Scrivener Quick Tip: Building an eBook Part 2

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This post is part of my Scrivener Quick Tips series

Scrivener LogoMy Scrivener Quick Tips are a weekly series (usually) and take a look at features from the Mac version of Scrivener, v 2.3.1.  If you are using the Windows version of Scrivener, not all of these features are available to you at this time, and the screen shots might look different.  As always, clicking on a screenshot will open it up for a larger view.


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Last week, I talked about how setting up the folders in your Manuscript folder directly corresponds to how your Table of Contents will export later when you Compile your project.  Today, I want to look at a couple more things that can have an impact on your Table of Contents.

Part 1 – Front Matter

Front Matter is a section of your Binder that is setup as part of your Project when you choose the Novel Template – which I have done for this series of Quick Tips.  Your typical Front Matter looks like this (Fig 1):

Fig 1

Fig 1

So we have:

  • Manuscript Format
  • Paperback Novel
  • E-Book

When you do a Compile, you have presets you can choose from.  Depending on what you choose, Scrivener will pick one of these Folders and add the information to your exported document.  Let’s look at each one real quick.

Manuscript Folder

Here, you have a single document that pulls information automatically from your Project and from the registration for the software.  So, it will pull in: Your name and contact info, your agents name and contact info (if you enter it), your Project Wordcount, Project Title and a By Line.  Note that these are displayed as strings/code (Fig 2) until you Compile, and then Scrivener fills in the blanks.

Fig 2

Fig 2

I would also like to point out that I don’t really know where to change some of this stuff (like your contact information).  Some of it can be seen inside of your Meta Data Settings (Fig 3):

Fig 3

Fig 3

Paperback Novel

…say old Madam will you read my book? It took me years to write, will you have a look?  It’s based on a novel by a man named Lear and I need a break cuz I wanna be a paperback writer…

Oh. Um. *cough* Right.  Back to the Quick Tip…

This section has a lot more meat to it; Title Page, Copyright, Dedication and a Blank Page.  Again, these pages have scripts to pull information from the Project, like the Title, By Line, even the year for the Copyright (Fig 4):

Fig 4

Fig 4

The difference is how the pages are formatted – which would be consistent with a printed novel.  More on this in a second.

E-Book

Here, you have Cover (an image) and Dedication (Fig 5).  The Cover is just an image that the developers included to show you what an eBook cover might look like.  The Dedication Page is just that.  Neither has any scripting to pull information from your project.

Fig 5

Fig 5

If you click Compile, and choose Format As: Ebook and Compile for: Kindle mobi or ePub, you’ll see on the Contents Tab a checkbox near the bottom for Front Matter (Fig 6 – 1st arrow):

Fig 6

Fig 6

If you leave this box checked, whatever Folder (and corresponding documents) is selected in the drop down (Fig 6 – 2nd arrow) will be included in your Compile.

Now, in my humble opinion, none of these folders are great for an eBook – not even ‘E-Book’.  Again, I urge you to snag a book from your shelf, or open one up on your eReader.  Thumb through and see what publishers put into the ‘front matter’ of a book; Cover, a Title Page, Copyright, Dedication and Acknowledgements.  Depending on the book, you might find a Series Page (showing other books in the series that are available), or a Other Books by this Author page, and a blurb page (where other authors or reviewers say kind things about your writing).  And don’t forget an About the Author page where you say a little something about yourself (short bio) and point to your website and/or social media.

To get all of this in your eBook, you’re gonna have to modify one of these Front Matter folders, or create your own.

I did the latter.  First, I right-clicked the E-Book folder and chose ‘Duplicate’ from the menu to create a new Folder to play with.  Next, I renamed the folder as ‘Custom eBook’.  I also duplicated the Copyright page from the Paperback Novel folder, and dragged the copy into my new folder.  Not wanting a ‘Dedication’, I deleted that file, and clicked on the Title Page to modify it, adding a ‘By’ above the scripting for Author Name (Fig 7):

Fig 7

Fig 7

At this point, you could also change the font size (default on the Title is ALL CAPS and size 36) if you wanted (I did, so I changed it to a smaller font).  Next, I clicked on the Copyright Page and went to town, adding a lot of the information you would see in a novel from a publisher (Fig 8):

Fig 8

Fig 8

You could add whatever information you want, just keep in mind that whatever you add is going to flow with the eReader.

Now, when you Compile, choose the custom folder from the Menu (Fig 9):

Fig 9

Fig 9

This will add your ‘Front Matter’ to the beginning of your eBook like so (Fig 10):

Fig 10

Fig 10

Just as I mentioned last week, what you name your Folders/Documents, defines what something is called in the ToC.  So in this case, I have ‘Title Page’ and ‘Copyright’.  Changing those changes how they appear in the ToC.  I could call them ‘RC Cola’ and ‘Moonpies’ and that’s how they would be listed in the ToC.

Now, eagle-eyed readers will notice that the last item on the ToC is called ‘About the Author’, which isn’t part of the Front Matter and, in the screen shots above, isn’t part of the Manuscript, so where did it come from?

Well, that’s next week’s Quick Tip – Part 3 of building an eBook using Scrivener. :)


If you’re looking to publish some eBooks, but don’t want to mess with learning to do it yourself, please consider hiring me. Details and a sample eBook can be seen by clicking this link.

Series Navigation<< Scrivener Quick Tip: Building an eBook Part 1  |  Scrivener Quick Tip: Building an eBook Part 3 >>