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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Scrivener #8 - Outputting A Manuscript To Word

This is the eighth in a series of blog posts based on my experience with Scrivener - A Swiss Army Knife of a tool for writers. The complete series can be found HERE.

It's been a little while since I last posted about my experiences using Scrivener; nearly six weeks to be exact. During that time I've continued to use it and my love for it has in no way diminished. But today I thought I'd write a little about getting the information out of Scrivener and back into Word in order to publish your novel / ebook.

Scrivener comes with a powerful tool for 'compiling' manuscripts into a different format. I like to do my basic reformatting using Scrivener and then final formatting using Word. I have set up a compile preset that I use for all of my formats. This format controls page breaks, separators, headers and footers, page numbering, output font, etc. All this is available under the compile feature. Play around with it for a while until you become familiar with it, and then save your settings so you can re-use them again. As a note, this is a part of Scrivener that is one of the most powerful and also most difficult parts to use. Time invested here will pay off later. There is a video on the Scrivener site that helps explain the basics. Go watch it!

Once you have your format as you want it, you then need to select a manuscript to compile and finally tweak any other settings. Then choose how you want to export (RTF, PDF, ebook) and let it happen! I usually select RTF format and then open the document up in Word and add any final formatting (margins, paper size, other select text, picture reformatting) before I upload the final document to Amazon, Createspace, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, etc. Even though Scrivener has output formats for ebooks, to date I have only used these for my own internal use, and not for uploading to Amazon, etc. I would rather let Amazon convert a well-formatted Word file (or PDF) than risk the format that Scrivener produces. Just my preferences.

So that's it in a nutshell. Scrivener takes the hassle out of writing a novel and then lets you export it back into Word for some final tweaking. The best of both worlds and an Indie Author's delight!

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