ARC formatting, password protection, image-as-page

First post, so I apologize if the very first thing I do out of the newbie gate is asked for more features. Well, I say that, but these might actually be features and I’m just too green to know for sure, so I’m phrasing this in the form of a request. If they exist, please correct me.

So, the absolute next thing I must say is how much I love the workflow I have in Scrivener. I use the split screen with Inspector enabled and I love having my draft up and then synopsis/character notes easily available on the same screen as well as having a place to jot down notes (that being the Inspector pane). I’m a recent convert from another writing software and I am not regretting the transition in the least, although there are a couple of things I like about said software.

One of those things was the ability to print out my manuscript in an ARC or gallery format (two-column, single-spaced landscape) for editing and review. While not essential, it gives a good impression of what the manuscript would look like in paperback format.

Second would be the ability to place image files in place as pages in the manuscript, specifically at cover pages. This would only be necessary on e-books or self-published materials, but would still be a nice feature.

Finally, some form of encryption or password protection would be nice. I move my manuscripts back and forth from desktop to laptop via Dropbox so I at least have the security offered by the Dropbox login, but having an additional layer of security would be even more reassuring.

Thank you

Welcome to the boards!

Why not just use PDF and the basic settings that closely or precisely mimic actual paperback metrics? I didn’t make an effort to do this perfectly, but here is a very rough example by setting the paper size to 6x9” with 0.25” margins all around. Here it is as viewed in Adobe Reader, with 2-page display mode enabled:

Paper and margin settings are enabled in the Page Settings compile option pane (if you’ve never compiled before, you might wish to read up on it a bit in the user manual, but you can do a very straight-forward setup by selecting “Original” from the Format-As dropdown, then clicking the blue expansion arrow to view all options, and set the paper settings).

Once you get everything set up the way you like, you can just click the “Save Preset…” button in the bottom-left of the compile pane. That will add your settings to the Format-As pull-down for future “one click” use.

Hmm, you shouldn’t actually have a problem doing that. Perhaps the images you are trying to insert into the text are of a format that Scrivener does not recognise. If you drag them into the Binder (try the Research folder), instead of into a text file, do they show up as pictures?

But at any rate, as for e-book covers go, you don’t want to just put a picture in the text flow. There is a special technical wiring that needs to be done to declare a picture as a “cover”. This cover image is used to generate catalogue thumbnails and is often displayed in the reader’s stream as though it were “in” the content, but in fact it is just a picture included with the e-book, and declared in a special meta-data file as being a cover graphic.

Fortunately, all of that geeky yibbering is something you don’t have to worry about with Scrivener. Just drop the cover graphic into the Binder (not in the Draft), and when you go to compile using the e-book format you’ll find a “Cover” section in the expanded options area. You’ll be able to select from any of the graphics imported into the project to be declared as a cover for you. This will produce an industry standard cover for your book.

For self-pub PDF, you would want to insert any cover graphics as a title page or something, but again there should be no problem dropping a graphic into a text file.

We’d really rather not get tangled up in the topic of data security. Claiming to protect anything from cracking and decryption attacks means staying constantly on top of black hat channels and patching security flaws. We’d rather leave that whole tangle up to the pros. There are good “vault” solutions out there that let you drop files and folders into encrypted container formats—not to mention nearly every modern OS has hard disk level encryption at this point. That doesn’t help you if you distribute your data to servers that are open to the Internet, or the “cloud” as they are calling it these days, but I’ve always said: if you put something on the Internet, it should only be as confidential as anything you’d consider writing on a post card. Don’t use Dropbox if your data is confidential and requires encryption. If you absolutely cannot use hardware to transfer data and must use the Internet as a substitute for a USB drive/flash stick, I’d consider SpiderOak, which is a bit slower and less elegant, but all of your data is encrypted on your computer before it even starts traversing the Internet, the SpiderOak people have zero knowledge of your data. It’s just a bunch of scrambled bits on their server. This is in contrast to Dropbox where any employee can (though they probably don’t, but who really knows) load and read your files—which means any hacker gaining entry to their systems can do likewise. That’s where the postcard effect comes in. Probably nobody will ever read what you write on a postcard—but anyone along the delivery chain can, without breaking any seals.

One last thing on that topic, there are a few places where Scrivener stores data that you should be aware of. Automatic backups (set up in the Backup tap of [b]Tools/Options[/b]) create a duplicate of your project each time you close it. If you are encrypting the base project in a vault or something similar, but not the backup folder, then that kind of defeats the purpose. You’ll want to either disable backups on the confidential projects ([b]File/Back Up/Exclude From Automatic Backups[/b]), or point the backup location to a secured spot. Scratch Pad is another thing that could be insecure as it writes its files to your Documents folder by default.

Thank you for your incredible response!

I’m incredibly pleased to learn that I can create ARCs in Scrivener; they are a wonderful way to present a manuscript for peer review. I’m pleased that I can continue to preset my documents in this way. I’ll look into setting up the cover image, so thank you for the details instructions on accomplishing that as well.

As for Dropbox, I’ve always been uneasy with how vulnerable it can be, so will look into other options. I suppose it’s somewhat conceited to think someone would want my manuscript, but weirder things have happened. Thank you for your suggestions on this matter.