Another Self-Publishing Success Summit presentation that I found very interesting was the one that Joseph Michael did about Scrivener. In this post I’ll share some of the things he shared with us about using Scrivener to write eBooks.
One of the first things he explained was that Scrivener has a few different templates – blank, fiction, non-fiction, and script-writing templates. Scrivener also consists of binders which collect everything that you do on a project. The binders have three main containers – the draft container collects all the writing you do on a project. Scrivener uses this folder to compile or export your work. The research container is where things like pictures, videos, web pages, audio files, and anything related to research go. And the trash container contains stuff that you don’t want. It stays there until you permanently delete it – it’s similar to the Recycle Bin in Windows.
Another thing he explained that I thought was important is that if you’re using Microsoft Word to write, like I am, you can transfer your writing from Microsoft Word to Scrivener. All you have to do is click on the top level folder, choose “File,” “Import,” and “files” – this brings up the regular computer browser. Here
, you’ll find the Word document you want to import and Scrivener will bring it into the program. If you want to split your document into sections, all you have to do is highlight the section, go to “Documents,” and choose “split” You can also put a pound (#) sign before the section titles you want to split into different documents. You can also put pound signs in your Word document and Scrivener will split them into different documents when they get imported.
One view that Scrivener has that’s very useful is the Cork Board view – it almost looks like a bulletin board with index cards pinned to it. There are many different things you can do with this view. You can change the colors of the pushpins depending on what you want to use them for – for example you can change them to show the point of view of different characters if you’re writing a fiction book, or if you have a non fiction book that you’re splitting into different sections, you could change the pushpins to reflect which section each card belongs to. You can also use these colors in the binder and on the index cards themselves. The cork board also has a status option that you can use to show if something is a to-do item, a first draft, a final draft, etc. The progress option can be used to show how much progress you’ve made on your ebook – you can set word count targets and/or deadlines for different scenes or chapters. You can also set the days of the week you plan to write. You can also use the text option to see how often you use different words. You can also make document comments by highlighting the text and then clicking the sticky note icon at the top of the page and typing your comment. You can use the document notes section to type notes to yourself about the document – for example, things you want to change. You can use the document references section to list internal or external references you’ve used in the document. The snapshots option allows you to try something different without creating a whole new document. If you decide you don’t like what you’ve tried, you can click “Roll Back” to go back to your original document.
Another view that Scrivener has is the Research view. Scrivener actually has its own built-in web browser so that you can do your research and save important information in your Research folder. In addition, if you have images on your desktop you want to include, you can drag and drop them right into the reference folder.
When you’re finally done with your eBook and you’ve got everything done the way you want it, you can use the “Compile” function to compile your ebook. Just choose your chapters, go to “File” and hit “Compile.” Click on the text boxes for things you want to include or exclude. You can also add page breaks from this menu – just click on the check box on the Page Breaks screen.
I hope this summary of the Scrivener webinar with Joseph Michael was helpful – if I’ve left anything out or if you’ve used Scrivener and have any additional tips, please feel free to comment below. I look forward to trying out Scrivener (and hopefully buying it) to use for my writing.