Importing document: chapters & folders

I have an existing document that already has chapter breaks (in .docx for mac). When I import the file (62K words) to the binder do I really have to create a new folder for every chapter? That’s what the existing “novel” template says I should do. That seems incredibly time-consuming. Is it really the only way or am I missing something b/c I’m new to scrivener? If there is a faster way to do this importing to novel format (to be compiled as e-book, etc), please offer suggestions! Thanks.

Well, I wouldn’t say there is any reason to use folders if you do not intend to break things down any further. Naturally, a folder is for gathering like items together (like scenes in a novel, or subsections in a technical document), so there would be absolutely no reason at all to create a folder with just one file in it. :slight_smile: Just make a flat list of files. The template help file has suggestions on how to work that way (you only need to flip a few switches).

Secondly, it is really easy to split up a long document into smaller pieces. Just put your cursor where the break is and use Documents/Split/at Selection, or Cmd-K. You can also select what will be the title of the split-off document and use the other command. Used in conjunction with the Edit/Find/Find by Formatting… tool, you can usually just search for bold text to jump from chapter title to title, splitting as you go.

How far you split down is up to how you think and write. We’ve got people who write whole chapters into files all the way down to people who store each paragraph in its own file. The concept of “file” in Scrivener is extremely flexible in terms of content and purpose. The templates only demonstrate one (albeit very popular) way of working, where one writes to scene length only, and collects those scenes into chapters (the folders). I would say with a pre-existing text, it would be much easier to just cut things into chapters. A more articulate outline is something that will more easily come when you’ve started writing in Scrivener from ground zero.

thank you for that response. If I think about it, I think my question goes further: the document I’m importing to Scrivener has been formatted already by the copy-editor: section/chapter breaks, header/footer, page numbers, etc. Will that pre-existing formatting be lost and/or get garbled when I try to compile the document for e-book? I don’t need the document to be broken into smaller parts unless Scrivener wants the document in smaller parts; basically what I have is a print-ready document but I need to go through Scrivener to get to the compile function for Kindle and Print on Demand.

Because I didn’t write the document in Scrivener though (a mistake I won’t replicate :slight_smile: , I’m not sure what I have to do or not do with my current document as it exists.
Thank you!!

OK, this is your situation as I understand it: you are done writing and editing. You have something all set for a print version. You are using Scrivener for the one and only purpose of generating ebook editions.

Headers, page numbers, and so on, are generally not a part of ebooks, with the sole exception of Adobe Acrobat PDF ebooks. Amazon has a means to make their kindle ebooks contain reference points to print editions, but so far as I understand it, this is only for the major publishers. Amazon also has a pdf-style option that reproduces your book exactly, headers and footers and all; I expect your best path to make this sort of kindle edition would be to use what you have, pre-Scrivener, and go through Amazon’s kindle editions web site; look around in the kindle forums for advice and further counsel about this.

What usually goes into an ebook like an epub or mobi (kindle) version, is just your content. Your title, chapter titles, table of contents, and text. Scrivener will be able to compile an epub and/or mobi edition for you. Don’t worry about header and footer and page numbers, in fact these should be stripped out and if they make it into what Scrivener compiles, you are well advised to take them out yourself.

There are also other ways to get your book into mobi and epub versions. Calibre can do it, for example. The Amazon web site can import and convert other types of formats too, so you could try that and then download the results and see if you like them, all prior to publishing them. For epub, if you are going iBooks, Apple has iBooks Author you can play with, or if you want Nook, Barnes n Noble has a web importer too I believe.

hope this helps guide you

  • asotir

Scrivener is overkill if you’ve already finished editing and just want to convert a word document to an ebook. As stated above, there are tools designed specifically for that, including amazon’s own conversion tools. While Scrivener can produce some really nice output, ready for publishing, it’s pretty common that it will get your final output about 95% of the way to what it should be, and you have to tweak that final 5% to get it just right. It’s primary strength is in pretty much everything that precedes that final tweaking.

But if you want to do this, then keep in mind that when you import your work, it makes a copy of it; the original will remain untouched. And since page numbers are an artifact of the printed page, they won’t apply to your ebook anyway.

thank you all - good advice here & very clear. now I just have to sort myself (and my MS) to see what makes most sense.