How to Format ePub, mobi, and Smashwords eBooks with Scrivener -- The Ultimate Guide

How to Format ePub, mobi, and Smashwords eBooks with Scrivener — The Ultimate Guide

A Step by Step Guide to eBook formatting with Scrivener

Open Project Templates Menu

When you open Scrivener, navigate to the Project Templates menu.

Open Project Templates Menu

Choose Fiction Templates

Click on the fiction category. You will see a variety of options here, from novels to short stories. Choose the one that is appropriate for your project. I will use the Short Story as a base for this tutorial.

Choose Fiction Templates

Save As a Template File

You will be making a master file from this, so name this project something appropriate. My file is named “Ebook Template.”

Save As a Template File

Create Your Base Document

Scrivener will make a nice and useful file for you, with a place for all of your reference material. I don’t use any of that, so I’ll Ignore it for this tutorial.

The part that’s important for us is the section marked “Short Story.” Only the things in this folder will actually go into our ebook.

Create Your Base Document

Add the Main Elements of Your Book

Now add the main elements of your books.

I like to have a table of contents, my story, a letter from me to the reader, and links to my other books. You can arrange it however you like. It can have folders with chapters, more pages, just your story, whatever.

Just be sure to put everything in the order you want it to show up.

Add the Main Elements of Your Book

Create Front Matter for Smashwords Upload (Optional)

You only need this step if you are distributing through Smashwords or another platform that needs a .doc file.

  1. Create a new folder and label it “Front Matter.”
  2. Make sure that it is not nested under “Short Story.” It should be at the same level as “Short Story.”
  3. Add a cover page to “Front Matter.”
  4. Add a License page.
  5. Add a Contents page. I know we already have one, but the Scivener created Table of Contents does not work for the Meatgrinder. So we need two: one for epub and one for .doc.
Create Front Matter for Smashwords Upload (Optional)

Create Smashwords Contents

  1. Select whatever documents you want to appear in the table of contents using the command key.
  2. With those selected, click the “edit” menu.
  3. In the dropdown, click “copy special”.
  4. In that dropdown, click “Copy documents as Scrivener Links.”
Create Smashwords Contents

Paste into Smashwords Front Matter Contents

Paste into the page titled Contents.

Tah dah! You have a table of contents now. Format it however you like.

Paste into Smashwords Front Matter Contents

Add a Cover

  1. Drag your image into the binder.
  2. Retitle the page “Cover.”
Add a Cover

Create Smashwords License Page

  1. Navigate to the License Page.
  2. On the page, enter the required Smashwords material
  3. Add the Title of your story, along with your author name. Format it however you like.
  4. Add your copyright info.
  5. Add the words “Smashwords Edition.”
Create Smashwords License Page

Compile Contents for ePub or Mobi

Okay, here’s where the magic happens!

  1. Click Compile.
  2. Select format as eBook.
  3. Select all documents you want to include in your book.
  4. Click the toggle for page breaks on each document you want page breaks before. For example, you probably want a page break before each of your chapters.
  5. Click the As-is toggle if there is a page with special formatting you don’t want Scrivener to mess with. For example if you have a special page with all kinds of centering and a-typical justification.
  6. Select Compile for ePuv or mobi, depending on what you want. I’ll do ePub here.
Compile Contents for ePub or Mobi

Compile Contents for Smashwords

For Smashwords, you’re going to add that front matter we made earlier.

  1. So click the tab on the bottom and navigate to the folder holding your front matter.
  2. Set Compile For: to .doc
  3. Make sure to unclick the Table of Contents, since that doesn’t work for the .doc format.
Compile Contents for Smashwords

Compile Separators

Set all of the separators to empty lines.

Compile Separators

Compile Separators for Smashwords

This is the same as for ePub, but if you want to have special characters separating the scenes you can do something different.

  1. Click the toggle for Text Separator.
  2. Navigate to Custom.
  3. Put whatever you want in there. Smashwords reccomends three stars.
Compile Separators for Smashwords

Compile Cover

Under the Cover tab, navigate to your cover page.

Your image should show up in the box.

Compile Cover

Compile Formatting

This is where you determine how the text is formatted in your book.

The image shows the default setting, which is what I use for ePubs.

By checking the Title toggle, you choose what hierarchy of of documents display their titles. By checking the Text toggle, you are deciding the same thing for text.

The settings below mean that all folders and all documents with nested documents only display their titles, not their text. The only documents that display text are single documents.

You can change the font and style of the text by directly selecting it in the preview window and changling the settings as you would in a word document.

Compile Formatting

Compile Formatting for Smashwords Part 1

This will change based on how you have your story set up, but the basic process is the same.

  1. Assuming that folders are your chapters, select the top level folder.
  2. Make sure only the Title box is checked.
  3. Go down to the Preview Window and select the text.
  4. Click the Font button, it looks like a slanted A.
  5. A window will pop up, choose your font settings there. Smashwords likes simple formatting, so I recommend font like Arial or Verdana, Bold, and size 18.
  6. Do the same for the next level of sections.
  7. Also, for each step make sure that Page Padding is set to 0 lines.
Compile Formatting for Smashwords Part 1

Compile Formatting for Smashwords Part 2

  1. Go to the level of document that will be holding your text. Here it’s the third level.
  2. Make sure both the Title and Text box are selected.
  3. Go down to the preview window like you did before, and select your text.
  4. Click the font button again. The same window will pop up.
  5. Make sure the title has the same font as everything else.
  6. Make the text have the same font and change it to 12 point font.
Compile Formatting for Smashwords Part 2

Compile Formatting for Scrivener Part 3

Now for the paragraph and line spacing.

  1. Click the little paragraph spacing menu on the right.
  2. Scroll down to where it says “Other.”
  3. Click that, and a menu will pop up.
  4. Make sure the Line height multiple is set to 1.0.
  5. Now you get to choose either lines between paragraphs or indentations. You can’t have both.
  6. If you want indentations, Scrivener does that for you.
  7. If you want lines (which is not standard for fiction, by the way) then you need toa adjust the Paragraph spacing “after” section.
Compile Formatting for Scrivener Part 3

Compile Layout

  1. Skip Title Adjustments.
  2. Click Layout.
  3. Make sure all toggles are checked under Table of Contents.
  4. Write “Table of Contents” under HTML table of contents title.
Compile Layout

Compile Transformations

You can ignore this tab, but I check these three boxes just to clean things up.

Compile Transformations

Compile Page Settings for Smashwords

  1. Go to Page Settings.
  2. Make sure all boxes saying header and footer are empty.
  3. Tick the two boxes underneath, saying no header or footer.
Compile Page Settings for Smashwords

Compile Meta-Data and Finish!

  1. Skip to Meta-Data
  2. Fill in information as you see fit
  3. Click compile.
  4. You’re done!
Compile Meta-Data and Finish!

Save Compile Settings

So you probably don’t want to have to do this again.

  1. To save, click on the toggle next to Format As.
  2. Go down to Managle Compile Formats.
  3. Click it.
Save Compile Settings

Manage Compile Format Presets

  1. Click on the plus sign at the bottom right.
  2. Type in a name for your compile settings.
  3. Click OK
  4. Saved!
Manage Compile Format Presets