Scrivener Quick Tip: Building an eBook Part 5

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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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I’ve been looking at how to build an eBook using Scrivener.

Today, I continue looking at Compile for an ePub.

When you click Compile and choose Format As: ‘Ebook’ and Compile for: ‘ePub’, you should see something that looks like Fig 1:

Fig 1

Fig 1

As a quick rundown, your tabs are:

  • Contents
  • Separators
  • Cover
  • Formatting
  • Title Adjustments
  • Layout
  • Transformations
  • HTML Settings
  • Replacements
  • Statistics
  • Tables
  • Footnotes/Comments
  • Meta-Data

On the Contents Tab, I want to point out ‘Pg Break Before’ (Fig 2):

Fig 2

Fig 2

Checking any of these boxes will, you guessed it – add a page break before this document.  So if you want a hard page break between documents, this is one way to achieve your goal.  I say one way because I also want to point out that none of the other boxes in that row are checked, only the Copyright page.  Why?  Well, that’s because of the next tab: Separators (Fig 3):

 

Fig 3

Fig 3

I circled the last piece in the screen shot above, but let me explain the whole thing.  If, in your Binder, you have two text documents at the same level (like how Title Page and Copyright are together in my custom Front Matter folder as shown in Fig 2), the default says they will be Separated by an Empty Line.  Two Folders in your binder at the same level will also be Separated by an Empty Line.  Folder and Text Document?  Same thing – Empty Line.  But, if you have a Text Document followed by a Folder, you get a Section Break (essentially, a Page Break).

Understanding why means looking at your Binder.  For my eBook, Consumption, it looks like this (Fig 4):

Fig 5

Fig 4

See how the structure is laid out:

  • Folder
    • Text Doc
  • Folder
    • Text Doc

So Text Documents are followed by a Folder.  Folders are typically the beginning of a new Chapter, and a new Chapter in a book starts on a new page – hence the Section break.

Your other options for any of these scenarios can be found by clicking the drop down (Fig 5):

Fig 5

Fig 5

I would suggest being conservative with your use of Section Breaks.  Having a ton of them in spots other than actual breaks (Sections, Chapters) will kill the flow of your eBook.  If there is a reason to have a break in your text, a better solution might be jumping back to the Contents Tab (Fig 2 above) and checking the box for just that section.  Be sure if you want a break between two documents, that you check the box for the second document as it is ‘Pg Break Before‘.

The next tab is Cover (Fig 6):

Fig 6

Fig 6

For Consumption, I have a custom cover that I created.  The default for Scrivener is a placeholder graphic.  You can use any image inside your Project as the cover.  If you’re going to create one of your own, look at the guidelines for wherever you’re going to put your eBook.  Amazon has these listed on their KDP Direct site, and Barnes & Noble also lists their guidelines on their PubIt! site.  Once you have your cover ready, just import it to your Project, and choose it from the drop down on the Cover tab (Fig 7):

Fig 7

Fig 7

The next tab, Formatting, has a lot to look at, so I’m going to save that for next week and Part 6.


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 4  |  Scrivener Quick Tip: Building an eBook Part 6 >>