Formatting books can be so intimidating, and it’s something that I complain about (I find it boring!). It doesn’t have to be difficult though. Scrivener makes things nice and easy for you.
This is my nice easy guide to producing pretty ebooks. Please note that I’ve tweaked my Scrivener quite a bit so it will look different to yours. That will not affect this guide. All the key bits are still where they should be.
What you’ll need:
A copy of Scrivener (my version is Windows so may look a little different to yours if you’re using a mac).
A word doc copy of your manuscript – You can skip a couple of steps if you have it ready to go in Scrivener.
I’ll be using a couple of different projects for this each in different stages, just to make my life a little easier. 🙂
Open up your word doc, and start a new Scrivener project. A blank project is probably easiest, but you can use the novel template if you prefer.
Make your title page, copyright page, and if you’re using one, a dedication. Make each one a new document (not folder, folders make life more difficult!)
Then copy your Word doc in its entirety. Then paste it into the little text window you have open in Scrivener.
It’ll look like this:
Fix up your formatting. The font in that particular project is all over the place, and Word has a peculiar habit of pasting things in 1.5x line spacing for me. It’ll be easier to get all of that tidy now before you break it into chapters.
Personally I like a 0.5inch indent on the first line. You can set it to your preference, however an indent and no paragraph break is the standard format.
This is where you break the document down into chapters. This is also where you decide if you want fancy chapter headers and scene breaks, or nice simple ones.
We’ll start with how to break it into chapters. Scroll down and highlight your first chapter title. Click document, then split, then with selection as title.
Now if you want fancy chapter headers and scene breaks, you’ll need some pretty little images to use for those. If you want clean and simple, then skip to step four part b.
It’s easy to make chapter headers, I use Pixlr. It’s an easy in browser photo manipulator do-hickey. The key is to make the images small pngs on a transparent background.
This is the one I’ve created for my Ink Born series.
All that is is two lines, one drawn with a normal pencil, the one below it with a sketchy pencil. It took me two minutes to make. I saved it as a png on a transparent background, eh voila.
This is the Hidden Alchemy chapter header.
And this is the Hidden Alchemy scene break.
As you can see, they’re very simple, quick and easy to make. You can get fancier if you’re so inclined. The key is to keep the file size small and the image simple enough to look clean and clear at smaller sizes.
Now that you’ve made your image you need to insert it.
Click edit, then insert, then image from file.
I’ll throw in the Hidden Alchemy chapter header so you can see.
Now continue down and go through this process until you’ve split the entire document into chapters and inserted your chapter headers. Insert your scene images using the same process as the chapter headers.
Step Four B
If you want to have simple chapter headers and scene breaks then I’ll assume you have *** or something similar for your scene breaks. That’s great, leave them in place.
Your next step is to split the document at every chapter header. Remove the chapter title of each new chapter before you move on, so that each chapter starts with a small blank space (I like two line breaks) and then the chapter text.
Now you have a project which has been completely split into all of its chapters. If you’re using them then all of your chapter headers are in place. If you’re not then there’s a nice blank space at the top of each chapter.
I’d recommend adding one last document as your end note. This is where you put links to your other books, ask readers nicely to leave a review, and give them a link to your newsletter.
Your project should look something like this:
Now you insert your cover! I click on research and throw my cover in there.
Click file, then import file. Import your cover image.
It’ll look like this when it’s imported.
This is where you compile this into an actual ebook!
Click file, then compile. If you’re on Windows for some reason it’ll make the list compacted. You’ll need to click the little blue arrow to expand it.
Once you’ve expanded it out you’ll get something that looks like this.
In that compile for box click the click down menu and put it as ePub. ePubs come up smaller and are therefore better to upload to Amazon.
To check your file you’ll need something to read ePubs, I use Adobe Digital Editions (it’s free). I’ll explain how to make .mobis in a second.
First things first, alt-click on the Pg. break before.
Now, if you’re using pretty chapter headers, alt-click the As-is. If you’re not, leave that unclicked and follow this next step.
(Skip this if you’re using pretty headers).
Click on formatting then click on the level 1+ (at the bottom of the three options).
Then click on the little window below it, highlight the title, and set it up as you like it. I personally like to have it bolded, underlined, and centred. You do what you feel looks best.
If you want to change the title font and size, click the blue italic A next to the Bold button. Personally I set my font size as 14.
Now that your chapters are set up, you can set up your cover.
Click on cover, click the drop down list, and then choose your cover image.
Now you’re all set to hit that compile button and look at your pretty ePub file!
If you’re making a .mobi then the very first time you do it, you’ll need one extra little step (once you’ve done this you can just choose .mobi from the dropdown list).
Click .mobi instead of .ePub from the dropdown list at the bottom. Then click kindlegen which’ll pop up on the left.
Click the little blue link that has an Amazon address. Download kindlegen. Then you’re all good to make .mobis!
To check the file is as you want it to be, double click on it in whatever folder you saved it in. If it’s an ePub that should open Adoble Digital Additions – for some reason that shows everything as left-aligned when I preview it, despite it coming up as centre-aligned when published on Amazon. Something to be aware of.
If it’s a .mobi then it’ll open in your Kindle app. If you don’t have one on your laptop I recommend downloading one.
Then that’s it. You’re all done! You have just made a pretty eBook file using Scrivener.
If you found this guide useful consider heading over to Amazon and checking out my Urban Fantasy books.