Exporting my finished book

I’ve been working on my book now for three long year and tomorrow I should finish the final section. It’s a very technical subject so it’s been torturous breaking everything down into simple concise information that is easily understood yet still accurate.

The book is almost 90,000 words and I’ve always created automated backups but I’ve never exported it from Scrivener. I planned to create the book layout in iBooks Author, though I’ve never used it before and then it would be exported in PDF format.

Is there any suggestion for the best way to transfer everything from Scrivener to iBooks Author? I’ll still need to add images and sort out all the formatting but this is my first book completed in Scrivener so I’m a little anxious about doing this properly and not messing anything up.

EDIT: I forgot to add that I’m using the Mac version Scrivener 2.6.

Why not File > Compile your book to Word format via Scrivener then import that into iBook Author?

Alternatively File > Compile your book to ePub format directly using Scrivener? Job done. ePub doesn’t have all the fancy stuff that iBooks Author lets you use but the format is supported by iBooks itself. (Personally I dislike iBook Author ebooks because the navigation is all wrong.)

Suggestion: do some experiments with a copy / section of the book rather than going ahead with the main project.

The idea to do a small section and see how it goes sounds good. I gather the export to Word breaks everything down into individual sections that reflect breaks in Scrivener.

Regarding iBooks Author I just want something that can produce attractive looking layouts that will export to PDF so I figured I could probably find a suitable looking template and take it from there. I’m hoping it’s all drag & drop and can be done in a day or two.

I’ve spent a lot of time on the website, book cover and all the rest to avoid the self published look so this aspect of it is very important. I did wonder about hiring somebody to do the layout but I can’t help feeling it would benefit from a bit of patience & care from the one person who understands the subject matter i.e me. The book trailer video is another challenge.

If you’re looking to create PDF then there are better tools than iBooks Author—does it create PDFs at all; it is intended to create interactive books for iBooks. Apple promotes the program as drag-and-drop so you cohld be done in a few days but it will like you used a stock template.

Typography is so easy to get wrong and difficult to get right. Readers can see the mistakes and are put off by poor typography. Apple and Microsoft make users think it is easy by their having tools such as iBooks Author and Publisher. Don’t be beguilded by them. If your book is worth reading then it’s worth you getting a professional to do the design properly.

Yes iBooks author can export as PDF or at least it could the last time I tried a couple years ago. One advantage of using iBooks Author is that this if I choose to sell it via the Apple iBooks store at a later stage it’s presumably the right tool for the job.

I hired a couple of professionals to produce the book cover. These were guys who specialise in producing covers and charged around £500 but their efforts were decidedly lacklustre. In the end I went to a graphic designer I’ve met a few times while walking the dog and he agreed to do it for me. He came back about two hours later with half a dozen options that were vastly better and I went for boldest version.

Last night I looked at options for professional book trailers. Some are like epic film trailers and others are downright embarrassing but I haven’t seen anything associated with more technical writing that I like. Lots of decisions but I’m relieved the writing is almost finished.

If you look at the compile dialog, down the bottom, “Compile for” you’ll find one of the options is for iBooks Author Chapters. Yes, it splits it up into separate chapters and compiles each into .doc format, but that is what iBooks Author expects.

They’re pretty easy to import into an existing iBooks Author template, or, when I played with it, you can create your own, perhaps by modifying an existing one in terms of font, etc. You’ll still have a bit of tweaking to do, but then you would if you compiled to RTF or DOC/DOCX, and opened it in Word, Pages or — my preference — Nisus Writer Pro.

Mr X

One HUGE disadvantage is that you can’t use iBooks Author (IA) to create ebooks for other platforms; no Amazon Kindle, Kobo, or pure ePub reader access. You would seriously limit your market to only the technical cognoscenti using iBooks Author.

You could however solve that issue by using Apple’s Pages which can generate ePub files directly and those can be used with most non-Apple ebook readers. Okay so it isn’t free (£15/US$20), unlike iBooks Author, and the current version is getting a lashing in customer reviews. If you wanted to create an addition iBooks “special” edition then IA is claimed to import ePub files.

Generating PDF from IA isn’t really a good idea either as it excludes device-compatible reflow possibilities from the text. Ever tried reading an A4-sized PDF file on an iPhone? Not a pleasant experience. Reading a reflowable ePub on the same device is okay.

Using Scrivener’s own File > Compile can be used to generate ePub files too. Great for novels and non-diagramtic acacemic/technical books probably not so great for your illustration rich one though.

Of course, it is one of the foundation concepts of Scrivener, that the same project can be compiled for different formats, so the OP could easily compile for iBA on the one hand, and e-pub on the other, or even a suitable PDF version for publishing through Createspace.


Mr X

At the moment my focus is on the PDF and I’ll be selling through my own website. I have no plans at this stage to sell through other stores but I’d like to leave my options open, so Scrivener is well placed in that regard for exporting to various formats. I am actually very wary of dealing through other sellers.

I wrote another book about 6 years ago using Pages that was then sold as a PDF but I rushed the layout part and it never really looked that good, even though I never received any complaints. Nevertheless I want it to look good on various devices this time. I hadn’t heard of Createspace so I’ll have to look that up.

Seriously that isn’t going to happen. PDF is a portable ereader nightmare. Some don’t support it all! Others have such limited screen real estate that the reader is having to scroll every whichway to read the text. If you are targeting people with mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) then you would be better off using an ebook format that allows reflowing of text within the devices’ physical limitations. PDF does not reflow.

EDIT: You can experience the PDF non-reflow experience by resizing your browser window for this forum thread so the window it long and thin. See how you have to use the horizontal scroll bar to read the text of the replies. Imagine doing that on a smartphone when your commuting on a train and being jostled and thrown around by the lateral movement of the carriage and the elbows of other travellers. Do you really want to inflict that upon the readers of your book?

OK I’ll obviously have to look at all of this and now is a better time than later. I never had a single case though of anybody complaining about the last eBook that was PDF.

The book has associated videos and other material as well, so there are several factors to consider here. I can’t imagine reading a 350 page book on an iPhone but I agree it should work well on an iPad sized device.

You mentioned that your previous book was published six years ago. Apple’s iBook app for iPhone and iPad has only been out for five. The file Amazon Kindle for only a couple of years longer and that was very basic. Even now Kindles, KoBo, and other stand-alone ereader devices have issues with PDF files.

As I suggested in my (edited) earlier reply trying resizing this window to the size of an iPhone screen and “enjoy” the experience of scrolling around it. There is a similar “enjoyable” experience when reading a 350 page PDF on an iPad. Personally I hate reading five page PDFed academic journal papers on my iPad 2 (iPad Airs have a smaller screen size).

You’ve sneaked in video and other content. :wink: You need to test that any PDF generated by iBooks Author will have those clips embedded in the file and that such a PDF will work on other ereader devices e.g. Kindles and KoBos. Apple’s iPhones and iPads can cope with the mixed content as this example produced by the BBC https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/writing-for-bbc-radio-comedy/id829571391?mt=11 demonstrates (in native iBooks) but will other devices be able to display something similar? (I’m an Apple user and have no intention of ever answering my own question there.)

Yes as mentioned above I used Apple Pages on the last book before I had ever heard of Scrivener and then just exported as PDF. Sales were pretty good at first but started to tail off after a couple of years as I invested less time in marketing but also because my website became dated in style and wasn’t responsive. In 2009 I read that something like 3% of traffic was on mobile devices and last year I think it hit 36%. This year it may go above 50%. We can’t ignore that much traffic so I’ve taught myself responsive web design.

In hindsight I made a lot of mistakes on that first book but it was a great learning experience and I wouldn’t be surprised if I do more sales on this new book in a month than I did on the first book in 5 years. I actually plan to update that first book in a few months time with a new website, cover and new content that should give it a new lease of life for 2-3 years.

I’ve looked at embedding videos into PDF but in practice it’s a nightmare because there are frequently bugs in one version or another and it’s just not reliable. The plan was to include separate videos as bonus material downloaded in a zip archive alongside the PDF. In that sense iBooks are fantastic because it’s all embedded but that’s Apple only and for various reasons I can drive a lot of traffic to my own website that I couldn’t do with the Apple store.

I don’t actually have an iPad but my wife can grab one from her work for testing. As for Amazon I spoken to others who said the fees charged on larger books make poor sense for authors.

I know nothing useful about marketing or distribution so I won’t comment on either. I will, however, make some observations about format and software.

First, Pages 5 is a completely different beast to it’s predecessors. I have a love-hate relationship with it. As a document processor for business correspondence, it is basic. Its handling of varying page headers is… let’s say “suboptimal” and it approach to styles is… let’s say “flexible but challenging”. If you want mail merge, however, it is useless (no beating around the bush there!). In contrast, as document layout software, the new Pages is generally better than it’s predecessor. I use both. I continue to use Pages 4 for almost all my business correspondence (letters, reports, faxes, etc) but use Pages 5 for precise layout or image heavy documents. So for your stated needs, Pages might be useful.

In terms of output, I love PDFs, especially for technical documents when the layout and placement of information on a page in relation to other information on the page matters. Having said that, I hate reading PDFs on a phone! Many academic publishers, not known for their willingness to make content accessible, now offer ePub versions of monographs and journal articles for reading on portable devices. If you can face the extra work involved, and the content can be presented in different formats, I think it is worth providing options for how your book could be downloaded. That way people can choose a format that matches their needs.

There are lots of factors to juggle here but one of the main attractions of using PDF is to combat piracy, since I can include a PDF stamp with the ID of the customer and I know this is remarkably effective in stopping people from “sharing” books with the entire world.

I really doubt if many people would want to read my book on an iPhone let alone a Kindle but I can image it being read on an iPad quite easily.

I want to finish up the writing today and then I’ll look at the layout options tomorrow.

I loathe PDFs as a form for readers to use electronically. Never seen one suitable for reading on an iPad. If I ever get a PDF that I want to read, I always strip the text (or OCR it) and then create a new ebook. Good for creating print-ready copy. Vile, IMO, for all other uses.

Not convinced that watermarking your “virtual” pages will deter anyone. I would want to see real evidence of watermarking acting as a deterrent to sharing before I used it myself and I don’t count Adobe marketing materials as evidence.

How are you going to organise unique watermarks though? Redistill the PDF for every purchaser? If you have the full Acrobat package you could automate it but how will the customer be able to download a copy of the book in real time. While watermarking might deter sharing, and as you can see above I’m really not convinced that will, you are as likely to deter customers too. And the DRM feature is busted on some ereader devices; that’s busted in the sense that it does not work and prevents the reader from opening the book.

When you sell through Fastspring or some other billing options including e-junkie they provide a PDF stamp feature that includes the name, email & transaction ID of every customer on every page and takes place at time of purchase.

I once signed up for a couple of services that look for pirated copies of ebooks and music etc across thousands of websites. After a couple of months with daily warnings I never found a single example of my book being pirated but other books without the PDF stamp on similar subjects were everywhere.

Ah well, each to their own: generally, I much prefer PDFs to eBooks (especially on iPad). I almost never print them.