Using Scrivener

Learning then using

I still use version 2 for MAC; a newer version 3 is out but I can’t use it on my old MacAir.
It took some time to get familiar using Scrivener as it is a rather unusual software. I had to view several times the many video lessons before I managed to use it correctly.
Once I started using it for the jokes and worked on my notes for the book no. 3 I fully understood the advantages of Scrivener. Simply said, Scrivener is a must.
Read more about it:

Back in Beijing it still took me some time to complete the final output. And then I did ran into a brick wall when I tried to deliver the print and e-book versions.

I needed to finish first the output for the print version because the cover design company needed to know how many pages the book had. It was frustrating. Nothing went right. I was close to give up but then tweaked and tweaked the settings till one day it worked. For the print I could not really finish the task as it turned out correctly setting the margins and the positions of header and footer were not possible within Scrivener. I solved it by exporting from Scrivener to MS Word, something that worked well. The Table of Content is a bit tricky to format correctly but one needs to keep in mind it is NOT a Word ToC but a list of links where one must “update links”. Inside MS Word I was able to fine-tune the choice of font type and size as well as the headers and footers. Also to fine tune all pages so they would look nice – e.g. no title of a joke at the bottom of the page, shifting it to the top of the next page. Last step converting into PDF – the format requested by Amazon for the print.

CreateSpace is now history and Amazon directly handles the print too, making it much more easy.

Finally getting there

Once the problems with the print version were solved, the output of the Kindle files was much easier. Basically the challenge is to get the settings right in the compile dialogue, combined with the right settings for each document in the chapters (the settings are pretty much linked). In my case, see the screenshot:

the compiling dialogue

There are some add-ons to Scrivener that allow you to test the Kindle version in the Kindle app on the Mac desktop. The only tricky thing was to delete the old versions in the Kindle app: one needs to go into the (hidden) folder of Kindle in the MAC and there manually delete the old files. I was also able to put the test Kindle file in my iPhone to see how it behaved.

You must have a table of content

Amazon requires your book to have a table of content, and – it must be at the beginning of the book, not at the end.
So I was forced to artificially create a table of content for the mountain of jokes. Obviously the result is rather artificial and not always logical… Well I had no choice but to be creative, inventing chapters and making sure the length of the chapters was not too unevenly spread. It took some time… and finalizing it was easy with Scrivener.

My first book will soon have a little brother

No, not my new book

I posted a picture on Facebook of a shipment that arrived in my Beijing home forces me to clarify that my first book will soon have a little brother.

“Toxic Capitalism” was published in 2012, through AuthorHouse – a bad experience. I have been regularly importing 120 copies to Beijing, selling myself and through the well-known book shop “The Bookworm”. See:

The last shipment was a near disaster. Suddenly Chinese customs did not allow anymore shipments of foreign books of more than ten copies. There was no way around it and I had to send back the shipment to the publishing company in the UK, They then sent 120 copies to my daughter in Brussels and now we are slowly getting copies to Beijing. The picture shows a recent arrival of ten copies, celebrated with a Pussy. Yeah that was to wake up dirty minds. It is a passion fruit drink from The Netherlands, now distributed in Beijing.
So many of my Facebook friends thought it was my recent publication…
A friend posted this pic, yes it is still for sale in The Bookworm:

My next book

People talk about “writer’s block”. I think I have many more “blocks”. One is to upload my e-book to Amazon, supposed to be done this week. Please check the definition of “procrastination”! I must hold a PHD in that field.
So what is the book about? Well, you will have to wait till it is out, in e-book and in print, all through Amazon. Kindle will be first. Basically everything is done. I just need to do the electronic paperwork on Kindle website… A bit scary.

How I did it

My first book was done 100% on MS Word. It was a very complicated document. That went to the publishing company that made the e-book and the print version. The design of the (front) cover page was done by ourselves, with daughter Valerie being the final artist.
This time, 100% self-publishing and the second book is a bit of a learning curve on how to do it. Book number three is still a work in progress.
The second book was originally started using MS Word. Then I switched to Scrivener, a special software to write books and – produce the versions for e-book and print.
Learning Scrivener was OK but compiling for print and e-book was a real challenge. After many failed attempts I have now mastered the settings. The print output, in MS Word (exported from Scrivener) is done, for a format 6 x 9 inches paperback; page count is 359.
The e-book, Kindle version is also ready.
I did not use an third-party editor because of the special nature of the book (yeah, suspense), but my daughter Marianne suggested a few corrections. But after some searching I first hired a cartoonist to make a cartoon according to me ideas. Then the cartoon was used by a service company that makes the cover page for the e-book as well as the wrap-around cover for the print version (front, back, spine). All done.