Making Epub and Mobi files with StoryBox

What? What? Really?

Yes. Here’s the rough and tumble guide to turning your StoryBox project into epub and mobi files. First, you have to have StoryBox installed, and you have to have your novel or short story written or imported into it. If you’ve never used StoryBox before, read the help sections on importing, and you should be able to get your project into StoryBox pretty quickly.

Once your story or novel is ready to go, you need to add the cover.

First, you’ll want to make sure you have your cover image in a proper format. Using MS paint, or other image editing tool, create a cover, then save it as a “jpg” image. You should size the image so that it’s not terribly large. I like 500×750 pixels, but if you find someone recommending a different size, use that if you wish. You just need to make sure it’s sized appropriately before you import it into StoryBox.

Next, Right click on the story node in the File Drawer and select “New Picture”. You can actually put the picture anywhere in the tree you want, I just like them as children of the story. Find the cover image you saved, and click Open. Once it’s done importing, you want to click on the image document in the File Drawer to open it, and then click the “Cover” checkbox in the Properties panel.

If you wish to use a picture as a scene separator, you can import another picture (I recommend using a png since they can have transparent parts) just like you did the cover, then click the “Scene Separator” box in the Properties panel.

Now, select Export from the Project menu. A small Export dialog will appear. Select “EPUB” from the File Format dropdown. If you want to use the picture for the scene separator, you will need to select “[picture]” from the Scene Separator dropdown. Click Export, choose where you want to save the file, give it a name and click save, and you’re done with the epub export.

To make a mobi file, download Calibre, a free e-book converter. Start it up, drag the epub file into it, right click on the file and select Convert Books->Convert Individually. A dialog opens up with a bunch of options. In the upper right corner, there’s a dropdown labeled Output format. Select MOBI from it. Click OK, and it starts converting. When it’s done, right click the book in the list again, and select “Open Containing Folder”, and it will take you right to where the .mobi file is. You’re done. In my tests, the conversion is pretty dang good and worked on my wife’s Kindle flawlessly.

Here are a couple tricks. If you want bold chapter titles, go into each chapter document, select the text (which defaults to “Chapter [chnum]”) and make it bold by hitting Ctrl-B.

The Table of Contents names are derived from the names of the documents in the File Drawer. Make sure these are how you want them. You can make the chapter titles in the actual document match the Table of Contents by using “[doctitle]” in the text in place of “Chapter [chnum]”.

If the paragraph indent is too large, this can be adjusted by changing the over-all paragraph indent in Preferences-Format tab. Paragraph and line spacing is ignored because on some readers, they don’t handle paragraph spacing well.

If you need to add some extra line breaks, you can put [br] where you need them. Places where you might want to do this are on the copyright page or an acknowledgements page. (Edit: I’ve changed the tag. Using html tags no longer works at all for a couple important reasons, one of which is to allow you to use > and < in your text).

If you need different license pages for different distributors, remember that you can use the “Include In Manuscript” checkbox on the Properties for each document to specify which documents to include in the export.

My goal for epub generation is NOT flexibility in format. My goal is having it be quick and simple to generate a professional looking epub file. Let me know if you think of an easier way to do something.

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