Need help modifying project based on the General Non-Fiction Template

I’ve managed to make the changes I needed except that when I generate an epub out to Kindle Preview 3 …

  1. The title page has strange characters on it, and a bizarre layout. Where exactly do I edit its template?
  2. The copyright page refuses to accept any margins I set and always runs from edge to edge.
  3. No matter what I do the TOC is a disaster. I’d love to upload an image. Describing in text everything I’ve tried and how each one failed would take a book.
  4. The TOC generates with Chapter - Title, which is okay until it gets to the two at the end that are appendixes and not chapters. Where do I edit this?

I bet that for someone who knows what they are doing, it’s about a half hour to set me straight on all of the above. Can I get that hep here, or where do I find such a person?

What version of Scrivener, and on what platform?

Do you see the same issues if you compile to other formats, such as PDF or Word?

The title page should be a document in your Binder, edit it just like any other. The cover page will be automatically generated by the reader software if you don’t supply one.

Is there a table on the copyright page?

Are you talking about the Table of Contents, or the menu generated by the reader software?

I’ve bumped up your trust level to allow posting of images.

@1: The Titlepage is a normal Document in a “Front matter” folder outside the Draft/Manuscript folder. Format it as you like, and assign it an “As-is” Compile Layout.

@2: Give the Colophon container a “blockqote” style that indents both left and right. Make sure that Style is also present in the Styles pane in the Compile Format Designer reached by Double-clicking your Format in the left column of the Compile Overview window.

@3: The ToC for the e-reader’s menu accepts only little formatting: a header and a (nested) list. The ToC for the reader shouldn’t have page numbers, but links to sections in your e-book. Use the “Copy ToC as Document Links” menu command.

@4: Create an “Appendix” Section Type, and Assign it to an “AppendixLayout” Section Layout. Select the “Title Options” tab to remove the <$n> or <$hn> placeholder and replace the word “Chapter” with “Appendix”. Start a new Automatic Numbering stream for the Appendices, by adding a name behind the Placeholder if you want to retain the numbering.

Hope this helps :slightly_smiling_face:

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THank you very much. I will add some images.

Thank you for your detailed assistance.

Assigning the title page “as is” does not make it show up “as is”. I’ll attach images of what it looks like in the editor and what it looks like in the epub.

I am doing the table of contents thing where you select from the Binder, but it doesn’t work this way or it doesn’t work that way. Again, I’ll attach images, but there are multiple scenarios, so let me try to explain.

I think I am supposed to check “generate html” for the toc. If I do that, I get the forever shifting to the right image. If I uncheck that, I get something sensible -looking, but with no links, so it doesn’t work. In either case I get trailing question marks. Also, Some of my chapters have sub-headings and some don’t. If I only select the pages, I don’t get the chapter headings (the folders). If I select all the folders, I get double-entries if there are no sub-headings. If I select folders where needed and pages where folders are not needed, the pages without folders get put under the previous chapter folder instead of at the top level.

Again, what platform are you on, please?

Sorry – MacOS (latest), Scrivener (latest)

Are you using Styles to format the Title page?

You can either reformat it without styles or import the Editor Styles into the Compile Styles page, so they are available while Compiling. A drop-down list with the Editor Styles is at the top of the Compile Format Designer Styles page (reached by Double-clicking your Format in the left column of the Compile Overview window).

Use the Edit > Copy Special > Copy as Document Links command to generate a page with a toc as links.
Maybe the indenting bug wil not appear. If not, you’ll have to correct the page with Sigil.

The question marks are Placeholders for Page numbers, which are irrelevant to flow layout e-books anyway. A Print preview should update them to tbe actual numbers.

Thank you again.

I have been generating the TOC as you indicated. If I do that and check generate html, I get a disastrously laid out TCO that works (although each line ends with _?). If I do not check that box, the layout is fine (except it still has the _? endings, even when displayed in a real reader and not in Kindle Preview), and there are no links – it’s just plain text that doesn’t navigate.

I am prepared to surrender. I very much appreciate the blind help here, but I think someone directly seeing it and tweaking things is what is needed. I will look for someone on UpWork. Again, thank you very much for your support.

Topic moved to a more appropriate category.

If you’d like to have a member of the support team look at the project directly, you can open a support ticket, here:

I help people one-on-one for little or nothing, preferably via Zoom.

Zoom me

Hey, Bobby. Thanks again for your assistance. I went on to try several other tools, and tried to find someone on UpWork, but it wasn’t a gratifying experience. With Amazon having the biggest ebook marketplace in the world, and some of the best tech in the world, and more money than God, and given all the complaints that “the Kindle version of this book had shitty formatting”, I am just astounded that they have not produced a first rate tool or sponsored and helped an open source project get to that level.

As I continued to explore I found this problem with this tool, and that problem with that one, and so I finally took delight in learning that epub files are just a zipped up set of xhtml files. In this basic tech I am quite skilled. I am hand-editing the xhtml files, and making minimal use of Sigil (for getting component files in and out of the epub and generating the table of contents). By writing my own HTML and minimal CSS, I am getting exactly what I want without having to fight the tool. Loading into Kindle Previewer, Kindle itself, and Apple Books shows that what I am doing is working far better than what Scrivener, Calibre, or other tools were “helping” me do.

There is an opportunity here for someone to produce a much better tool than what’s out there. It really should be Amazon who does that.

  • Best wishes
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All that sounds great if you never have to change things in the original Scrivener (a situation I can barely imagine). If you do need to modify the project and Compile again, you also have to repeat the Sigil work. I’ve found very little that I can’t do in Scrivener itself … and nothing I need to do that I can’t.

So Scrivener is no longer any part of what I am doing. Not producing a sensible table of contents, screwing up tables, putting odd characters on my title page, refusing to format all my Front Matter the same way, … by having so many small problems, it was utterly useless. I started from scratch in the raw xhtml files by copying nothing but the text from Scrivener. It wasn’t an enjoyable week.

I don’t mean that Amazon should fix Scrivner. (I certainly think the Latte folks should!) I mean that Amazon should stop dicking around with Kindle Create, which only does a so-so job of importing doc and docx files, and make a comprehensive editing tool or invest in helping Calibre or Sigil do a better job. If I were not a computer science guy with strong html and css skills, and the perseverance to read a ton of stuff on the net and figure out what matters to Kindle within those files, I’d be sunk. It’s no wonder that normal authors so often get customer complaints about ebook formatting problems.

Mine is structurally a rnu of the mill non-fiction book: chapters, headings, one small table, and some images. I am not doing anything exotic.

If you have concrete suggestions for changes to Scrivener, feel free to submit them, either via the Wish List forum or by direct email to our support address.

By “concrete suggestion” I mean something like:

  • Here is a demonstration project.

  • Here are the commands I used.

  • Here is what happened.

  • Here is what I would like to happen instead.

While I understand that “Scrivener produced disastrous results” may make you feel better, it provides remarkably little actionable information for us.

Scrivener is not very good with tables, but otherwise …

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All of this is based on creating a new book based on the General Non-Fiction Template.

I could not get Scrivener to produce a sensible Table of Contents. I abandoned the project, so this is from memory. I might be missing something. Almost all of the problems have to do with disjunction between what things look like in Scrivener and what they look like in Kindle Previewer when pumped out as an epub.

The title page looked fine in Scrivener, put was oddly formatted in the epub, and contained patterns made from periods and or colons and or I don’t know what in several places.

I could not get Scrivener to produce a usable Table of Contents. It either spit out well-formatted text with no links (generate HTML unchecked), or linked entries that moved further to the right on every line (Generate HTML checked). In either case, eery entry ended with _?, which is obviously not desired.

It used some weird margins for my Copyright page, and no amount of effort could change that. I even deleted it and copied my Dedication Page, and entered my copyright info into it, and for some reason, these two pages ended up with different margins (based on the simple plain text content?).

It insists on putting a blank line at the top of every bulleted or numbered list, as do some other editors. However popular this may be, I think its really bad formatting. I don’t recall seeing this in any professionally published work.

I had a simple table of only two columns and a handful of rows, all plain text entries, and it could not format it well, insisted on bolding the top row, did not allow me to make it narrower than the display width and centered, and put the table caption at the top instead of the bottom, regardless of it coming after the table in the source.

It’s a pain in the ass to have to create a separate page for everything that is mean to show up in the table of contents. That’s ridiculous. Each chapter, maybe. Every heading and sub-heading in each chapter? Please.

Some standard key bindings are not honored. One that comes to mind is for Cmd-Y (on a Mac) mena to do again here whatever it is you just did over there. For example, I just change that paragraph from type X to Y. I am now in this other paragraph and want to do the same thing.

In a similar vein, in any editor, one expects that clicking on the bullet list icon will create a bullet list entry, but not in Scrivener. Instead of immediately providing the default bullet, you have to pick it. Much worse than that, all it does is enter that bullet symbol. It does not provide default indentation and tab stops for a bulleted item.

I set several things to “as is” and they did not come out as is.

I think it is confusing as hell to have formatting in the doc and formatting in the epub generation. I know that you think this is a feature. I bet that almost all of your users almost all of the time want WYSIWYG, and simply. I think this is the most over-engineered anti-feature I have seen in over 3 decades in the software industry.

There were a few other things, but that’s all I can think of right now. These were certainly the worst of it. If the answer is “oh you can do that, all you have to do is …” then that only condemns Scriveners usability. I have been in the software industry for a long time. I have done usability work. I have been praised repeatedly for producing great usability, and I could not figure out how to make the above things work. Additionally, I sought help on this forum and from paid help on UpWork, and no one could resolve any of this for me for love or money.

I would upload a mockup of the project to help you investigate but the forum is not letting me upload a Scrivener file!

There is no such thing as a “Scrivener File”. On macOS it’s a macOS Package full of numerous files and folders. I get how they don’t want to see files and folders as that would break most file transfer protocols.

If you want to upload something to Literature & Latte to this forum or direct to them, create a standard Scrivener backup and check “on” the “Compress automatic backups as zip files” so that one zip file is created in the backup location you designated. Send that one single file.

If the issue is permissions to upload, that is a security feature for new ID’s. Wait till that clears or the moderators here will notice and clear that for you.

You were given a link 6 days ago which world allow you to send the project to customer support.
The forum is not available to review a whole project.
It goes against common sense, the first of which is protecting your IP.

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