Wednesday, January 14, 2015

#WWoW! @dochappycamper Revisits Getting Organized with #Scrivener #MyWANA

Hello new visitors and returning readers! Welcome to Tammy's Tidbits.  From writing, blogging, editing, critique partners, social media and more, these posts are meant to show you my journey through the world of publishing. Some things have worked very well, while others...not so much. 

The following post was originally done just before I released my vampire inspired poetry book, The Courtship of the Vampyre. This is a step by step description of my experience using Scrivener to organize my work for that project so don't get your panties in a bunch when I mention poems instead of chapter or scenes. 

I'm telling you, the program saved my backside on numerous occasions by helping me keep everything at my fingertips. Since the original post, I've used the split screen feature to help with edits of The Surrender of Julia(Now and Forever 3), kept my NaNoWriMo projects rolling along, and organized everything for the Bigfoot Chronicles series I write as Tawny Savage. This program has become invaluable to me. I don't know what I would do without it at this point.

Without further adieu, here's my introduction to the wonderful world of...

I was reluctant to try this writing program even after all the rave reviews by fellow author friends. I mean, I had a system that seemed to be working for me and I didn't want to mess with it. That is, until I ended up adding more projects to my "To Do" lists for all four of my pen names. The number of paper notebooks I hauled around with me at any given time had begun to weigh me down—literally!

The program for Windows (and Mac) was readily available through Amazon for $40. I figured , "What the hell?" I had a credit from Thank You Points left over from another purchase, so I wasn't out any extra money. So with the click of my mouse I bought the program.  The download was easy and painless as was registering the product with the Scrivener site.

So what now?

With most new "toys" I tend to just open it up and figure it all out as I go, but this looked too damn daunting. To get a bit more help, I went back to Amazon and found a few books that would help me with creating an ebook using the program and of course I had the help that came along with the program itself. Not only did it come with a manual within the program, it also had a tutorial. 

Hmmmm...this was going to be a first for me, actually watching the tutorial!

Trust me, no one was more shocked than I was that I started up the program to get my initial bearings.  I was so glad I did! It takes you through each section with ease and in language that's easy to understand. Not only do you learn each step, but you learn different routes in the program to achieve the same goals. It's all about tailoring the experience to fit your own needs.

The tutorial explains how each level works from draft, to folders, text files and research files. I can even store the photos that inspire my characters so I can pull them up while writing the scenes. How cool is that?  I found out that I can create multiple levels for each project (chapters and scenes for example) or just keep it straight forward like having each folder/chapter one separate poem. By setting it up that way, I can be sure each poem starts on it's own page like a chapter would.

example of cork board view
My favorite part so far is the cork board view. With my vampire poetry project, I have all the poems/folders laid out on "index" cards. I can then write a short synopsis on each card so I'll be reminded what is covered in that poem without having to open the folder to read it.

The best part? I can shuffle every card in whatever order I want! No more cut, past and then delete like when I worked with just Microsoft Word. If I don't like the order, I can just move the cards around and then flip back to the document view and see all the poems laid out with page breaks. This helps me to visualize what the ebook will look like once it's all finalized. I haven't got to the compiling part yet where I convert all of my "chapters" into an ebook, so I'll leave that discussion for next time.

I'm at the point where I have my cover, nearly all the poems in the order I want them in, my copyright page, dedication and acknowledgement page, table of contents with links to find each poem within the document and my "about the author" section. I've even made separate folders for Kindle, Smashwords and Createspace copyright pages. You see, when it comes to the compiling phase, I only have to choose the appropriate folders/chapters to combine into the final product.

So far, so good! Next is to compile everything and make the different formats needed for Smashwords and Kindle. This is the key reason I purchased this program so it would be easier to format all the different files for each publishing route. Unfortunately, I had a bit of trouble with compiling into different formats. I'm not sure if I wasn't following directions properly but the files just wouldn't convert. Of course I got fabulous .doc files. Both Smashwords and Amazon require this file type so I'm not flipping out yet. LOL!

Instead of fretting over my issues with this phase, I found another program to help me out. In Word, I saved my .doc file as a PDF.  Using this format in Calibre, I converted it to all ebook formats I'd need for uploading to All Romance ebooks, Omnilit and for sale on my own website eventually.  Calibre is a free program that helps with ebook file conversion and organization of your library. It's fun! More about that in future posts.

UPDATE: Since the time of the original post, I've discovered that the PDF created in Word doesn't always convert in Calibre to nice clean ebooks. It's changed spacing of paragraphs, font sizes and overall hasn't been reliable. I found Draft 2 Digital on the recommendation of another author and haven't looked back since! 

With Draft 2 Digital I can create a beautiful epub file which DOES convert well with Calibre. More on THAT experience in a future post. Stay tuned!

Have you used Scrivener or another program like it? Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from you.

Until next week!

Learn More About Tammy

Tammy Dennings Maggy is a best selling, multi-published poet and erotic romance author with Siren and Sassy Vixen Publishing. Her writing explores many facets of romance from ultimate betrayal to finding your soul mate. Her poetry serves as a companion to her novels and has inspired entire series all on their own. Tammy and her alter egos Lia Michaels and Stephanie Ryan make up the core authors at Sassy Vixen Publishing and together they've created the shared world series Temptations Resort. Look for the first books in that series to come out later this year.

Now happily married to her own Muse and soul mate, she continues to live her dream and act as secretary to all her characters demanding to have their stories told.

Check out:

Tammy's Website
Tammy's Blog
Tammy's Books on BookstrandAmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords,  and iTunesSassy Vixen Publishing
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