How To: Create/Publish an eBook with Scrivener

How To: Create/Publish an eBook with Scrivener

My thanks to the team over at Literature & Latte for sponsoring this post & series of content on writing. They’re the makers of the essential writing app Scrivener for Windows or OS X. Providing an all in one writing studio that allows you to edit, outline, storyboard, and most importantly write in an efficient system. Use it for scriptwriting, books, essays, and more. A must have for all writers.

Scrivener is no doubt a powerful all in one writing tool. Be it essays, books, or what have you. One thing I specifically have been using it for lately is for outlining, creating, and publishing an eBook. Scrivener makes it all simple & easy while allowing you to fill in all the elements you want in your eBook whether its for personal or professional distribution. Here’s a look at the process.

Video Overview:

Step 1: Creating a new Project

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I recommend starting off under the “Fiction” templates and then selecting “Novel”. This takes care of a lot of the structural formalities you’ll have to worry about when setting up your eBook. Such as chapters, metadata, and cover art.

Step 2: Importing/Creating Content

Now begins the actual creation aspect. Essentially with Scrivener each folder under the originally labeled “Manifest” folder (you can rename it of course) represents a chapter of your eBook. So the folder naming scheme would reflect that of your chapters. This can be tweaked later in the export process as well.

Within each folder you can easily start to create your content. So your actual material text & other media. You can of course deal with things like formatting here if you’d like however keep in mind at the end before exporting there are many options to deal with such issues.

Step 3: Cover Art

Arguably a very important part of your eBook like any book is the cover. The thing that’ll be represented within whatever digital library you publish to. Scrivener designates this section very easily and allows you import/replace the existing image very simply.

Note: 600×800 JPEG/PNG format is the recommended size and format for your cover art

Step 4: Compliation

After you’ve written and imported all your material. It’s time to compile all of it together. Opening the File menu on windows or OS X should reveal a dropdown with “Compile” as one of the options. Selecting this will bring up a window allowing you to select your desired format. In the case of eBooks theres 3 major file types supported by Scrivener that you’ll be interested in.

.ePub (Widely Universal)

.mobi (Amazon Kindle)

.docx (Apple iBooks)

Selecting your compilation format obviously depends on what market your trying to target and publish to. After selecting this you can then enter your advanced options by clicking the “All Options” tab.  This reveals a ton of options to edit before exporting.

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You can use this menu to do general formatting to sections, edit metadata for the eBook, adjust the overall layout and so on. It’s definitely worth combing through all of these and tailoring your eBook before the final process.

Step 5: Export!

The last and final step is selecting your desired export destination and letting Scrivener do the rest. From here you can now preview it in a eBook reader of your choice such as “iBooks” app or even sync it to a device to see how the eBook behaves. This allows you preview everything before publishing it out there to the web and for others to consume.

Here’s a few places you can submit eBooks to:

Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon)

Scribd

Apple iBooks

From there you can now enjoy your published eBook! Scrivener takes this complex process and makes it as simple as 5 steps. Of course your free to populate the content as much as you want and add in all the details your heart desires but at the end of the day Scrivener makes it that much more simpler to outline, create, and ultimately publish an idea to an eBook. Get started with Scrivener today!

Our thanks again to the Literature & Latte team for sponsoring the series of content on Scrivener & other writing posts we’ve done over the last couple of weeks be sure to check out the other posts below!

Best Writing Tools for OS X

How To: Improve your Writing Workflow

General Internet Safety Tips

General Internet Safety Tips

Thanks to the Curbi team makers of a parental control app for iOS that allows parents to track, block, and set limits to their children’s iPhone,iPad, or iPod for sponsoring the series of content on web safety. We approached them with the idea of publishing a playlist of content on web safety tips for the web 2.0 age & they happily supported our campaign. Check out the video playlist here of the content & download Curbi today!

When it comes to the internet it really is a sense of “anything goes” it can be a well of knowledge or pure distraction depending on where you land. That said we all have devices that are somehow connected to the internet these days. Safety now is more important than ever with much of our lives encapsulated digitally in our social media profiles, computer hard drives, and more. There’s a ton of “bad” out there on internet that can range from explicit content, scams, and of course viruses/malware.

Here’s a roundup of some general web safety tips that you can utilize & of course pass on to those you care about.

Blocking Content:

Let’s face it if your a parent your kid may experience or come into contact with explicit content whatever you may consider that. Adult material, profane language, etc. While this exposure can’t be 100% eliminated it can be filtered significantly to reduce or block all together.

Using a browser like Google Chrome you can easily install a plugin like WebFilter Pro to block out specific content from pornography, gambling, and more.

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This can also be done at a browser level by enabling “Safe Search” on Google so that anyone who is searching via Google on your computer or family computer is provided safer results. By simply googling “Google Safe Search” you’ll be provided a simple set of instructions to turn it on/off

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Achieving this on the mobile end can be done with in-app solutions depending on the device operating system. Curbi for iOS provides a great solution, SecureTeen is one of the many solutions available on Android, and so on.

Always DOUBLE check:

This is more of a common sense tip however one that needs to be reiterated. Remember if it looks to good to be true on the internet it probably is!

You most likely haven’t

  • Won $1,000,000 from someone in Africa or a past family member
  • Companies will NEVER ask you for your password or security details
  • Get rich quick schemes for a limited offer of insert amount here
  • Random girl/guy has confessed their love for you via e-mail, app, etc

Scammers and so on are all over nowadays and will prey upon your e-mail, social network accounts, etc.

This also goes in line with anything sign up for nowadays. You’ll be surprised to see what it is we’re actually agreeing to when we scroll all the way to the bottom to check that “I agree” button.

A site like TOSDR (Terms of Service Didn’t Read) aims to make it all simple and provide in laymen terms what we’re agreeing to when signing up and using a site. What the site has access and rights to do with our content/information.

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The Unavoidable:

Anonymity is simply apart of the web nowadays. Users can post without having any profile/name attached or for that matter hide behind usernames. This is one of the unavoidable parts of the internet. Comment boards/sections are filled with people who while have great and contributing things to say also have those who are just for the lack of a better term “internet trolls”. The best way to tackle said situations when on the web and your own social media accounts is to report the user on the platform the abuse is being dealt on.  As a parents its also important to explain and be aware this is apart of the internet as its so vast you can’t quite filter or protect your kids from everything.

Protecting against Malware, Viruses, etc:

A big part of the safety term relates to that of the viruses and so on that can be picked up on the web. There are many ways users get their devices infected nowadays. But most commonly this is a result of a direct download. So while your browser & OS has a layer of built in protection/scanning it can’t protect itself from direct human interaction.

Downloading any of the following exposes you highly to viruses/malware

  • Pirating Software/Serial Keys/Illegal Copies or Movies are all a big target for viruses
  • Clicking on Suspicious Links via social network

Keep in mind protection doesn’t just mean to be weary of what your downloading but all forms of scams. This can range from identity crisis or credit card theft. Be cautious of what your placing your important data into & always try to verify the source.

Using the following resources/tips can help keep you safe on the web-

  1. Scan sites for safety & verification with Norton’s safety tool or Web of Trust plugin
  2. Download a free or paid virus protection service such as AVG, ClamWin, or any that you prefer for your OS to scan any files or act as another level of defense. Run regular scans with said software to ensure your computer hasn’t been compromised.
  3. If you are using P2P services such as uTorrent or Bitorrent be aware of what your downloading and the source. Read a wiki post such as this one on torrent safety (NOTE: We do not promote piracy) however P2P can be used in multiple ways.

Be Mindful:

Being on the internet try to remember that it’s written in pen not pencil. So be cautious of what you choose to reveal as well as what you post on your social media profiles be it Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc. This can be achieved by using identities or screen names for young children who may be signing up for a service such as a game or website.

Other tips include:

  • Setting your social media profiles to “Private” to only allow those who you admit to see your information
  • Legal transactions when it comes to buying any music, apps, games, etc are the safest way to ensure you aren’t exposed to any malware/scams.This means networks such as iTunes, Steam, etc.
  • A Simple Google Search of your name can reveal whats available out there on the web about you. Doing this reminds you to keep in mind that the internet is public. This can be useful to do in the case of when applying for a job that may involve background checks.
  • Do your best to simply ignore unwanted contact or altercations with people online. Remember it’s easy for people to talk from behind their computer screens so do your best to either ignore or block people who are explicit/rude all together.

When a good thing becomes too much:

You can of course choose to limit the internet usage all together which in some cases is smart not just for productivity sake but your health. If you or someone you know is using the internet obsessively over things like games or what have you to a point where it interferes with everyday life. Then considering a program that limits usage to the network of tubes that is the internet. This can be achieved in a multitude of ways across many platforms.

Here’s a list of methods you can use to block/manage internet usage-

For Windows users

For OS X users

Curbi for iOS

Overall the internet is a vast place. I can’t truly cover everything you’ll encounter along your browsing experience. However using the tips outlined above it’ll provide a safer and better experience for you and your family. Protecting you against general scams/viruses and as always you are the gatekeeper when it comes to all of this. Your knowledge & choices are the first line of defense when it comes to anything on the net. As parents its worth taking time to explain the vastness of the internet and things your kids may run into along the way. Explaining the importance of privacy, security, and what they post out there on the net as they grow older and are introduced to thing such as social media. Nowadays the internet is accessible across almost all of our device be it phones, computer or tablet. So understanding the different platforms and practices we can use on each to be safe is investing in a more secure & stable future.

Again my personal thanks goes out to Curbi for sponsoring the series of content we’ve created on internet safety & the importance of it. Be sure to check out the posts down below & of course feel free to submit your own tips/resources in the comments down below!

Curbi Overview- Parental Control for iOS

Parental Control Tips for iOS (iPhone, iPod, iPad)

Parental Control Tips for iOS

Parental Control Tips for iOS

My thanks to Curbi the makers of an amazing parental control app for iOS for sponsoring the web safety series of content. Curbi allows you to monitor, block, and curb your children’s iOS devices easily and safely. Ensuring the most priceless of things peace of mind with your kids on the internet. Try out Curbi today!

Nowadays kids everywhere have iOS devices be it their parents, siblings, or even their own. So its important to ensure their safety on the device to prevent any trouble, wrongful spending, or just general safety. Here’s a rundown of some iOS tips you can use on any current iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

Video Overview:

 

1. Restrictions

iOS allows you to actually restrict you kids access to the device. This is highly useful in that you can tailor specifically what they can or can’t access. A great example of this being app-store purchases this prevents them from spending on your iTunes account and can save you countless dollars from kids who are purchasing things without knowing any better.

This is achieved by going to Setting-General-Restrictions

 2-Guided Access Mode

GAM or Guided Access Mode allows you to actually lock the iOS device to one app. Normally this is used on devices within the apple store or presentation devices. However using this to lock kids to one app can be highly beneficial. It has the ability to prevent tapping in defined areas of apps or even set a time limit usage.

This can be enabled by going into Settings-General-Accessibility-Guided Access 

3-App Solution

Overall these built in iOS tips are great tips packed into the OS that most parents may be unaware of. They’re great ways to control the experience of your child and limit or prevent harmful usage on the iOS devices. However all of this can be achieved even easier within an app solution. Curbi for example does all of the above from restrictions, time limits and even more but a simpler package. Furthermore the benefits of Curbi extend in that it monitors your children’s usage tracking information and reporting it to you even when your away.

You can’t always monitor your kids usage and actions on a device let Curbi handle that for you. Check out our overview post we did on the service for more info on setup. Overall these tips provide a safer experience for you and your young kids be it on their own device or yours.

How To: Improve Your Writing Workflow

How To: Improve Your Writing Workflow

My thanks to the team over at Literature & Latte for sponsoring this post & series of content on writing. They’re the makers of the essential writing app Scrivener for Windows or OS X. Providing an all in one writing studio that allows you to edit, outline, storyboard, and most importantly write in an efficient system. Use it for scriptwriting, books, essays, and more. A must have for all writers.

Outside of this site I do quite a bit of writing both personally & professionally. Whether its for clients, my own personal archive, or my other sites I like to write. That said it wasn’t always that way & I view writing as this muscle that needs to be exercised frequently. So I wanted to throw together some tips and advice to improving your writing workflow. The process in which you write & tools you use to do so. Now keep in mind everyones workflow is unique and you’re free to tailor it to fit your own needs. Rather I wanted to provide an outline of my workflow and tools I use to better help others out there improve in their areas of writing.

Video Overview:

 

Tips:

Physical & Digital inspiration-

They say to keep something handy be it a physical notebook or digital app for when inspiration strikes. However when it comes to writing inspiration doesn’t just always strike. Rather to improve your overall writing workflow I believe in practice. Of course keep something handy for whenever an idea strikes or something you want to express & just write it. Don’t worry about grammar, structure, or what have you just write. Writing daily helps implement a routine & improve your writing fluency.

Using great sites like 750Words allow you to build up your writing skills by tasking you to write 750 words on a daily basis.

Text Expansion-

Text expansion when it comes to writing has been something has saved a ton of time & unnecessary keystrokes. Using an app like TextExpander allows you to take let’s say an e-mail signature for example.

Regards,

Adrian Cauguiran

CEO & Founder DigitalDojos

Rather than constantly typing this I can set ;sig2 to automatically translate into that. You can very technical with this of course having it type out current dates & times, common answers to questions, and so much more. Saving you a ton of time when writing out anything as the app is supported in anything that has a text field.

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Cloud Storage-

Using a cloud storage service can highly improve your writing workflow in various ways. First and foremost keeping your content be it manuscripts, books, essays and so on in the cloud allow you to keep them off site. This means if your local copies are ever damaged or corrupted you have the stored safely in the cloud. Additionally cloud storage allows you to access your files anywhere you have internet access so you can write on the go on a variety of devices. Be it Dropbox or Google Drive syncing files to these services has never been easier. On top of all of this a service like Google Drive allows for collaboration editing. This is very useful in projects where you have multiple people overviewing a document & gives a live look at whats ongoing.

 

My own Workflow:

So when it comes to time for me to write I approach it a systematic way depending on the project I’m working on. It can be a blog post, formal letter, essay, and a variety of other things which allows me to adjust the methods I use.

Most importantly I always focus on the writing itself. I write first & edit/revise later. The best way for me to overcome a blank page is by filling it with whatever I have on my mind or have to tackle. In conjunction with the following steps I try to always follow.

 

1.Research

Gather all material I need beforehand. This helps in terms of preparation in that I have everything I need in one place be it an app or document. Scrivener provides an amazing feature to do just that. Allowing you to  couple everything in one place to easily focus on your writing and reference your research material links, web pages, sources, in one place without interrupting your workflow.

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2.Outline

From there I tend to outline my projects. Providing a visual look at what I’m about to put together. This helps in structuring my content and in a sense gives me a template to work off of. Now you can outline yours however you please some people prefer a mind map, audio notes, or just a typical outline number/lettering system like I use to structure my posts.

3.Organization

With bigger scale projects extra organization is required & having to sort through files, research, material, can be very cumbersome. I prefer to keep my content separated in folders or tags much like what Scrivener offers in it’s binder. You can color code notes, make collections, and easily branch out files/folders. Of course this may mean physically organizing your material if you don’t use a digital solution. I find the easier and more accessible my material is the easier it is for me to focus on writing.

4.Write

As simple & complex as it is the last step is to sit down and write. Focus on writing and putting together what I’ve visualized & organized and worry about the details afterwards. Dropping in video/picture media, grammar, formatting. I try to let myself just create before fine tuning it. This allows me to look at the work again with fresh eyes after I finish writing. All these steps in conjunction make up my writing workflow. Filled with practices, apps, and various tools that have helped me improve my writing overtime. More importantly knowing it’s something that I have to constantly be doing & improving upon.

 

Look to establish your own workflow with tools & tips that work best for you. However if your serious about writing & or do it for a living you can’t go wrong trying some of the apps mentioned above.

Be sure to check out the previous post we did in line with our series of content on “Writing Workshop” highlighting the

Best writing tools for Mac OS X

 

Quick Tip: How to View Your “Liked” Posts on Instagram

Quick Tip: How to View Your “Liked” Posts on Instagram

I follow a lot of fashion/style based Instagram accounts for inspirations & ideas. That said I was looking for an outfit that I liked a while back on Instagram only to wonder how exactly you access your “liked” photo gallery. It’s definitely a feature within Instagram just a couple taps away in the settings panel.

 

Step 1: Profile Tab

Begin by clicking on your profile tab within Instagram.

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Step 2: Settings

Open your settings panel by clicking the gear in the top right. Which will take you to your Instagram settings.

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Step 3: Photos You’ve Liked

Under the account section you’ll find the “Posts You’ve Liked” button. Enjoy viewing a gallery or list view of the photos/videos you’ve liked. Making it easier to filter through the posts you enjoy.

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Relative to Instagram version 6.6.1