Category Archives for Formatting

Formatting with Scrivener

March 21, 2016

You’ve finished your book, and have decided to self-publish it!

It’s a wonderful, exciting step forward after all the work of writing, editing, rewriting, re-editing, and in essence doing everything you can to make sure your book is perfect. You’ve gotten a book cover for your book, and it’s so pretty, you can just gaze at the art for hours.

Now, though, it’s time to format and upload that book.

While formatting itself is not hard, per se, but it is a bit time consuming and can be frustrating.

Be prepared, no matter how you do it, to re-do that first book several times until you get it right.

Don’t get mad at yourself for having to do it again.

It’s so hard not to–I know, trust me–but like anything, with practice you’ll find a way that works best for you.

I choose to use Scrivener to compile my finished books into an .epub file before I upload. (Scrivener is available for PC or Mac, and is very reasonably priced). This is not the only use for Scrivener–it has a very nice writing program and story organization (binder), also it never “trashes” anything, just moves it out of the way.

Working in Scrivener is very simple. Like in any program, it has a little bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it’s very easy to use.

Simply put:

  1. You start a new file (a project), and Scrivener has multiple premade templates to use, depending on what you’ve written (fiction, fiction in parts, non-fiction, etc.).
  1. You import your file. You can import multiple word processing file types. Also, be sure to upload your cover art into the program so you can put it in the finished document.
  1. Split your document into chapters and/or scenes. Scrivener allows for making each chapter a folder and putting each scene in each file.

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Vellum – Ebook Formatting for Authors

Interview with the creators of Vellum: Brad Andalman and Brad West by Michelle M. Pillow

Book formatting has improved by leaps and bounds over the last several years for DIY authors. In 2008 I remember staring at html coding to fix book errors, and utilizing multiple book generators to get all the formats I needed for all the vendors who had different requirements. It could be a time consuming nightmare. (Let me just say, zipped html file to make a kindle mobi). Then, I had to hope that the vendor's grinder took the book and didn't mess up the tweaks I'd made. And then, I'd have to hope that a vendor didn't suddenly change a requirement or a device feature that made me have to go re-format backlist all over again. Yes, that nightmare happened on a couple occasions. Nothing like three straight days reformatting 75 gazillion books. (I may be exaggerating a little on the number)


Luckily, times they are a changin'. I've used darn near every program that's come on the market over the years, and (if you happen to be a MAC user) Vellum is one of my favorites.  It's fairly simple to use, has a fast learning curve, and the best part is they continually do updates to the program to keep it up-to-date with vendor standards. So, say Amazon decides they suddenly want all the TOCs (table of contents) to include a picture of a peanut butter sandwich, I'm pretty sure the Vellum guys would make that update happen. Why is that important? Because instead of my having to redo an entire book or mess with html coding, I simply open Vellum and re-generate the book file in a matter of seconds, upload and done!

Another thing worth mentioning about this company: The few times I've had questions or concerns, their customer service has been great about getting back to me with an answer.​

The two creators of Vellum were nice enough to answer some questions about their software.

Thank you, Brad and Brad, for taking the time to talk to us.

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Publishing Checklist

I built this for myself as a checklist for things to make sure and get done with every book release. With everything I’ve learned from this amazing group, I thought a concise list would help me, and then anyone else who wanted to use it, hit as many of the “must do” things before a book releases.


Publishing Checklist:

  1. Finish the book.
    1. Put it away for a week, let it rest.
    2. Send to beta readers for feedback
    3. Write Promo
      1. Blurb
      2. Tagline,
      3. Synopsis

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Font Resources

November 16, 2014

Here are lists of font resources. Make sure you check the licensing for each individual font before you use.  Some websites may say all are free for commercial use, but you have to look carefully!!