I visited a number of gardens this year that touched my soul and I wanted to collect the stories in a small book people could download. Hey Presto – having put together a draft that looked good I searched for the big button that would instantly upload it to the web. That was 2 months ago.
I’m still looking for the button.
For a long time, like many bloggers, I had a dream of publishing an eBook online.
Then I put the idea to the back of my mind and just listened out for ideas that would make it easier.
So then the feeling came back. I tried to create my eBook again. It got technically difficult and to remedy this I started listening to what other people had to say on the matter at my favourite watering hole.
Thanks to an online author/entrepreneur group I got motivated to try Scrivener. A free 30 day trial is available of this here
To be honest Scrivener had sat unopened on my desktop for 8 months before I finally broke the seal and dived in, basically because there was no choice and easing it out of the wrapper was faster with these 3 quick tips:
- The green circle with a plus sign on the tool bar creates a new page. This shows up as ‘untitled’ on left hands side. Click on the word ‘untitled’ to rename it. If you cannot find the new page look in the trash.
- To view your writing easily, make the font bigger and easier to read by clicking the 100% icon on the bottom bar and picking a larger number (this does not affect the size of the font in the finished document)
- Unlike Word, Scrivener saves your work every 2 seconds without you doing a thing. If you want to save a particular version click ‘take a snapshot’ of the document when you want it saved. You can then restore an earlier document.
Find your way around the Scrivener screen fast – Staring at your white blank document page to your right should be the inspector pane (upper synopsis extract and lower notepad) and to your left should be the binder pane (full of folders and titled documents). You can make the panes disappear or reappear by selecting ‘View’ and then ‘Layout’ and then adjust hide or show options for ‘Inspector’ or ‘Binder’ panes.
I share the details I have overheard about Scrivener here as if you would like to publish an eBook from your word document or start a book from scratch Scrivener can do a lot to simplify this for you. All you need to do is select menu ‘File’ and option ‘Compile’ when you are ready for Scrivener to produce your document into eBook formula. It takes minutes (depending on WiFi speeds and document size).
One thing I have learnt is that it is more empowering to put a document out as an eBook compared to a pdf, yet both are easy to do.
My end result that I am beta testing is my brand new eBook for free ‘17th Century Sanctuaries’. So if a free garden guide would sit well on your kindle shelf please download with my complements here and let me know your comments of my eBook in progress.
It took me a year to embrace Scrivener. I built up to it by using tips I had overheard and I share some more of these gems below.
When opening a project for the first time the ‘blank format’ is a good one to start with as there are less features to grapple with. When you open a new project in Scrivener you need chose a format for it (radio plays, academic papers, novels are some examples).
The novel format has useful tools to ease the chaos of the creative writing process, especially when used during the next NaNoWriMo month. Motivation will be at an all time high with the weekly prompts that land in the inbox, free of charge and it will be easy for the finished result to uploaded fast by avid readers.
I am yet to try out the ‘novel’ format next and it looks exciting. Different colours can be assigned to each character, which will help with continuity. Text can be rearranged with a click of a button and grouped into character viewpoints.
To summarise, here is a step by step guide to creating your first document in Scrivener straight out of the box –
- Everything inside the folder called ‘draft’ (visible on the left hand side of your screen) is what goes into your eBook (unless you adjust the options available before you click ‘Compile’)
- Insert images onto the page by dragging and dropping or clicking the ‘import’ option from the menu bar.
- You can adjust the size of photos in your document by double clicking on the image. A menu pops up with arrows you can move to change the size of the picture.
- The icon on the bottom right let’s you decide a word count total for the day, which is great for keeping your productivity on track.
- A project can be renamed by clicking on it’s title as shown on its icon.
In short, Scrivener has a lot to offer in terms of speed, efficiency and practical fixes for your writing process and a small investment of time is needed to get the most out of its capabilities.
Some features on the tool bar look like great time savers. ‘Cork Board View’ from ‘View’ menu lets you move around the sections of your book to change the order of the scenes.
The biggest benefit of Scrivener comes when a colleague asks at short notice to receive a document in any one of a number of formats (.epub .mobi or .pdf) and you can produce this from your saved draft, at the click of a button.
One thing that has helped my productivity is to click on full screen view and remove all distractions. You might like to test this for yourself, so that your writing gets your full focus and lets you write your next masterpiece for your readers to download.
I have shared ideas with you here that will let you publish an eBook in a fast, easy and cost effective way. If you have already started your document in Word this is not a problem. A flexible tip to remember is that you can import and export the document in Word and other formats.
Now you know how to operate Scrivener you may think differently about how you compile your next publication. Scrivener has the power to help you with a variety of projects like creating info products, course materials and it can also be used to write blog posts.
One solid advantage is that any formatting you save in Scrivener will be exported along with the document If you are already a Scrivener expert and this is basic knowledge for you, please share any further tips!
These tips were gained from overhearing snippets of chats between writers. Catch up on other gems that have been overheard here and below
and enjoy my humble first eBook here!