How To Format A Perfect Novel: Part 3 (Titles)

STEP 3: GENERATING THE TITLES

Okay. So you’ve established meta tags. So fucking what? As I said, we’re going to use those meta-tags to refer to image files. But what image files?

The image files we’re about to create, of course.

There are many options for this. A lot of people (Ed Ditto included—hey, Ed!) use fontmeme.com. It’s a good resource. You can find a font you like, type your title, and then save it as an image file on your desktop. Me, I use Photoshop. I’m not going to go into a graphic design tutorial here. Basically I found a font I liked and a title arrangement I wanted:

I KNOW IT’S OFF-CENTER, DAMNIT! Click for larger image

And then save that as an image file on my computer. In this case, it’s going to be “E1.”

Click for larger image

Aha! Did you just realize where we were going with this? See how we gave our episode a custom meta-tag of “E1” and then created a picture file named “E1?” So you can probably guess what we do next. We take our image file and drag it into our Scrivener file. Anywhere is fine. I have a folder called “Images” and a sub-folder called “Episodes.”

No larger image for you!

Now, if you’re going to do “Element” pictures (probably “Character” pictures in your case) do that now. Individual character/element emblems are too widely varied for me to cover in this article. You know what you want them to look like. Make them yourself or hire someone else (COUGHCOUGHPANSY). But create ALL your image files for your episodes and elements/characters. Do that, and then get them into Scrivener.

There’s an important point here: if you’ve got multiple parts to your book, all of which have a “Chapter One,” then you can use one image file for all of them. However, your chapter TITLES will be different episode to episode. The way I got around this is that my image file for “Chapter One” is named “C1.” I use that same image for all of my “Chapter Ones.” However, my titles are labeled “1-1,” “1-2,” etc. That’s shorthand for “Episode One, Chapter One,” “Episode One, Chapter Two,” etc. When I get to Episode Two, they’ll start over at “2-1.”

This is how mine are arranged in Scrivener:

No larger image for you!

No larger image for you!

It doesn’t matter if they’re in folders or not. They just have to be in the Scrivener project.

So we’re cool, right? Right!

Wrong. You still don’t have a book yet, numbskull!

ONCE MORE INTO THE BREACH! STEP 4

Garrett Robinson

Over 100,000 readers have read and loved Garrett's books, like the fantasy hits Nightblade and Midrealm. He's also a film festival favorite with movies like Unsaid, and a tech guru who posts lots of helpful how-tos for writers and filmmakers over at garrettbrobinson.com.

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11 comments
soelver
soelver

Awesome tutorial - thank you!

It seems pretty complex, but you covered everything very well. Also loved all your comments throughout the whole thing. Kept me smiling :)

Is the paperback part of this tuturial somewhere else? It said on the last page to check back in a few days for it, but it also seems to be published in 2013. Perhaps you never made that part? Just curious :)

Once again, thank you.

Great job you did with this =)

billdowis
billdowis

Don't worry @Garrett Robinson I like that the "Episode One" is off-center under a centered "Realm-Keepers"


Anyone that doesn't is lame.

doolie2007
doolie2007

Thanks for the detailed tutorial, Garrett. What about black and sepia backgrounds? I'm one of those idiots that sets my Fire's screen to black with white text so I don't wake the wife when she's sleeping. Cranky wife = no fun! All these text images show up as blinding white boxes on a dark background. Any way around this?

Dave Lukas
Dave Lukas

Garrett, thank you so much for these tutorials!!!! They're very detailed and informative. How big to you make the images in Photoshop to get the best results? What about your element image? Just looking for some pixel dimension guides.

Garrett Robinson
Garrett Robinson moderator

@soelver I just keep learning more and more new stuff about paperback formatting, so I scrapped the tutorial I was working on and now I'm doing a brand new video tutorial! That will be out when I'm happy with it.


If you want a simplified version, simply do the same things above, but then export a Word doc instead of an epub or ebook file. Do your formatting in Word. Scrivener will have already taken care of the majority of the work, you'll just have to set page size, margins, etc.

Garrett Robinson
Garrett Robinson

Unfortunately, there's not. Per survey data I've been able to find, a very small percentage of readers do this, so I tend not to worry about it. Unfortunately, for that small percentage of readers (like yourself) things will look icky. It would be fantastic if Kindles and other ereaders would respect the transparency inherent in .png files, and that's why I use .pngs—because I think that one day, ereaders will do so. But until then, your titles may look just slightly ugly to readers who use the black and sepia backgrounds. If this bothers you, you can simply title your works with the default titling options available in Scrivener, but then of course the font will be exactly like the font in the rest of your book.

Garrett Robinson
Garrett Robinson

Hey, Dave! Thanks, I'm glad you're enjoying the tutorials. I put the dimensions in the next part, which in retrospect I should have mentioned here. I find that an image that's 2,000 pixels wide looks nice in the final product. Also, I've been experimenting with .TIFF images instead of .PNG because there's no compression. As soon as I get my first print proof in with the new images, I'll include them in the print sections at the end (this is one of the main things holding up those final sections).

soelver
soelver

Oh, that sounds even better :D

And yeah, I was especially wondering about the Word part, since I have been avoiding to buy that shit for 7 years. I'll avoid it a bit longer, and wait for your video then ;) Or go the easy route, and pay you to do it, when I get so far ;)

Also - I forgot to ask in the first comment; I could put in images in between the text, besides what you did here in the beginning of each chapter? I am thinking of a children's book with fluid layout.

Scrivener can't be used for fixed layout, I would assume?

doolie2007
doolie2007

Thanks for the reply, Garrett. Using transparent PNGs in your files for future ebook support is a good idea, but do you know if KDP, PubIt, etc. retain the transparency or do they convert the image files in the compiling/publishing process? Have you ever broken apart one of your files after it's been published to see if the transparency remains even though ereaders don't yet support it? I've only used TIFF files in my past published books because it offers the highest quality, but if the publishers retain the transparency I may switch to using PNGs.

doolie2007
doolie2007

I'll try it myself and report back.

Garrett Robinson
Garrett Robinson

When I tried using TIFF, my files looked like ass in the .mobi file. I have yet to see how it makes them look in print.

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