Compile guidance

I’ve just finished a first draft of my novel, and would like to view it as a reader would, which I think will be helpful in exposing issue that need to be fixed.

I’m a complete novice, having used Scrivener only about a month. I love its organizational and formatting capabilities, but am confused about compiling. I’ve come across several help pages for compile, but they all assume knowledge I don’t have. Namely:

  1. Is compile a non-destructive command? I.e., does it permanently change anything in my project file?

  2. How do I do indicate bill and italic type?

  3. How and where do I get an ISBN number?

…and any number of other questions.

I’d sure appreciate a pointer to a comprehensive and easy to follow tutorial or video.

Many thanks!

1: Yes, compile is non-destructive to your project. It’s how you can produce multiple output types (PDF, ebooks, print, plain text, etc…) from the same project.
2: I assume you meant “bold” and italic script? Just mark the text that way. Highlight a word or phrase and type CMD-b for bold, CMD-i for italic. Or use the format bar (Format->Show Format Bar in the menu if it’s not visible).
3: There’s no specific place in Scrivener for ISBN. You’d have to put it in a file that will be used to create the “front matter” of your book. But if you’re that far along, and are looking to make your book ready for self-publication, then there are likely a lot of tweaks you’ll need to make. I’d suggest you look up Scrivener’s “Front Matter” features.

Once you’re ready to see how it all fits together, try the compile preset “Paperback Novel” and set the output to PDF to see how it turns out.

Thanks very much! I’ll give it a try and see what happens. Another question, if you’ll indulge me:

How do I deal with things like this in the Front Matter?

<$PROJECTTITLE>

<$author>

Do I substitute my title, etc, or is this picked up automatically from the project?

Try a compile and see! It should pick it up from the name of the project, but if you go to the Project->Metadata Settings menu, there’s a spot for you to specify a different title.

Very smooth.

But why doesn’t my front matter appear? It’s in what I think is the appropriate folder, which is to say the Front Matter > Paperback Novel folder, since I’m compiling as a Paperback Novel.

The rest of the book compiles fine. One clue could be that the very first page in the compile is the Title Page from Front Matter > Manuscript Format.

What step(s) am I missing?

Maybe you are not choosing the front matter file you want in the compile settings?