Creating an ebook/epub with Scrivener - best practice?

Hello all, your advice needed…

I’ve used Scrivener briefly in the past for standard manuscript writing but I am currently working on an ebook and wondering whether Scrivener is the best option?

Could anyone offer advice on the best practice for ebook/epub creation and if Scrivener is applicable, how to set up my project up in Scrivener - if indeed it is the best option?

As much of the text is already written, I’m just looking at how to collate it all and export in a format that will work as an ebook (*.epub file???) and I have a sneaky feeling I’ve not understanding, conceptually, how I should be doing this…

So, at the risk of being entirely off-base:

  1. If using Scrivener, should I be inserting and HTML tags into the actual text of each chapter? Or is this done on export. Will Scrivener automatically tag headers and the like with

    tags etc or whatever is needed for an ebook?

  2. Images - I can drag images from the Finder into the various chapters in Scrivener and resize them so they fit the page but does resizing the images within Scrivener alter the size they will be exported as? Or do I need to actually resize the dimensions of the images in Photoshop or similar before adding them to a page in Scrivener?

  3. I had a good search through posts and it seems that all posts in relation to ebooks and Scrivener turn up information about Multi-Markdown which is all over my head at present. Is there a good ‘idiots guide’ to this?

  4. At present, as Scrivener doesn’t directly support export to epub (although Scrivener 2.0 will apparently) is it a better option to simply copy and paste into InDesign or similar to make the ebook?

Thanks for any advice on this.

The answer depends on what other tools are available to you. If you’re willing to work with MultiMarkdown and calibre, it’s actually a pretty straightforward process. The HTML output can be converted to .epub or any other ebook format.

I had some issues with calibre’s graphical frontend on my Mac, so I ended up using the
html2epub command-line tool, which comes with calibre:

html2epub --profile=None --chapter=//h1 --chapter-mark=pagebreak --level1-toc=//h1 --level2-toc=//h2 --level3-toc=//h3 --authors="Charles Dickens" Untitled.html

Here’s the .epub file.

If you want to uses Amazon’s Digital Text Platform for your ebook, I would recommend to read John August’s article. The Kindle uses a stripped down version of HTML, so if someone took the time to write a style sheet for MMD, this format could be created directly from Scrivener.