How To Format A Perfect Novel: Part 7 (Compilation Part 1)

We’re finally here. We’ve done it. We’re so ready. Right? Well, this part will start to make your brain melt. To keep that from happening, maybe it’s time for another quick break: All right, now that we’ve gotten our jollies, let’s compile this bitch. EBOOKS We’ll start with ebooks because they’re easier. MUCH easier. In fact, paperbacks are so complex that you may well be crying at the end and clawing at your hair. That’s normal. Why do you think professional book formatters get paid so much money? There’s a science to it. But we’ll get through it together. Don’t you worry! And for now, ebooks will be a nice lead-in. Click “Compile.” CONTENTS PANE You’ll get a window that looks something like this: Make sure you click the “Contents” bar on the left of the compile window first. Our first step will be picking WHAT files we’re compiling into our .mobi ebook. First thing: down at the bottom, you’ll see two checkboxes. They say “Filter” and “Add front matter,” respectively. Now aren’t you glad we built those collections? Check both the check boxes. For the “Filter” line, select “Include,” “Documents in collection,” and then “[TITLE] KINDLE.” For the “Add front matter” checkbox, select “Front Matter>Amazon, Nook, Kobo.” If you’ve done all steps correctly up to this point, this will mean that the ONLY items in the “Content” window are those that you want in your final Kindle file. On the left side of the “Contents” pane, you’ll see a checkbox column labeled “Include.” Since we’re only showing documents we want, make sure that ALL of those checkboxes are...

How To Format A Perfect Novel: Part 2 (Meta-Data)

STEP 2: ASSIGNING META-DATA Okay, to get this to happen, we’re going to need to create some custom meta-tags. I’ll take a brief moment to explain what that is in case you’re not QUITE super-advanced in Scrivener (if you were, you probably wouldn’t need this tutorial). Meta-tags are user-defined tags in Scrivener. User-defined means they’re entirely up to YOU. You don’t have to create meta-tags if you don’t want to. If you elect to create meta-tags, what they’re called is up to you. The value for your meta-tags is also completely up to you. Basically, when it comes to meta-tags, you are almighty God. Meta-tags can be very helpful when doing sweet-ass little formatting like we’re about to do. But how to create them? So glad you asked. The menu command is “Project>Meta-Deta Settings…” and then the “Custom Meta-Data” tab. The keyboard shortcut is option+cmd+, (that’s a comma). And for the visually inclined, here’s a pointer: Now, you’ll get a little window that looks like this: On the bottom left there, you’ll see a little “+” sign. Click that to add new fields. My three fields are “Element,” “Chapter” and “Title.” “Chapter” and “Title” are pretty self-explanatory and useful to most books. You might want to swap “Element” for something else. I recommend “Character,” because if you do use symbols in your book (like I do) you’ll probably want different symbols for different characters. When you’re done defining your fields, click “OK.” Next, in the Binder on the left, I’ll click on the folder for Episode One. …and over on the right side of the window, you’ll see the custom...

How To Format A Perfect Novel: Part 1 (File Organization)

ADVANCED NOVEL FORMATTING (FOR PRINT AND EBOOK) WITH SCRIVENER Okay, that headline is a mouthful. But then again, this post is a mindful. See what I did there? Mindful? Like it will fill your mind? Oh, you. Formatting your novel is incredibly important. Too many indie authors and publishers put out books that look just like everyone else’s. There’s no argument that the most important part of your book is its words. Content is everything in the long run. But content isn’t the most important part of SELLING your book. The most important components of selling your book are probably, in this order: A kick-ass title A kick-ass cover A kick-ass book description After that, readers MIGHT click on the cover in order to view the inside, or download a sample copy of the ebook from Amazon (or Kobo or Nook or what have you). What happens at that point? Do they open an ebook with gorgeous, impeccable formatting that’s a work of art in itself, putting the painstakingly-crafted words you’ve slaved over on the best possible display? Or do they open an ebook that looks like every other ebook? Most of our reaction to books is subliminal. If it wasn’t, cover designers and book formatters wouldn’t make a killing out in the world of traditional publishing (blech). If the final book doesn’t look right, we write it off. (Rather than READ it off—get it?) But how can you format your novel so that it stands up against the big boys—not only successful indie publishers, but the traditionally published titles as well? I have, over the course of months, determined what...