SUCCESS! EBOOK IN 10 SECONDS AFTER EDITING CHANGES
The proof is in the pudding.
- Chapter headings
- Chapter titles
- Epigraph attributions
- Scene descriptor (the point of view character)
- Date/time/place stamp
- Left justified first paragraphs
- The first few words in capitals
Shown below, I also have:
- the ability to set off text inserts WITHIN scenes (an email message, a scene from a movie, a different format to mark that the text is from an audience WATCHING the scene as a background).
This page shows a pov change within the chapter to a different character, the continuing date/time/place setting to orient the reader (previous scene was in California), and the audience reaction to the TV interview going on (indicated by a set-off italicized text line).
This ‘look’ for my chapters and scenes now happens automatically – which was my goal before editing.
This capability, which takes a bit of learning how to set it up (not hard) in Scrivener, gives me the one-click functionality I was looking for before heading into the final editing round. I can make a change to my source files, click Compile, and in about ten seconds have a completely ready ebook (.epub and .mobi) with NO hand-coding at all.
If I want to have that pesky right indent (so my block quotes are set off nicely on BOTH sides, I will have to go the one extra step I talked about, making a MINOR one or two line change to the CSS, and putting the .epub back together, then using KINDLEGEN or the Kindle Previewer to generate a .mobi from the .epub (really, really simple), I can take the extra time.
What does it take to set up?
The main benefit is that, while I have a LOT of special formatting in Pride’s Children, the changes to the source text were fairly minimal. Here is what my Scrivener Binder looks like:
The ONLY thing I ended up having to change in my original Binder was that each scene is now a folder with the text as a text file in the folder. This allows the Scene FOLDER to have the name of the pov character (which is what appears on the transitions to the next scene), and, within the folder, the date/time/place line.
It still looks pretty normal for a Binder for a novel.
How complicated is this to set up?
Most of all DO NO HARM was my motto. I didn’t want to do ANYTHING which might interfere with the ability of an ereader to flow text in the size and font chosen by the READER.
I am NOT using anything near Scrivener’s full available complexity. Scrivener includes group files (with separate formatting options) in the list of objects in the binder with their own levels, and which can each have separate formatting applied to the Title and Text.
I am including NO images or image placeholders in my ebooks – I am a bit leery of ebooks meant to be viewed easily on what is now hundreds of ‘devices’ from iPhone screens to an app on your desktop. I’m sure it can be done, but I don’t want, for the sake of a cute Chapter heading GIF, to have to evaluate the .epub on all kinds of devices. Not at this point.
Maybe later, if I get better at this.
And certainly for the POD from the accompanying, easy to set up pdf Compile in Scrivener – because with a pdf you can see exactly what you are sending to the printer.
What Scrivener Compile settings do you need to learn about?
- The settings on the Contents tab
- Separators between files and folders
- The settings on the Formatting tab
For the basics, that’s all I used.
What changes were necessary to the source files?
Originally, I had each folder labeled something like ‘Chapter 1’ for the chapter folders, and ‘Scene 1.4’ for the scene text files.
Now I use them a bit differently, and I did all this by experimenting with the ability to take each container (folder, file, or file group) and choose different formatting for its title and its contents (text). The CHAPTER folder now has the TITLE of the chapter as its title, and the SCENE folder now has the NAME of the POV character as its TITLE.
The basic easy trick for headers
So, every time you need a different kind of formatting for a line or lines, make sure that it is the only kind of text in its container.
For each item, you choose to include its title and/or its text – in the Contents tab. So you can choose only the title if all you need is title formatting.
The easy trick for complicated formatting WITHIN the text
Here, if you want to do what I do, and include bits of song lyrics (with different formatting), for example, you need to learn TWO Scrivener features:
- Formatting menu/Formatting/Preserve formatting
- Formatting menu/Text/Tabs and indents…
I highly recommend reading the manual until you know exactly how these features interact with each other and with the formatting coming from the Formatting tab.
The trick is that you can set up formatting for the special pieces WITHIN your source file, and pass it through to the final ebook by EXCLUDING it from the normal formatting for that level.
CAUTION: With ebooks, be careful not to try to control the font and fontsize within these pieces, unless you’re willing to make sure the ereaders won’t have a problem with text in a different font from the one selected by the reader. It can be done, obviously, because ereaders usually have at least one serif and on sans serif font withing their available fonts. But handling embedded fonts, and pieces NOT using the automatic font choices is WAY beyond the scope of this post – you’re in for some serious HTML and CSS and font embedding if you want to try to control appearances that closely. Like electric controls on cars, the more things you want to control with electricity, the more little electric motors and control systems you have to potentially go wrong.
An example of formatting within the scene
See the Scene 4 image above. As I mentioned before, I wanted to be able to indicate that the audience watching the TV interview was reacting to what was being said, but the host and guest would not necessarily react or converse with that audience.
I chose to select the audience reaction bit, italicize it, and prevent the scene formatting from being applied to it. Once I had the formatting the way I wanted it (an extra .25 left indent, italics), I created a Preset so I could do it more easily to the rest of the pieces with the same formatting.
This is how it looks withing my source text:
The blue box with the dashed outline shows you exactly which text pieces has Preserve formatting applied, as you normally don’t want to do ANY formatting withing the source text – because this inhibits the main Scrivener ability – to let the writer get the text out anywhichway – and then format it to look pretty in the Compile step.
Note that I also have Invisibles turned on, so you can see where the spaces and returns are – a handy feature.
I’m stopping here because the only people interested are those who can see the advantages of having such easy access to formatting your own ebook, and probably already have Scrivener, and these people will want to do their own version.
This was meant to be a taste for us DIY types – it isn’t hard to do what I did, it looks good (and can be made fancier by a LOT if you like), and there was even more information about sources in the previous post. A nod to Ed Ditto, his website, and book again, because it made me aware that it COULD be fast and easy, so I dug into the controls.
And my hat’s off to Scrivener – the whole ability to create an ebook after I set it up with ONE CLICK is built into their amazing program.