Book Formatting and Layout in Scrivener

Scrivener is becoming one of the most recommended programs for writing books. And there are guides to using it. So you might be curious about how to take your Scrivener file and format it for print books and ebooks; and you may or may not be surprised to learn that, while Scrivener makes it pretty easy to convert your document to ebook format, it’s actually not suited for print formatting at all.

But since some of you may be writing your book in Scrivener, I’ll be adding guides to formatting for print in Scrivener (as much as possible), uploading some templates and styles you can use, as well as guides for exporting to Word for formatting, or converting to ebook.


Your Friendly Guide to Writing and Formatting a Book with Scrivener

Hey there, fellow wordsmith! So, you’re about to start your writing journey with Scrivener, huh? That’s awesome! This nifty tool has some cool features that’ll make your life so much easier. Let’s dive into the deep end together and see how we can turn your ideas into a neatly organized, beautifully formatted book.

Kicking Off the Adventure in Scrivener:

1. Starting Your Story: Alright, so after opening Scrivener, the first thing we’re gonna do is create a new project. If you’re planning to weave a magical world of fiction, pick the ‘Novel’ template. If you’re aiming for a reality check with non-fiction, ‘Non-Fiction’ is your buddy.

2. Tour of the Interface: Scrivener has neatly divided its space into three: The Binder (left), the Editor (middle), and the Inspector (right). The Binder is where you’ll line up your chapters and scenes. The Editor is your very own writing playground, and the Inspector is your toolbox for all those additional notes, links, and whatnot.

Unleashing Your Inner Storyteller:

3. Building Your Chapters: Over at the Binder, whip up some new folders for each of your chapters. Click the “+” sign and you’re good to go.

4. Crafting Your Scenes: Now within each chapter folder, you can make separate text files for each scene. Scrivener lets you move these around, making structuring your chapters as easy as pie.

5. Pouring Out Your Thoughts: Click on a scene in the Binder to select it, then let your creativity flow in the Editor. And don’t worry about losing your work – Scrivener’s got your back with its automatic save feature.

6. Organizing with the Corkboard and Outliner: Scrivener’s got two brilliant tools to help you manage your work. The Corkboard gives you a neat visual overview of your chapters or scenes with index cards. The Outliner, on the other hand, lets you see your manuscript in a structured outline format.

7. Setting Goals and Celebrating Progress: In Scrivener, you can set word count goals for your entire manuscript and for each writing session. Watching your progress toward these goals can be super motivating!

Giving Your Book That Polished Look:

8. Styling Your Text: You can doll up your text using the various styling options in the Format Bar. Scrivener also lets you create and save your own custom styles.

9. Preparing Your Manuscript: When your manuscript is all set and ready to go, it’s time to compile it. This is where Scrivener really steps up – it can convert your manuscript into a bunch of formats (including ePub, Kindle, PDF, and Word), all while letting you control how your masterpiece looks after it’s compiled.

10. Choosing Your Compilation Settings: Scrivener offers a bunch of compile presets. If you’re self-publishing, you might want to go with ePub or Kindle. If you’re sending your work to an agent or publisher, Word or PDF might be more up your alley.

11. Fine-Tuning Your Look: Once you’ve picked a preset, you can tweak specific settings. For example, you can set your font and spacing, add fancy headers and footers, adjust the layout, and more.

12. Compile and Save: When everything looks perfect, click ‘Compile.’ Choose where you want to save your shiny new manuscript, and you’re done!

And remember, Scrivener is like a treasure chest filled with tools and features, so there’s a lot more you can explore beyond this guide. If you’re keen to dive deeper, check out Scrivener’s tutorial (under ‘Help’) and other resources. Here’s to your awesome writing adventure! Happy writing, friend!

Pssst – why not try try my 24 chapter plot outline templates for Scrivener?

Check out this post next:

Should I use Scrivener to format my book?


Need a book cover?

If so, you should really check out DIY Book Covers to get a bunch of amazing book cover templates you can edit with Microsoft Word. There’s a free sample package to get started designing your own book cover, based on the design secrets of bestselling books.

You can also check out my main book cover design site, or my blog where I help authors and artists produce and sell their best work.