Just launched three books - here is what I could and could not do...

Hi Peep,

I launched three business books on KDP earlier today. All three have lots of illustrations. Here is what I could and could not do with Scrivener for the exercise:

  • The whole writing experience was great. It helped me keep my discipline, and I was able to average about 1500 words a day to reach my total of about 130,000. I changed the sequence of chapters frequently, and even moved them between books.

  • The only thing that I wanted to do when compiling that I could only do with Sigil was to indent chapters in the TOC. If Scrivener could have folders as top-level TOC and individual documents indented, I would not have used Sigil at all.

  • The current Kindle image standard is 1200 pixels wide at 300dpi. This is painful with Scrivener if you need to have captions for each image, which I did. The only way to be sure to keep the captions with the images is to use tables. However, even when setting the borders to 0 pixels, the images are still not at the left margins. This means they overflow on the right when compiled to .mobi. The only way I could resolve this was to integrate the captions in the images. It was a painful process to get them all to look approximately the same height.

During April, I will make all three books available as KDP paperbacks, which requires submitting them as pdfs. KDP/CreateSpace requires the images to be at 300dpi, which Word, oddly, does not support without a lot of effort. InDesign seems like overkill, so I suppose it may be time to learn to use Pages. The things I won’t be able to do directly with Scrivener are (1) page layout, and (2) create an index, neither of which I expected to be able to do.

All in all, Scirivener does a great job of doing what it says it will do. I used the Windows version until I bought an iMac in November, and the Mac version is much better.

My artist brother did the book illustrations. The attachment shows what he drew for the announcement. The books are described at customerstrategy.net/books/

Keep up the good work!

Is this in reference to the output of the ToC itself as an HTML page in your book? If you don’t like how the automatic generator works, feel free to make your own (§23.2, Contents in E-books, pg. 341). I don’t know how you ended up with a result other than indented though, since that is how the automatic generator formats the ToC page—of course that does assume you’ve been outlining hierarchically in your draft folder, but it sounds like it from your description.

I would not recommend using tables as a layout tool, they are meant for tabular content like spreadsheets and will be rather problematic if used otherwise—plus older Kindles have a hard enough time displaying basic cells in rows and columns (they’ll probably have a hard time with images that big as well, so maybe that’s not your target).

My question though is: how are you doing captions right now with Sigil? It’s been a little bit since I’ve checked in on the available technology, but while KF8 and ePub3 in theory support the figcaption element, they don’t really do anything special with it, regarding keeping the two together.

On the latter point, you might check out the free Scribus as well. It’s more along the lines of InDesign than a word processor, but open source and not quite as life consuming to learn. :slight_smile: My preference is LaTeX (that’s what our user manuals are put together with), but talk about life consuming!

That stuff out of the way, glad to hear you’ve found Scrivener to be a solid boost in your writing, and congrats on the launch! :smiley:

To clarify, the folders and documents come out aligned directly under each other in the Scrivener HTML TOC. Others have found the same issue and the suggestion to use Sigil for indenting the document level so only the folder level is completely on the left came from this forum. If the document level should already be indented, compared to the folder level, then I am not the only person having a problem. I don’t see any way of adjusting this in Scrivener, and I wrote all three books separately, so it did not happen due to something I did by accident. I generate a TOC by having a <$toc> tag as the only item on the ‘Contents’ page. If there is another way of doing it that provides indents, please advise.

I did not use Sigil for the captions. I used PowerPoint. I aligned the caption appropriately under the image, did a screen capture, then resized each image to 1200 wide @300 dpi using Preview. It took a long time, but the result is good. Since I work on the big 5k iMac, I can have very hi-res screen captures.

Okay, yes it does seem to not be indenting, my mistake. To avoid using Sigil to fix this, I would recommend the earlier tip to create your own ToC page where you have as much control as an e-book will give you. Just remember to match the name of the document with the ToC entry in the Layouts compile pane so that Scrivener knows which file to use (if you’ve been using the <$toc> token you might already have that set up), and don’t forget to check the “as-is” flag in the Inspector for that document, so that your formatting isn’t overridden by any compile settings.

Here is an example of the tutorial, compiled as an ePub with an indented ToC I created, straight out of Scrivener:

Thanks. I will try that next time around, which will be about five days from now.

If this is an eBook, why inserting a TOC at all?
Each e-reader supports a system TOC, which I am using instead of an html style TOC.
It’s simply better to navigate.

Scrivener does both, as there are still older readers out there that do not provide a software menu for navigating through the book, and thus without an HTML page they will be left with no means to jump large and specific distances within the e-book. It’s a bit like providing both a software ToC and a printed ToC in a PDF meant for digital usage. You can’t assume every PDF reader is going to have a sidebar with a clickable ToC—some people will need that printed in the text of the PDF to get around within it.

These are non-fiction books, and I expect readers will want to jump about, or be able to go directly to specific chapters without having to guess the name of the chapter. That’s why I have a TOC. I changed chapter names frequently, and paranoia makes me want to use the automatic TOC generation rather than editing my own TOC. I finished the hopefully-final nit-picking round with all three books today, and updated the KDP pre-order versions. I have until Sunday to find any remaining errors, and am feeling good.

When I create a TOC in a separate text document (in Scrivener for Windows) using this method (export in Epub then edit in other software) the TOC items display and work perfectly in Scrivener as links but when compiled to epub or mobi the linking is gone and I just get plain text not hyperlinks.

Have tried compiling this TOC text doc with “as is” checked and not checked but same result either way.

How can I compile to epub and still keep the linking? It will be a complete pain to have to hand code all the links in Sigil or Calibre (which by the way works but is very, very time-consuming and fiddly).


Hey Peter, just a note that you’re posting in a Mac thread about a feature that hasn’t been implemented on Windows yet, sorry for the confusion.


I note from this thread:


that a version 3 of both Mac and Windows is in development and that the features will be the same.

Thank goodness.