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Fun, sexy reads

Fun, sexy reads

Looking for fast-paced, sexy romantic suspense with military heroes? Blind Fury (#1) is a hot friends-to-lovers story in D.C. Blind Ambition (#2) is a sexy, second-chance romance on the run in the Caribbean.

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Scrivener Training for Everyone

Scrivener Training for Everyone

Need help with Scrivener? I provide Scrivener training to individuals and groups all over the world through online courses, in-person workshops, and private training sessions.

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Resources for Writers and Scrivener Users

Resources for Writers and Scrivener Users

A great reference for new and experienced Scrivener users, a guide to software and apps that help with productivity, and essays on every facet of writing from the Writer Unboxed contributors.

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Scrivener and NaNoWriMo for the win

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Are you ready to NaNo? If you’re not familiar with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), it’s a writing challenge where people from all over the world try to write at least 50,000 words toward a novel in one month. Specifically, the 30-day, family-commitment-laden (in the U.S. anyway) month of November.

NaNoWriMo is about quantity over quality. If you’ve ever wanted to kick the internal editor off your shoulder and try your hand at one of those “shitty first drafts” Anne Lamott is so fond of, now’s your chance.

If you’re up for the challenge, you only have a couple of weeks to prepare. So if you’re planning to write in Scrivener, now’s the time to make sure you have the tools and strategies that will help you make the most of your writing time.

Getting down 1667 words a day requires some serious focus. You won’t have time to stop writing for anything, especially not to edit or do research.

Here’s how to stay on track.

Download the NaNoWriMo Template or Trial Version

Current Scrivener users can download a special NaNoWriMo template that comes loaded with predefined project statistics and compile settings, including an obfuscated format that turns your words to gibberish without changing the final word count.

For those who are new to Scrivener, the awesome folks at Literature & Latte have put out their annual NaNoWriMo version of the Scrivener free trial that gives you extra time to play with the program and includes the template I mentioned above. Take the next two weeks to go through the tutorial and get comfortable. At the very least, you need to know how to create a document and start typing.

If you decide you love Scrivener, wait for the NaNoWriMo discount (for participants) at the end of November before you buy.

Put New Ideas in Their Place

Ideas are wonderful and necessary, but they can also be a distraction. What you need is a place to put them so you can get back to the scene you’re currently working on.

Consider creating two documents outside of the Draft/Manuscript folder (so they won’t count toward your 50K) before you start:

  1. A place to jot down concepts that come to you for future scenes. When an idea hits, you can make a note of it and get back to work. Mine is cleverly named Ideas.
  2. A log to keep track of changes you want to make to scenes you’ve already written. Don’t stop forward progress to make the revisions—that’s what December is for—just make a note of your proposed changes in the log and keep writing as if you already did. In another dazzling display of brilliance, mine is named Change Log.

Make a Note and Move On

Next time you get stuck trying to figure out your heroine’s witty comeback, the ideal name for the landlord’s vicious dog, or the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow, create an annotation (Format—>Inline Annotation) or a comment (Format—> Comment) to make a note of it and keep writing.

Later you can use Edit—>Find—>Find By Formatting to search for annotations and comments when you’re ready to work on them. You know, in December.

annotations

Block Out Distractions

Free yourself from distractions with Full Screen/Composition mode. Called Full Screen in Windows and Composition mode on the Mac (to avoid confusion with Mac’s full screen option), this feature blocks out everything but your blank page so you can just write.

Consider adding a custom background color or image to keep you in the right frame of mind.

Add a pair of headphones or earbuds—with or without music—and you’re ready to rock.

full screen/composition mode

Pre-Plot, or Don’t

If you’re a plotter, consider creating your scene documents beforehand either in the Binder or the Corkboard. If you like to plot using index cards, then select the Draft (aka Manuscript) folder, make sure you’re in Corkboard view (View—>Corkboard if you’re not), then click the green Add button on the toolbar to create a new card. Title it, add a brief synopsis of the scene and repeat.

Once you have all of your scene documents created it’s merely a matter of filling them with words starting November 1.

corkboard view

Pantsers can just show up on day one, create a blank document and write a scene. Repeat.

If you want to group documents into folders, select the desired documents and choose Documents—>Group.

Keep Research Handy

Don’t spend your precious writing time searching for a key piece of information. Before November rolls around, import any research documents, images, or references that you must have in order to write. Select the desired folder (outside of the Draft/Manuscript folder) and go to File—>Import. For web pages, you might want to use References instead.

Track Your Progress

Your goal is 50,000 words, and Scrivener makes it easy to track your progress with project targets. Go to Project—>Show Project Targets (Mac) or Project–>Project Targets (Windows).

You can set a target for the entire manuscript, as well as one for each writing session. The session target is nice because it lets you track your word count either over the course of a whole day, or in smaller writing “sprints”.

project targets window

NOTE: The NaNoWriMo site calculates word count slightly differently than Scrivener. For example, Scrivener counts a hyphenated word as two, while the NaNo counter looks for spaces to identify each new word and only counts hyphenated words as one. So, you might want to shoot a little beyond the 50K finish line just to be on the safe side.

Or don’t hyphenate. Hyperventilating is optional.

What Were You Thinking??

Don’t forget that NaNoWriMo is intended to be fun. It’s supposed to be a challenge that forces you to re-evaluate what you’re capable of. 4000-word writing days? You betcha. Writing for three, four, or eight hours in one day? I know you can do it.

Five minutes of daily meditation might help.

And in the end, even if you don’t reach 50K, you’re still a lot further ahead than you were on November 1st. That makes you a winner in my book.

Are you signing up for the challenge? If so, good luck!

Check back next week—or sign up to receive my blog posts in your Inbox at the bottom right—for tips on using Scrivener for iOS for NaNo.

For more information on the features mentioned in this post, sign up for an online class, check out Scrivener For Dummies, read more Scrivener articles, or schedule a private training session.


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Cool features in Scrivener for Windows’ recent updates

mouse cord spelling out "update"Scrivener for Windows has had several updates in the last few months. Even if you bothered to skim through the list, here are a couple of cool changes that might have skipped your notice.

Highlighting Affected Documents in Compile (version 1.9.7, October 2016)

I’ve been waiting for this one to come to Windows for a long time because it makes understanding the Formatting tab in Compile so much easier (great for teaching too).

What happens is that when you select a row in the Formatting tab, the documents or folders affected by settings for that row are highlighted in the Binder. No more guessing if you made changes to the correct row.

NOTE: If you choose “As Is” for a document in the Contents tab, it is not affected by the settings in the Formatting tab even though it’s highlighted. Same for documents not selected for inclusion in the Contents tab. I’ll be surprised if they don’t fix this eventually, so keep an eye out.

docs highlighted in Compile

folders highlighted in compile

Support for Non-printing Characters in Project Replace (version 1.9.6, August 2016)

Need to get rid of extra paragraph returns or tabs in your project? Doing so in the Windows version used to not be so easy. Now, with support for non-printing characters, it’s a cinch. You can use keyboard shortcuts to enter the desired non-printing character when using Project Replace.

Check out this post for the full procedure.

project replace

There’s more! Reading the change logs can make your eyes cross, but there are often gems in there. You might also find that a bug plaguing you was fixed. It’s worth a look.

The update to 1.9.7 is highly recommended as it purportedly fixes an issue “that could lead to the loss of text annotations during sync with iOS.” If you’re a couple of updates behind, no problem. You can skip straight to the latest version. Not sure if you’re up to date? Go to Help—>Check For Updates.

Anything other recent changes you’re excited about?

Want more help with Scrivener? Sign up for an online class, check out Scrivener For Dummies, read more Scrivener articles, or schedule a private training session.


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Oh, Montana (and Wyoming)

mountain pond

Pond above the resort as the sun crests the mountain

Oh, Montana. On Sunday, my husband and I—empty nesters that we now are—traveled to southwestern Montana to meet up with old friends, some of whom we haven’t seen since before the turn of the century. (I’ve been waiting for an excuse to use that phrase…)

Catching up was great, and doing it in a wild and beautiful place like Montana and northern Wyoming made it fabulous.

Here are a few of my favorite memories from our trip.

Stars

I don’t think I’ve seen so many stars since my parents drove us into the mountains in Utah at night and we lay in the back of our little pickup truck on the side of the road.

Out in isolated Chico Hot Springs (about an hour’s drive southeast of Bozeman, and maybe thirty minutes from the northern entrance to Yellowstone at Gardiner), there is little light to interfere with the view.

The stars. Were. Incredible.

Billions and billions of them filled the sky and the Milky Way looked like a band of gauzy clouds. We sat outside in the growing chill for hours, following the path of anonymous satellites and catching sight of shooting stars.

Absolutely breathtaking.

Mountains

I adore the mountains and ocean in almost equal measure, and one of my regrets is that Sacramento doesn’t have either the low mountains that cling to California’s coastline or the tall peaks that hug its eastern border.

In Southwestern Montana, on the other hand, the mountains roll in seemingly endless waves across the land. Some soft and green with pine trees, some brown with long grass, others barren or snow-covered with gray rock jutting toward the clouds like blades of a knife.

Chico Hot Springs Resort, Montana

Chico Hot Springs Resort, Montana

Yellowstone

I haven’t been to Yellowstone since I was eight. Pretty much the only thing I remember is Old Faithful and bears. On this trip, we hiked into northern Yellowstone—crossing into Wyoming after entering the park—to visit Hellroaring Creek, a clear, rock-strewn flow that feeds into the Yellowstone River.

The Yellowstone River from a suspension bridge on the Hellroaring Creek trail

The Yellowstone River from a suspension bridge on the Hellroaring Creek trail

Hellroaring Creek

Hellroaring Creek

Here there be bears. Luckily—though some in my party might have disagreed—we only saw paw prints. And a bison!

wybearprint

wybisontrail

Afterwards, we returned to Mammoth Hot Springs near the park entrance and walked around the mounds built up over the years by the (literally) steaming springs. The landscape is like something you’d find deep in a cave or on some imagined, hostile planet.

A mound at Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming

A mound at Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming

Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming

Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming

We ended our day trip watching elk eat, bugle, and even lock antlers, both at Mammoth Hot Springs and in the town of Gardiner, just outside the park’s Roosevelt gate.

Elk hanging out in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming

Elk hanging out in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming

Writing

I try not to worry too much about work when I’m on vacation, but my goal is to look at my story for at least a few minutes every day so I don’t lose my momentum. With Scrivener for iOS and a new hard-case bluetooth keyboard for my iPad, I managed to stay immersed in my manuscript while sitting on the lodge porch in the cool morning air, sipping hot tea, and soaking up the view of the turning trees.

View from the lodge porch at Chico Hot Springs Resort, Montana

View from the lodge porch at Chico Hot Springs Resort, Montana

Honestly, that’s not even work. That’s the dream.

Oh, Montana.


What are some cool things you’ve seen on vacation? Where would you like to visit next?

Letting go, again (or, fluffing my empty nest)

boys hanging from swing set

It’s their time to fly

Last weekend, I helped my youngest son move into the dorms.

Our nest is empty.

My husband and I have been looking forward to this new freedom, anticipating it as our kids grew, making goals for Life After Children. Not because we don’t enjoy having them around, but because we wanted to have a solid relationship that could stand on its own when they were both out of the house.

I believe we accomplished that, but there’s definitely an adjustment period where I have to learn to let go of my baby, let go of knowing what’s happening in his life day to day, let go of missing the random conversations at odd moments that I treasure most.

Two years ago, I wrote the post below when my oldest son moved out. Now that my youngest is away at school too, I can’t explain my feelings any better than I did last time.

Letting go, 8/27/14

My oldest son left home for college last week. It was both easier and harder than I expected.

He’s been working toward this moment for years, and it feels like we’ve been planning, visiting schools, and talking about test scores, grades, and financial aid forever. I was ready. He’s a solid, responsible, mature kid. This has always been our dream/plan for him, and he got into his first-choice university. I was ready.

But then as we said goodbye and walked away from his dorm on Saturday I realized that he was truly out of the house. Out. Gone. An adult who would come visit on breaks and during the summer, but with whom we’d no longer share the daily routine of home, the spontaneous conversations, dinners out on the weekend.

Yes, we are connected via text messages, email, phone calls, FaceTime, and airplanes. Yes, he’ll be back when school’s out next summer. But it’s not the same.

Maybe I wasn’t ready. Maybe I’ll never be.

That old cliché that “they grow up so fast” is a cliché for a reason. I can’t believe my eight-pound baby boy is now a freshman in college, making his own way in the world, (mostly) without us.

I’m happy for him, proud of him, and happy for us. I’m excited for him because he’s exactly where he wants to be, doing what he wants to do.

I’m also sad.

Letting go was easy because I trust him and believe in him. It’s also the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Using Scrivener collections and Project Search to populate your series bible

four books in seriesI’m trying to finish up book three in my Men of Steele series, and I can see why so many authors swear by a series bible. In case you haven’t heard the term before, a series bible is a collection of key details about everything and everyone in the world of your series, from the characters’ eye colors, birthdates, and the cars they drive, to their family history, the name of pertinent streets, and the timeline for major and minor events (current and backstory).

While I keep track of a lot of information for main, secondary, and even minor characters in the Project Notes section of each book, lately I’ve been having to refer back to previous books to look for all kinds of things: thoughts about one character by another, characters’ personality/reaction to events, details about their car/plane/home, what time of year something happened, what I said about a secondary character’s background, and on and on.

character list in project notes

Sample of character info list from Blind Ambition

If I’d been more savvy, I would have started tracking this information from the moment I began writing Blind Fury, and probably kept all the books in the series in one Scrivener project (more on the pros/cons of that here). That, or created a separate project solely to serve as the series bible.

Since I don’t have a series bible yet, Project Search and Saved Search collections in Scrivener have been extremely helpful for tracking down details about secondary characters (who might now be primary) in past books. I used the search to find documents in which Scott—the hero of my current book, who was introduced in Blind Ambition—appears. Since he wasn’t a main character, these will be instances where he’s either talking, or being talked/thought about. Here’s the process I used (Mac and Windows).

  1. Open project for Blind Ambition.
  2. In the Project Search text box, type Scott.
  3. Click the magnifying glass to change the search criteria to search Text only, only documents located in the Blind Ambition folder (I renamed my Draft/Manuscript folder). I also limited the search to be case sensitive, so I’d only get references to his name, not parts of another word (e.g. Prescott). I chose Exact Phrase rather than Whole Word, because Whole Word would miss things like “Scott’s” (but will catch words like “Scottish”).project search menuA list of documents that match my criteria appears in the left sidebar.
  4. Click the magnifying glass in the Project Search text box and choose Save Search as Collection. Name it Scott Mentions. saving a search as a collectionThis saves the group of files as a collection that I can view any time without having to recreate the search. (A collection is a subset of your documents, either based on search criteria or manually created by you. The documents are not copied or moved from the Binder when put into a collection.)
  5. Clear the Project Search text box to see the Binder again.
  6. Click the Collections button or go to View—>Collections—>Show Collections (Mac) or View—>Collections—>Collections (Windows). The Collections pane appears in the upper portion of the left sidebar.collections pane
  7. Click the Scott Mentions tab to view the list of files with “Scott” in them. Each instance of “Scott” is highlighted (red on Mac, yellow on Windows).viewing a collection's contents

From here, I can go through each document, noting down any important info about Scott for continuity, e.g. how he reacts to Tara and Dan, what kind of coffee he drinks when they see him in the break room, how he dresses, any offhand mentions about his past or where he lives, and the color of his eyes. This process can be used to search for anything from characters to locations to types of events, as long as you can narrow it down with a word or two.

Once you have a collection, it’s also a cinch to select and drag the files from the collection in one project to the Binder of another. Now you have them in the new project and don’t have to keep opening the old one for a quick search. Or, you could create a project to serve as a series bible (info only, no story text) and make that the repository for all new data about the series.

NOTE: Click the X at the bottom of the Binder to close the Collection. Click the Collections button or go to View—>Collections—>Hide Collections (Mac) or View—>Collections—>Collections (Windows) to hide the Collections pane.

To create a thorough series bible, I’ll need to reread my previous books. For now, the process outlined above is working well.

What do you include in a series bible? Got any other helpful tricks for creating one (with Scrivener or not)?

Need more help? Sign up for an online class, check out Scrivener For Dummies, read more Scrivener articles, or schedule a private training session.


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Getting back to writing (and giving myself a pass)

WRITE spelled out in block lettersI love writing. L-O-V-E it. The need to build a world, delve into a character’s feelings, create a mood, or explain a concept in a down-to-earth way (often with a bit of humor, and lots of em dashes and parentheses) has lived in me since at least seventh grade.

But that doesn’t mean I always sit down and do it, even when I theoretically have the time. A deployment, a new training platform, a high school graduation, my husband’s retirement from the Air Force, and a Boston-to-Sacramento move took far more of my mental energy over the last year than I expected. I got a little off track, a little out of routine, and my word count plummeted.

But now I’m out of hotels, into my home office, back on an irregular regular writing schedule, and most importantly, mentally back on track.

I’ve written on 17 of the last 18 days and produced more than 11,000 good words on my current WIP. *insert happy dance*

It feels fantastic. There is nothing like finally seeing forward progress in the story—my hero and heroine finally left the damn airport!—after months of going nowhere.

It’s more than being productive in a way that matters to me, but being immersed in my story daily, even if just for fifteen minutes. That daily attention keeps the ideas rolling in, and makes it easier to take advantage of the small gaps in my day where I can fit in a few words, because I haven’t forgotten where my characters are. Or who they are. Writing frequently brings back the joy I had when I first started.

That joy is worth more than gold. (Well, except you can’t buy books with it. Sigh.)

This is a lesson I seem to have to learn over and over, unfortunately.

But another lesson I’ve learned recently (also, again) is that sometimes I need to turn off the pressure valve and simply enjoy the distractions in my life. The last year has been crazy busy, but full of other moments that brought joy, some of them the last with my youngest son before he goes to college. Before we become empty nesters.

Before I theoretically have a lot more time to write. Again.

What gets in the way of your writing? How do you turn things around?

Using Scrivener for Mac to compile a PDF for print on demand

blind fury POD books

With Print-on-Demand (POD) services like CreateSpace, Lulu, LightningSource and others, you can make your book available to your readers with no upfront cost to you. Even better, with Scrivener you don’t even have to use Word to do it. You can just set up everything in Compile and create a POD-ready file. If you’re not interested in POD, the following steps still apply to creating a PDF for other purposes.

By necessity, this lesson requires some familiarity with the parts of Compile, though I do try to explain as much as possible. It’s geared for those who have experience with Compile, but can’t quite figure out how to get their PDF to be upload ready.

You’ll need to do some reading to determine the formatting requirements for the POD service you’re using. All of them publish guidelines on their websites. For this lesson, we’ll follow the guidelines for printing a 5.25”x8” book for CreateSpace.

NOTE: This example assumes a project with chapter folders and one or more scene documents within each chapter. You’ll have to adjust your settings accordingly if you have your project set up differently.

(Sorry, the full capability is Mac only until 3.0 comes out, but I get this question so frequently I figured I should finally write it up. 🙂 )

Preparing Your Project

For your PDF, your title page and other front matter may be formatted differently than for an e-book. You may also want them in a different location. For example, I put my acknowledgments and copyright at the back of an e-book, but the front of a print book. It’s up to you. It’s probably easiest to have two versions of the front matter items with each in its appropriate spot, which you can include/exclude in the Contents tab as desired. For the purposes of this article, I have my front matter in the Draft/Manuscript folder.

TIP: For documents with non-standard text and layouts (title page, dedication, copyright, embedded titles of front or back matter items that aren’t marked As-Is in the Contents pane), you might want to preserve the formatting before you compile. To do so, select the text that needs to be preserved in the Editor (before you open Compile), then go to Format—>Formatting—>Preserve Formatting.

If you need to force a blank page to get your first chapter to start on a right-hand page, you can insert a text document with only the following at the top of the page: <$BLANK_PAGE>. Without that tag, Scrivener will remove the blank page during the compile process.

  1. Once your project is ready, go to File—>Compile.
  2. From the Format As drop-down, choose Paperback Novel. NOTE: This will change to Custom once you start making adjustments to the settings. Do not change it back to Paperback unless you want to start over (i.e. lose all changes).
  3. In the Compile For drop-down, choose PDF.
  4. Select the Contents tab.

Ensure that all desired files are selected for inclusion, have forced page breaks if needed (for exceptions to your Separators rules like front and back matter items), and are set to As-Is if needed (for exceptions to the rules set in Formatting).

contents tab settings

Choosing Your Options

Print Settings

This tab lets you choose which type of layout to produce when working with PDF files.

  1. Choose the Print Settings tab.
  2. If you’re not using columns or end-of-page footnotes in your book, choose Publishing. This option gives you more control over layout, and is best for self-publishing.
  3. Deselect Underline Hyperlinks. If you have hyperlinks in your text, it’s best to spell them out as URLs for POD purposes, since the user can’t click them. Because they’ll be written out, there’s no need to underline them. (If you were creating a PDF to share online, you could leave this option and the next one selected.)
  4. Deselect Color Hyperlinks. Since our POD book won’t be printed in color, there’s no point in coloring them.

Separators

The separators tab is where you set the rules for what Scrivener “prints” as it transitions from one file to the next. Select the Separators tab and make the following selections.

  • Text Separator: Empty Line (to provide a blank line between scene documents)
  • Folder Separator: Page Break (doesn’t really matter since I don’t have back-to-back folders, but if you have both part and chapter folders, this will put a page break between them)
  • Folder and Text Separator: Empty Line (to provide a blank line between chapter folder title and document text)
  • Text and Folder Separator: Page Break (to start chapters on a new page)

separators tab settingsFormatting

This is where we can set the formatting for each type of file at each level within the hierarchy. We can adjust the settings for chapter auto-numbers, titles, and text.

  1. Select the Formatting tab.
  2. Select folder Level 1+ (row 1). This applies to our chapter folders.
  3. Uncheck the Title box to prevent the folder titles from printing. (In this case, I’m only using chapter auto-numbering, not folder titles. Leave this checked if you want both. You might find this post helpful for understanding how to work with titles and auto-numbering.)
  4. Click in the Format Editor on the line that says “Chapter One.”
  5. Click the “Aa” button to view the Fonts window. Choose your desired fonts. For mine, I’m using Helvetica, Light, 18. Close the Fonts window.
  6. Click the Section Layout button.
    Formatting tab selections
  7. Under the Title Appearance tab, ensure the Title Prefix is set to Uppercase (or whatever case you prefer for your chapter auto-numbering). Click OK.
  8. Leave the Page Padding (far right, center) at 8 lines. This will force Scrivener to start printing the chapter number about 1/3 of the way down the page.
  9. Select text Level 1 (row 3). This will affect the settings for your front and back matter documents (those directly below the Draft/Manuscript folder, same level as your chapter folders) that are not marked “As-Is” or fully preserved (i.e. Scrivener does not apply Formatting tab settings to documents marked As-Is.)
  10. Deselect the Title checkbox. NOTE: Marking a document As-Is on the Contents tab also prevents Scrivener from printing titles. For front and back matter documents that are marked As-Is, and for which I wanted a title, I typed the titles directly into the document in the Editor and preserved their format.
  11. Click on the block of text in the Format Editor, then click the “Aa” button to get the Fonts window.
  12. Choose your desired font and size. I’m using Garamond, 11. Close the Fonts window.
    Formatting Level 1 text
  13. If necessary, change the line spacing and space after paragraphs (available under the Line Spacing dropdown by choosing Other). I left mine as single spaced with no space after the paragraphs.
  14. Change the Page Padding to zero. (Because we want front/back matter to start at the top of the page.)
  15. With the third row still selected, press Command+C on your keyboard to copy the settings of this row.
  16. Select the text Level 2+ row (last row) to allow for changes to our scene documents.
  17. Press Command+V to paste the previous row’s settings onto this row. This saves us some time when two rows need to be similarly formatted.
  18. Click in the Format Editor, then change the line spacing to 1.1. (I feel like the extra .1 of space between lines improves the readability of the book, and is pretty common in most print books, POD or not. Again, you can change it to suit your preferences.)

Formatting level 2 text

Other Settings Tabs

Title Adjustments: Use the Title Adjustments pane if you need to suppress title prefixes (chapter auto-numbering) or suffixes for any specific document (this only applies to those not marked “As-Is”). Just click the gear button to choose the documents to suppress. This is most useful when you have a prologue or epilogue and don’t want it to be marked “Chapter One.”

Layout: I suggest you leave the Layout pane as it is. It’s good to have a * * * inserted when a scene break falls on a page break to avoid confusion.

Transformations: You shouldn’t need to make any changes to the Transformations pane unless you need to remove highlighting, text color, or hyperlinks.

PDF Settings: Leave as is. The Generate PDF Outline doesn’t really apply to POD. It just allows a PDF viewer to have an outline of the document.

Footnotes & Comments: All should be as needed unless you’re using footnotes. We mainly just want to ensure comments and annotations are removed (so readers can’t see our notes to ourselves).

Page Settings

This is where you set up the correct paper size, header space, and margins for you document. Read the publisher guidelines carefully to determine what you need.

  1. Select the Page Settings tab.
  2. Click the Page Setup button in the upper right corner.
  3. In the window that opens, click the Paper Size drop-down and choose Manage Custom Sizes.
  4. Click the [+] button at the bottom to create a new custom paper size and name it CreateSpace5.25×8 (as shown below).
    Creating a custom paper size
  5. Set the paper size to a width of 5.25 and a height of 8 inches (see image above). These are the outside dimensions of the book.
  6. Under Non-Printable Area, choose User Defined, if necessary.
  7. As shown in the image above, make the Top .5 inches and the rest zero.
    This is not the same as a margin. We are defining the area within the 5.25 x 8-inch page space that cannot be printed on. We are doing this to force our headers to print ½-inch below the top of the page. I had to play with this forever to figure it out. 😉
  8. Click OK to close the Custom Paper Sizes window, and click OK again to close the Page Setup window.
    In the future, you’ll be able to choose your custom page size and won’t have to create it again when making a PDF for the same size book.
  9. Now, we’ll set our margins. Keep in mind that we want our inside margin (left margin on a right-hand page) to be larger than our outside margin, to allow for binding. When setting this up, think only of a right-hand page. In the next section, we’ll turn on the “facing pages” option, which will automatically flip the margins for the left-hand pages. Set the margins as follows (you can always adjust them to your own preferences later):
    Top: .75 (If you want more space between the header and the book’s text, make this 1 inch.)
    Bottom: .75
    Left: 1” (To allow .5” extra space for binding the book)
    Right: .5”

Margin settings

Headers

How you set up the headers and footers is up to you. I’m walking you through what I did for Blind Fury and Blind Ambition. I based these settings on a major publisher’s book with a layout that I liked.

  1. Still on the Page Settings tab, click the Header and Footer button at the center.
  2. In the center header box, remove the placeholder tag and type the book title. I did mine in all caps with an extra space between each letter, and two or three between each word: M Y   A W E S O M E   B O O K.
  3. In the right header text box, type: <$p> (remember, we’re setting this up for the right-hand page; we’ll set up the left-hand page in a minute).
  4. Remove the <$p> from the center footer box.
  5. Ensure that the two checkboxes are selected. The first one suppresses the header on the first page and all new pages (front and back matter items and chapter first pages). The second option won’t print a header on any single page (most front and back matter items, as well as any documents short enough to encompass a single page).
  6. Change the Header font, in the text box at the bottom, to Helvetica, Light, 9. Your Page Settings pane should look similar to the one below.
    header settingsI didn’t change the footer font because I don’t have any footers. Obviously, if you do, you’ll want to change that too.
  7. Click the First Pages button at the center. This section lets us set up a different header/footer for the front and back matter.
  8. In our case, we don’t want any headers or footers to show until the second page of chapter one. To do that, ensure that the Different First Pages Header/Footer checkbox is selected.
  9. Click the Start Regular Header and Footer On drop-down and choose a number that will get you to the first page of chapter one. Since I have five front matter items, I’m choosing Page 6. If any of your front matter items are longer than one page, you’ll have to adjust accordingly. NOTE: The reason we want to start this on the first page of chapter one is so that the numbering is correct. Remember that we already suppressed headers for pages following page breaks, so the header won’t actually print on that first page, but the computer will start counting pages there.
  10. Ensure that all of the text boxes in this section are empty, as shown below.
    first pages settings
  11. Click the Facing Pages button at the center of the Page Settings pane. This section is where we turn on and set up the left-hand (i.e. verso) pages of our book.
  12. If it’s not already, check the box to Use Facing Pages.
  13. In the center header box, remove the placeholder tag and type the author name. I’m using all caps with an extra space between each letter, and two or three between each word: G W E N   H E R N A N D E Z.
  14. In the left header text box, type: <$p>.
  15. Delete any text from the other text boxes in the verso (left-hand) header/footer section. Your Page Settings pane should appear as in the image below.
    facing pages settings NOTE: Verso means left-hand. Right-hand pages are called recto pages. You may see this in some documentation.

Compiling

Whew! We’re ready now. You can add/change any of the items in the Meta-Data tab, but it’s not necessary. Also, we’re not using the Quick Font Override in this instance because we’re using different fonts for the headers and the book text.

  1. Click Compile.
  2. In the Save As text box, type the title of your book (taking care not to delete the .pdf extension). I used My Awesome Book.pdf.
  3. Choose a location and click Export.

Viewing the PDF

Here’s where we get to check it for issues. Locate your PDF file and open it in Preview (this should be the default unless you have different Adobe PDF viewer or creator, which is fine). Here’s what mine looks like in Two Page view.

Sample PDF pages

sample PDF pages, chapter 1

sample PDF pages right and left pages with headers

NOTE: Depending on how you view it, the margins and headers may appear incorrect, but remember that we’ve set it up so that the bound side of the page has an extra .5” margin, so everything will look a bit off center. Also, when you upload the file to create your book, the first page (title page) will be on the right, but in preview it may appear on the left (mine usually displays on its own page).

Another thing to notice is that Preview has set the page size to match the 5.25×8 settings. If you print this on letter-size paper, there will be a lot more white space around it. This preview is how the book pages would look before binding.

TIP: I’d also recommend you print out the first chapter or so to make sure everything looks correct in print. In your printer settings, make sure the Scale is set at 100%, not “Scale to Fit: Fill Entire Paper.”

If everything looks good, you’re ready to upload!

Good luck creating your PDF! Need more help? Sign up for an online class, check out Scrivener For Dummies, read more Scrivener articles, or schedule a private training session.


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