Final eBook Formatting -- The Final Touches to Your eBook

There are many folks who think that Scrivener is not so useful for ebook conversion. I would disagree. What follows is my workpath to a perfect and professional ebook. This post only applies to reflowable ebooks not fixed layout.

I always, always export and fine tune my ebook formatting as an EPUB in Sigil for a more professional look. So this post is only for people who are fine with HTML --since I will not be giving detailed explanations on HTML. You can download Sigil for free from here:

https://github.com/Sigil-Ebook/Sigil/releases

My workpath:

Scrivener Jobs
Once you’ve finished editing and formatting your book in Scrivener, select and convert all text throughout every scriv document and set text grey/black to 11 in Scrivener. This gives an even black text color in Kindle, iBook, Nook etc.

Sigil Jobs
After conversion to EPUB from Scrivener —

  • Add the Kindle Beginning read point guide to your ebook. In Sigil, click and highlight the relevant chapter eg Prologue or Chapter 1, right click and choose Semantics. Choose ‘Text’ from the list. This will set the Beginning read point in your book for IBooks and Kindle and will be added to the bottom of the content.opf file in the section of the manifest. Check that there are now 3 entries in the content.opf file for ‘Cover’, ‘Title’ and ‘Text’. These are the 3 menu dropdown guides normally shown in Kindle as Cover, Title and Beggining in the Go To dropdown menu list in Kindle.

  • In Sigil, remove any and all font-family declarations within and throughout the epub CSS file (in the Book Browser/Styles directory–stylesheet.css). There should be no declarations at all in the CSS file when you finish.

  • In Sigil, add in your own global variables into the relevant epub Book Browser/Styles or CSS file(just add it to the very bottom of stylesheet.css). Here’s what I always add — shown below:

body {
font-family: Bookerly, Palatino, Baskerville, Georgia, serif;
font-size:1.0em;
color:#00001A; /gives an even black text color throughout the ebook/
line-height:120%;
margin:3% 3% 3% 3%;
}
The above global font families covers my ebook for the fonts used in Kindle, iBook and Nooks. Anything to get away from Times New Roman !!

  • Add any particular (free) embedded fonts that you wish for the title or chapter headings in your ebook. Examples of free fonts that you can use are: Crimson, Rosavario, Theano Didot, Linux Libertine(you can download all these free OFL fonts from http://www.fontsquirrel.com)

  • In the relevant Sigil *.xhtml files in the Book Browser, highlight and change the book title and headings to a different and lighter shade of black/gray to make them softer on the eyes in the ebook reader. Try and avoid using jet black(don’t use color:#000000;) all the time – looks unprofessional. I add and use color: #000026(or whatever value you want) for the headings in the CSS file. This gives a more even and professional look to your ebook.

  • Manually delete and remove unnecessary TOC headings in your Sigil content.xhtml or TOC.xhtml file in the Book Browser. Remove these same entries from the TOC.ncx file as well by deleting unwanted sections including and all between the markers. Then re-number these heading sections to maintain a consecutive playorder.

  • Run Validation checks from menu Tools\Validate Epub… in Sigil. Ensure no errors are present.

  • Compile the epub with kindlegen and Kindle Previewer and re-check all.

Done.
.

A note about adding color code to text …

Certain reading apps don’t add an exception to the color code when switching to nightmode and you get black text on a black background (instead of white text on black background) resulting in “blank” pages or invisible text. For these apps it’s better to not use a color code of black (or dark) on text.