Hey guys! I’ve had quite a few requests for this post from friends and authors. So as I am sitting here formatting for my ebook edition of the new book in the Wolfegang series When Elements Collide (available Feb 28th 2015!) I will be writing my step-by-step process as I go.
Everyone has their own preferences and steps they prefer so obviously this is not the be-all end-all of formatting. Just a helping hand to get you comfortable with the process so you can set up your own methods.
As a caveat, I work on a Windows PC and therefore have the Windows edition of Scrivener (to format easily for ebook get this program, it’s only 40$ on Amazon and worth every penny) and I work with Microsoft Word 2010. Now my method only really makes sense if you write into Word first, which a lot of writers do, or they’re trying to make the transition, so here’s the tidbits.
I’m going to start from the very beginning for those who might not be familiar with Scrivener. Go to programs and click on the file. Then it will pop open a box where you have to choose your format. Simply choose “blank.” I noticed I have more issues with the ‘pre-formatted’ files than a simple blank file that allows me to mold it to what I prefer and not what the creators (have they ever written a book? I’m not sure with the way they set up the novel format) think you need. Name your file, and select where you want to save.
Now, Word and Scrivener allow you to export your data into another program. Don’t ever do this. Not if you want a clean, easy to format file. Both programs tend to export weird background formatting that makes it impossible to ensure your file will show up in Word (for paperback formatting) in the way you want it to, or vice versa in Scrivener. Not only that, it can cause typos that weren’t there before. No one wants that.
The easiest, and most foolproof way to move your text from one program to the other, is copy and paste. It sounds too easy, because it is. This doesn’t have to be hard, so don’t make it any harder than it needs to be. I tried the exporting thing and wasted an entire day raging at the computer.
When the file opens it should look like this:
That little red arrow at the bottom left is a text file. You click and it adds a new one. So this part is just setting up your basic file, only your novel, which you want because of later reasons. Just trust me. So click and add until you have one for every chapter. Just double click on the text anywhere on the document and you can change the names until you have this:
Now I haven’t entered in any text yet. I just set this up so that I can copy and paste quickly. Next, go to your Word document, select all, copy, and then paste in the appropriate section.
See? Pretty isn’t is. You’ll notice the text file in the column now shows that this file has text, versus blank. Random, but also useful. Now here’s a fun trick in regards to font. Do you use a particular font for your series like I do? I use Falling Skies, which is free from fontmeme.com and I downloaded it. BUT because Kindle and Amazon hate when you use any fonts or special things it turns all cool doodads into asterisks for scene breaks, and any font not Times New Roman into Times New Roman. While there’s nothing wrong with this, I personally feel adding these extra touches can make your document and files look way more professional. So how do you keep that font? Well I erase the title of the chapter that I copied from word and insert a photo. Move the text up by the way so that you only have one line above the first sentence.
This photo process is a pain in the dick, and I don’t want to go into the whole process here otherwise this post will be a thousand miles long. So for the future, when I do write the post on how to make the photos in the first place, it will be here.
Go to Edit and follow my circles. For some reason this picture saved weird, sorry.
Then choose which picture you want to import. Make sure they are PNGs otherwise the background will show up. I created a folder in my pictures just for my font pics.
So open the file and it will import to the right. That thing that looks like a weird shadow is just the cursor, no worries.
I always center it, but it’s really up to you. If you do center it, highlight only the picture, center and then make sure it’s not indented by moving the indent on the ruler.
Then click anywhere on the screen to deselect. It should look like this:
Now when you usually write something in Word, you add names or whatever to your dictionary, this doesn’t translate over to Scrivener. If you want ignore or have it ‘learn’ the spelling. It doesn’t really matter, when you compile the red line won’t show up. Also another important thing to note, it doesn’t matter how you format your text. You can make the text go all the way across your screen or not, it will compile the same. The setting for mobi takes care of all of your formatting for you, which is why I love this program.
Because I’m OCD I go to the bottom and make sure there aren’t any blank lines after the last line in my chapter.
Now you do this for every, single, chapter. Annoying and repetitive, yes, but it makes compiling SO much easier when each chapter is separate. For me personally I do make sure the indent is correct. I select all for each chapter and make sure the indent is at .25″ otherwise to me the indent looks too big, and you want to make sure the indent is the same from chapter to chapter.
I choose paragraph setting 1.2 while I’m at it on every chapter, again same issue. It looks like there’s too much space between every line when I have it open on my Kindle reader if I don’t. The compiling will also read the last line your cursor is on, which is the main reason I make sure it’s on the last line, I don’t want the length to be different at the end of each chapter. Consistency is key, it keeps from drawing the reader out of the story.
If you do this after formatting your paperback file, everything should be the same, but make sure all your text is the same font, I always choose Times New Roman 12pt font since it’s the most basic. You’ll want to scroll through each chapter to make sure all your indents are the same. Again if you did paperback version already this shouldn’t be an issue, but if you haven’t simply make sure. Go to link at the top to the paperback version post on how to get rid of pesky, invisible formatting in Word.
For those of you who do scene breaks with cool little pictures, or asterisks, this next part is for you. For the Wolfegang series I use asterisks. I haven’t found a picture I want to use for science fiction yet, so I stick with the basics. But if you do want to use pictures, apply the same rule here as you did for the chapter titles with PNG files. But, go through each chapter and make sure they’re centered correctly, with no indent, otherwise it looks weird. I use asterisks which is standard in Times New Roman so I search each chapter for them and fix their position. (This only happens if you’ve selected all and applied the indent etc).
This next part is where the actual formatting comes in, now that you have your story all in Scrivener. Right next to the button where you add text, there is a blue folder, click that.
It’ll pop up like this:
But if you look closely that puts it under your draft. You don’t want that, move it to the outside in a drag and drop motion.
See that blue line and how it’s further to the left, you want that so it looks like this:
So add three, and then three more. Label from top to bottom “Front Matter,” “Body,” “Back Matter,” and then the last three, name them all “Kindle.” For all but my first I only use Amazon so this isn’t really necessary, but if I ever decide to publish on more platforms, I would add more folders, one for each platform, such as Smashwords, Google Play, and Kobo. Then put one Kindle folder in each of your three folders so it looks like this:
Next, highlight the Kindle folder under “Front Matter” and add four text files.
Then name each one “Title Page,” “Copyright,” “Dedication,” and “Sub-title Page.” You can do this however you want, and in whatever order you want, but less is more in the beginning because you only get so much free sample room on Amazon and you want as much text as you can in that 10%. The reason I do this, is because some sites require the order to be different in the front of your book. But for Kindle, this is my standard for every book.
Now let’s create the other files we need before we start adding stuff. For Body, you want to copy every file, and put it in here. This is because if you have to make formatting changes to your Kindle files during the troubleshooting stage, it doesn’t affect your entire novel. This causes problems if you plan to publish on more than one platform. What works for Kindle doesn’t always work for Kobo, so you have to have the ability to play around without effing with your original file.
So you don’t have to do the copy and paste thing all over again. What you’re going to do is right click your draft file, I start from the beginning for simplicity sake, and duplicate the file.
Then move the chapter copy, drag it down and put it in the Body>Kindle folder.
Next erase the word ‘copy’ in the name of the file, otherwise it will show up in your table of contents when you compile. You don’t want Prelude Copy in your Kindle file.
Now do this for each chapter.
Now on to the Back Matter.
The cool thing is with Back Matter you can literally do whatever you want with it. But all the books say CTA (call to action) so the very last page ask for a review, or for them to sign up for your mailing list, or to purchase your next book. You can put in sneak peeks to the next book or whatever. At this time I am keeping it somewhat simple, I just do a CTA, then newsletter, and about the author. So I add three files to my Back Matter folder.
Awesome! You have all your files created!
If you clicked the link to my post on how to do cool fonts, then you will be using that again here. Go up to the Front Matter and click on the file “Title Page.” Insert the name of your book here with your font. Add in your name with the font as well, and if you’re writing a series I would suggest adding in what book it is with the name of the series. I do each separately so that I can move them around more easily.
With all three in it should like this:
Which looks kind of stupid. So I highlight each one, and then move it around to where I want, using the center function, and then I add in spaces. (Sometimes this one might need some tweaking if it’s not perfect when you compile.)
I know this also looks really close together, but I’ve found this to work with the mobi files the best.
Then I copy and paste the copyright from my paperback file. If you don’t already have one, then just make one. Type it out exactly like you would see in a book. The only thing is, if you don’t have a paperback you don’t have an ISBN. This ISBN thing is super complicated, another post at another time. But, indies tend to argue on this topic. For now, since I can’t afford 60$ for an ISBN for every edition of my book, I just use the one Createspace gives me. Technically these ISBNs don’t apply to this file since it’s an ebook and not paperback, but hey, for now it’s fine.
Then I do the same with my dedication.
Then for my sub-title I make a page solely for my title and nothing else. It just looks nice.
Tired yet? I sure am. Let’s take a break and watch this hilarious video.
lol! I laugh every time. Okay, back to work. So go down to Back Matter and fill out your pages. Here are mine.
#1. I title the most important. I want them to keep reading.
#2. I let them know if the next book is out, and if it’s not I tell them to sign up for my reading list.
#3. I put this here, but worded differently even if I do have the next book out. In this case, I don’t have it out, or even a pre-order link.
#4. I politely remind them to leave a review.
Links are very important in an ebook. It makes whatever you want the reader to do as easy as possible. To add links, highlight where you want the link to be, only works with text – Edit>Link:
Make sure that the is off, otherwise your link won’t work if you simply copy and paste.
Now here are my other pages.
All right, now all of your content is done. Exciting right? We’re almost done, right? Well…..not really. I know, but we’re on the home stretch!
Now we’re going to create something called a Collection. This allows you to compile with ease. I promise all this work is worth it. Project tab to Add Collection and click.
This should pop up, and in the top where it says Kindle, is where you double click and you can name the collection whatever you want, but I do it by publishing platform.
Now click on Binder and it will take you back to where all your files are.
When you’re at your Binder, got to Front Matter, right click the first file, Title Page and add it to your Kindle collection like so:
Then do the same thing for everything in your Front Matter, Body, and Back Matter. Then click on your Kindle collection and it should look like this:
If any of the files are not in the right chronological order for whatever reason, just drag and move it to where you want it to go. Then double check and make sure everything is where you want it to be, and in the right order.
Now go BACK to Binder so we can add in our cover photo. It’s super easy. Just open your documents, grab and drop into the binder like so:
Press okay when it asks if you want to import and it should be sitting here like this:
Then go to compile and choose a mobi file.
Don’t hit compile yet. There’s still more to do. Click the arrow to expand.
Now select your Kindle Collection.
Now select all on Page Break and As-is.
Now see the toolbar on the left? Click on cover and add it in.
Then click on formatting. I make sure no boxes are checked.
Then click on Meta-Data and add in your info. the most important things are the author and title.
Now you can click compile and save it wherever you want. Ignore the warnings, it’s just bitching about the pictures. Now sometimes I have issues compiling and that’s due to the meta-data. If it freaks out and doesn’t compile, delete everything in the Meta-Data except the title and author. For whatever reason it will now work.
Then I email myself the mobi file, and open it in my Kindle app on my iPad and troubleshoot it from there. This part is really more personal than I can help with. If you’ve gotten this far, I’m sure you can figure it out!
Wheeee! Now on to perfecting and uploading!