Friday, March 25, 2016

Have You Set Up Your Personal Scrivener Templates Yet?

Over the weekend, I came across this awesome guest blog post at The Creative Penn's site written by Matt Herron on How To Use Scrivener To Manage Your Book Marketing. 

This year, I started using Scrivener to draft, organize, and plan my blog posts and so far, I feel that it's going well. I also use my iCloud calendar and I've set up due dates to keep me on track and consistent.

In my day job, I love using templates for emails, documents, and spreadsheets that I use on a daily basis to save me some time instead of creating emails, documents, and spreadsheets with the same general information over and over from scratch. The good news is, you can do that with Scrivener as well for your books, blogs and just about everything.

Every writer has their own preference on what content goes into their Scrivener project files and how it is presented. Below are some tips and tricks on how to setup your very own personal Scrivener project templates.





#1 Decide on whether you want to use Labels, Statuses, Icons or a combination of the three

For Books

Some people use all of them. I personally use Labels and assign a color to represent each character's POV for fiction and I use Icons to represent the status of that chapter. Once you have decided on what to use, be consistent on what they mean for you.



The image above is how I use Labels by color-coding them for fiction as follows:

  • Yellow = Idea Stage
  • Orange = Draft Stage
  • Green = Final Draft Stage; Pending: Editors, Proofreaders, Beta Readers
  • Pink = Scene is from the female protagonist's POV
  • Blue = Scene is from the male protagonist's POV




Once all the folder icons turn green, I will be updating the folder icons to a Flag icon to indicate at what production stage they are at:

  • Yellow Flag = Sent to Editors, Proofreaders & Beta Readers
  • Orange Flag = Need to update with feedback from Editors, Proofreaders & Beta Readers
  • Blue Flag = Second round of edits completed
  • Red Flag = Deleted Scenes; for those I want to keep just in case and then I move them to a deleted scenes folder under Research and put in additional info on the Document Notes area as to where that scene was originally from
  • Green Flag = Compiled and Published





For Blogs

Blogs are simpler as they don't require several rounds of edits. For my blog, I just use icons:

  • Standard Folder icon = Top level; representing the months in a year
  • Standard Document icon = for each blog post; Draft status
  • Yellow Flag = Pending to Publish status
  • Green Flag = Published/Complete status
  • Yellow Star = Scheduled Book Review Post; Pending to Publish book reviews to Goodreads & Amazon (I only use this icon for book reviews)






#2 Decide How You Want Your Sections Laid Out

For Books



In this stage, I decide whether or not I want all my books to have identical sections or not (example: Dear Readers, Dedication, Acknowledgments, ARC sign up, Other Books, About the Author, Contact Me, etc). 

Deciding early on if you want additional sections other than the normal Front Matter/Copyright piece and other Back Matter sections will help you set up a Scrivener template that will make your novel set up process more efficient in the sense that when you select that special template, you can go right ahead and just type. You don't have to set everything up like when you used the default Novel Template on Scrivener. 

For Blogs



In this stage, I decide how often do I want to post on my blog. For me, I set up monthly folders and for each month, I've decided I wanted a section/folder for Book Reviews, Independent/Random Blog Posts and a Monthly Roundup.


#3 Write Up What Goes Into Your Front and Back Matter sections (For Books Only)



You can write up your Front and Back Matter on a piece of paper, a notepad, a Word/Pages/Google Docs document - anywhere as long as you can easily retrieve it to put on your actual Scrivener Template.

In this stage, I also create or design an image/poster for sign up sheets like for my ARC sign up page and of course, get that all set up with your list builder provider (Mailchimp, Aweber, etc.) so that you have the sign up sheet link ready. 


#4 Set Up Your Blog Template Using Scrivener 

The following steps are the step-by-step instruction on how I set up my Blog Template on Scrivener. Your blog template needs may or may not be different from mine but definitely feel free to add, remove or organize to your heart's content. Please note, I have automated IFFFT to automatically share my blog posts to all of my other social media accounts. If you don't have anything automated for social media sharing and you prefer to share the links manually, feel free to add a to-do list for each social media account as suggested in Matt Heron's article (linked above). 

  • Launch Scrivener, select the Blank Template, click choose
  • I saved my project as Blog Posts Template to my hard drive then click Create
  • I changed Draft to Year
  • Added a folder and renamed it to represent the monthly folder
    • Added a folder under the Month folder and renamed it to represent Book Reviews 
    • Added a folder under the Month folder and renamed it Indie Posts to house random independent posts
    • Added a folder under the Month folder and renamed it Roundup
      • Added 8 documents under the Roundup folder for Introduction, Books I've Read Since Last Blog Post, Currently Reading, Currently Writing, Finished Objects, Currently Knitting/Crocheting, Product Reviews, Announcements
  • Right click on the month template folder and click Duplicate however many times you need. In my case, I duplicated it 11 times so that I have 12 monthly folders.
  • Then I changed the folder names to the months in a year 
  • And because I am quite OCD, I updated the inside folders as well to add the name of the month it belongs to.
  • Under the Research folder, I added a document template for my Book Reviews since I am very particular about information I want included in my book reviews as well as the formatting. So every time I have a book review to write up, I just right click, select duplicate and then move that duplicate document into whatever month it is for and rename it with the Title and Author of the book I'm reviewing.
  • You can also add a folder for marketing/sharing your blog post where each document in that folder corresponds to a social media platform that you need to share the link on. I personally don't have a marketing/sharing folder for each month/post because IFFFT does that for me.
  • Once you have everything set up the way you want and the way it works for you, click File then click Save As Template
  • Give it a Title and Select the Category you want your Blog Template to be saved on Scrivener so that the next time you need to set up a new blog planner/draft, you know where to find it. I titled mine Blog Post Template and saved it under Miscellaneous so come December, all I have to do is launch Scrivener, go to the Miscellaneous category and click my Blog Post Template, title the whole project as 2017 Blog Posts and I'm good to go. 
  • As your blogging needs and format evolve, you too can update and make changes to your actual template. Open that Scrivener file that you saved to your computer on bullet #2 above, make the necessary changes you want save the file as a normal Scrivener project then save it again but this time use the Save As Template and click yes that you would like to replace the previous template file and that should update your Blog Template on Scrivener.


#5 Setting Up Your Book Template Using Scrivener 

The following steps are the step-by-step instruction on how I set up my Novel Template on Scrivener. Your Novel template needs may or may not be different from mine but definitely feel free to add, remove or organize to your heart's content. 

You will want to use Scrivener's default Novel Template as it already has majority of the sections you will need for all of your books like the Front & Back Matter sections, Character & Location Sketch, Research Folder, 

  • Launch Scrivener, click Fiction, select the Novel Template, click choose.
  • I saved my project as MyNovelTemplate to my hard drive then click Create.
  • On the Front Matter section of the default Scrivener template, I copy and paste that copyright section that I drafted on #3 above.
  • Next, under the Manuscript section, I added a couple of top level documents for my Dear Readers and Synopsis section.
  • I then add four more top level documents after the default Chapter folder that would represent my back matter sections: Thank You, Other Books, About The Author and Advance Reader Club signup information and link. Then copy and paste the information on these sections that you drafted in #3 above.
  • Then I added four top level folders after the Front Matter section to house my to-do list for Post Production, Launch, Ads & Promotions, and Marketing activities as suggested by Matt Herron's article (linked above).
  • Save your Scrivener project.
  • Once you have everything set up the way you want and the way it works for you, click File then click Save As Template
  • Give it a Title and Select the Category you want your Book Template to be saved on Scrivener so that the next time you start a new book, you know where to find it. I titled mine MyNovelTemplate and saved it under Fiction so that all I have to do is launch Scrivener, go to the Fiction category and click MyNovelTemplate, duplicate my chapter folders and I'm good to go. 
  • As your novel writing needs and format evolve, you too can update and make changes to your actual template. Open that Scrivener file that you saved to your computer on bullet #2 above, make the necessary changes you want save the file as a normal Scrivener project then save it again but this time use the Save As Template and click yes that you would like to replace the previous template file and that should update your Book Template on Scrivener.


I hope this post helped you be more focused on writing that blog post or novel instead of taking precious time away trying to figure out how to set up your Scrivener projects. Let me know in the comments below how you set up yours so others can benefit from your brilliant ideas as well and don't forget to share this post if you found it helpful.