Changing Size of Book Manuscript

I am publishing my book via Scrivener and want it to be a 5x7 size. In order to have my print-on-demand cover designed, I need to know how many pages my book is. How do I figure that out / reconfigure my manuscript size for 5x7?

Thank you!

You can get an estimated page count using the Project/Project Statistics… menu command. The “printed” variant is the more accurate counter, and may need to be recalculated by clicking the relevant button in the palette, if the book is over a certain word count.

Page settings are set up in, believe it or not, the “Page Settings” compile option pane. :slight_smile: Alternatively they can be set up in the typical File/Page Setup… dialogue, too, but you should check the compile settings first, as it is possible for compile settings to override those.

Like I say these are all estimates, you won’t know the accurate number until the whole thing is put together as a book, probably in something like InDesign, but it should get you close enough for most purposes.

Hi Ioa

Isn’t Compile > Format As > Paperback Novel (etc) sufficient? Do people need ID when Scrivener can produce a clean, well-formatted, print-ready PDF that is virtually as good as what ID can produce? If readers are engrossed in the writing, what will ID give them that Scrivener doesn’t?


Briar Kit

My thoughts exactly! What I was expecting to do is output the manuscript in the paperback 5x7 sizing, then get the page count and have the cover designed accordingly, upload it all and it should be ready to go! To pull it into ID only takes more time and becomes very costly.

So Ioa, can it work this way?


Regarding the Page Settings in Compile, how do I set up the page for 5x7 book in there? It would be helpful if there were standard book setting to choose from :laughing:

ie. what do I input for the top and bottom and left and right margins?


It will do all right by itself, the OS X typesetting engine is in my opinion better than Word’s (but that’s really not saying much). You’ll get better text layout and density, hyphenation and justification (there is a lot more to it than just spreading the text out so it is even on both sides) with a professional package. Then there are of course the embellishments that may not be easy to do in Scrivener. Drop caps, better control over headers and footers (in content and placement), and in non-fiction, call-out boxes and other such things.

As noted the Paperback Novel preset is designed as sort of “one-shot” PDF. It’s set up for CreateSpace requirements, so you’ll maybe need to tweak the settings a bit if you are working with something else—they will be the ones that have information on what margin settings to use. If there are no guidelines provided, then maybe do a little reading on book design. There are some great guides out there, where margins are discussed in terms of comfort (think, where do I put my thumb while reading this) vs. economy (smaller margins means less ink and paper) and so on.

Here is a good start. It is written specifically for self-publishers looking to go the extra mile in making their books look great—all the tricks of the trade. You should be able to adapt some of that to Scrivener’s compile settings.

As for where paper size is set up in the compile settings, it’s in the upper right. Click the “Page Setup…” button and choose your paper size there, creating a custom size if necessary. If the button is disabled, then you either need to choose the paper size from your File menu as mentioned before, or de-couple compile settings from that, using the checkbox to the left (if you use regular Cmd-P to print outlines or bits of text, you may wish to do so as your home printer probably isn’t 5x7 :slight_smile: ).

Hi Ioa

Thanks for that. Understand the points about additional formatting. Think that for a lot of novelists, a clean PDF from Scrivener does enough … taking as much care with typography as possible, of course. A point I make in this recent post: … arkitesme/

Think the OP’s needs can probably be met by Scrivener by the sound of things. You peeps have made such a good piece of software. InDesign might allow extra bells and whistles in terms of design, but most readers won’t notice those things if the story they are reading is good enough, and so long as the layout is easy on the eye. And a lot of writers don’t want the expense or hassle of using InDesign if they only need to make minor cosmetic changes.

Plenty of designers using InDesign, Photoshop, Dreamweaver to design books, covers, etc, manage to make a total hash of their works. Powerful design tools still need competent users and good taste.

I can’t say I agree that Scriv’s ‘paperback novel’ will do it for most writers. The big problem comes with justification. Drop caps is a flourish that a lot of writers desire, but still they only occur at each chapter head, whilst justification occurs on every line.

One of the phenomena of any text-setting software, be it LaTeX or even HTML, is that you can get very nice-looking output with the defaults. The first time you generate the code, wow, looks so pretty! – and immediately thereafter, you want it ‘better.’ And that is when you start tying yourself into knots of customization, extra doodads, and flourishes that take up so much time … but you follow yourself down that rabbit hole deeper and deeper.

Still: if you want to save yourself the time and the grief: go with the default Scriv compile settings with as little tweaking as possible, and don’t look too closely at the results. ‘Good enough’ can in the end be actually good enough for a lot of writers.

  • asotir

Personally, with a few tweaks, I’m absolutely happy with Scrivener’s PB/PDF output. The text is legible, the justification (to me) looks fine, and there’s nothing that distracts from the reading experience. I appreciate that typographers might see issues that they’d like to address, but those things aren’t that critical … especially these days when so much reading is digital, with the typeface and size chosen by the reader.

When I read people dissecting the minutiae of different fonts, I respect their views, but don’t share them. I’m not keen on whacky fonts, but any clear serif or sans serif font that is easy on the eye is good enough for me and (I think) most readers.

I think that most people don’t know or care about ligatures, kerning, etc. If you share documents with others, you’ll know that most people just stick with the default font (face, spacing, alignment, etc) set by their writing program, or they use one of the mainstream fonts (Helvetica, TNR, Arial, Calibri, etc).

Easy to read text is king: minor adjustments mean very little and are often a question of taste. No typographer can please all of the people all of the time.

I, for example, dislike drop caps. I think they’re messy, ugly, and unnecessary affectations. I appreciate that other people like them.

I really can’t see that taking a novel from Scrivener and tweaking it in InDesign is going to make any difference to whether people will buy it or not: perhaps some people will like a spruced up design, but equally some people might be put off by that same design.

I think the same applies to cover designs, when people go on about how they’ve used Photoshop to create a cover (thinking that PS somehow covers them with glory), or how they’ve used a professional designer. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Using Photoshop doesn’t make the user a better designer. Using a professional designer doesn’t mean that they will produce a cover that people will like. Bookshops are crammed with awful designs by professional designers. Some designs might look more professional than others, but there is no such thing as a good cover. There are only two types of covers: ones that people like, and ones that people dislike. And those two types can be the same thing at the same time to different people.

Very interesting article series, thanks a lot!

Thanks so much for everyone’s opinions and adviceI

Ioa, I’m going to try your recommendations and see what happens :slight_smile: If I have any more questions, I’ll post them here in the next few days. Thanks again!