure those details are implemented across an entire project. This is exactly the balance between control and automation I’ve been searching for.
- Despite all of the images, headers, etc. my Amazon delivery cost for ebooks has remained negligible.
- I have the ease of online syncing without the need to always be online. Atticus functions differently from any of the other programs that I’ve used because it’s a progressive web app. Although you need internet to import and export documents or change the book you’re working on, you can easily download the program to your computer, open the manuscript you want to work on, and work as long as you like, with or without an internet connection. Once you connect to the internet again, all of your work will be synced up.
- I can preview the finished look before I export.
- Practically everything I need is in one place!
- Their customer service rocks and they’re always listening to the needs of authors.
Formatting Options Available
If you’re looking to compare formatting options, here’s a quick table on the systems I have used or researched.