I updated my list earlier this year and had to do something new. I wanted to tell you about creating a navigational Table of Contents in your ebook. All the retailers require this these days, so if you’re uploading a new book, updating an edited version of your previously published book, adding new titles and links to your list, or adding new reviews, you’ll need to bite the bullet.
I must tell you, I resisted the new functionality for months. I argued against it. “Readers can already bookmark their ebooks in their ereaders, why should I add another layer of complexity?” And “This is fiction, not a textbook in which the reader may want to skip around to various chapters.”
Forget about arguing with Apple. “We require it, and that’s that,” they said. So does everyone else.
Smashwords offers a free video you can download that walks you through how to do it. I didn’t download it. After my laptop got seriously hacked last summer, I download as little as possible from the Internet.
And I don’t know about you, but my eyes glaze over reading Help on Microsoft Word. Plus, I found a major instance in which the Help didn’t provide the latest or the easiest information. So I figured out how to do this functionality myself.
Once I’d worked out the kinks, I really love the Navigational Table of Contents. It turns out to be a helpful tool in a reader’s ebook and makes your presentation more professional. It’s not difficult, just time-consuming.
First things first.
After your front matter page (book title, author, the usual disclaimer language, date of publication), insert a page and set up your Table of Contents. I think centering this looks best.
Type “Table of Contents,” then the headings, typically “Praise for Books by You,” “Contents of Your Book,” “About You the Author,” and “Books by You,” and any other special features your book may contain that you’d like a reader to jump to, such as a “Dedication,” “A Introductory Poem or Quotation,” or a “List of Sources.”
Shaken has a List of Sources, for example, because I did a lot research about earthquakes for that book. Same for The Sixty-third Anniversary of Hysteria, in this case research about women Surrealist artists in Mexico, 1941.
But keep your TOC simple, with a bare bones of headings. You don’t want to overwhelm the reader on the second page of the ebook!
Tip: If your ebook is divided into a few Parts, I think the Part titles work well in the Table of Contents. The Garden of Abracadabra is divided into three titled Parts, with chapters labeled only with numbers. Tesla, A Worthy of His Time: A Screenplay has five titled Acts.
That’s a small enough number of headings in addition to the basics not to overwhelm. Be sure to type the exact title of the Part, spelled correctly.
Tip: What if your book has only chapters with numbers and not titles? I’ve seen some TOCs in which the author has dutifully listed and centered the chapter numbers and linked to each. Trust me, that does nothing for the reader. The retailers don’t require it.
What to do? Set up your TOC as suggested above, including a heading, “Title of Your Book.” Then insert “Title of Your Book” on the first page of text above the first chapter, Bookmark and Hyperlink it as set forth below, and you’re good to go.
Tip: What if your book has numerous parts and chapters with titles?
Do not put them in your TOC.
Instead, link “Contents of Your Book” in your TOC to your Contents page with Part numbers and titles, and Chapter number and titles. Then, on the Contents page, you may Bookmark and Hyperlink each part or each part and chapter.
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four Books in the miniseries and maybe a hundred chapters altogether. I Bookmarked and Hyperlinked only the Books and left the chapters alone.
Next, the techie part.
This is for those of you who work with MS Word and have a .doc file for your ebook. This is the Gold Standard, uploadable on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords, which ships to Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
[If you’re working on an Apple device, I can’t help you.]
Step One: Bookmarking 1: Do this first. Select Table of Contents on your TOC page. On the top toolbar, click Insert. You will see the menu for various Inserts. In the middle of the toolbar, find Hyperlink and Bookmark.
Click on Bookmark. You will see a menu cuing you to name the Bookmark and an Add, Delete, Cancel list to the right.
Always start the Bookmark with a capital letter. No punctuation, no spaces, but you can capitalize letters within so you can easily identify the Bookmark when you go to Hyperlink to it.
Example: The first chapter in Summer of Love is “She’s Leaving Home”. The Bookmark for the chapter is “ShesLeavingHome”.
The menu will then cue you to Add.
Since we’re still on the Table of Contents heading on the TOC page, type in TOC and Add it. The Bookmark must always be TOC.
Tip: Be sure to Bookmark TOC properly. Neither the Smashwords Style Manual, the Amazon format guide, nor the MS Word Help state this!
When I uploaded my first updated ebook on Amazon, I got a Quality Notification stating that the GoTo function in the ebook wasn’t functioning. The Quality Team sent me a link to hellishly complicated MS Word instructions on an automated Table of Contents functionality. The Instructions, when I printed them out, were 6 pages long!
In fact, Hyperlink-Bookmark is simplicity itself, and I sent them an email to that effect. Some kind soul replied that all I needed to do was Bookmark the Table of Contents as TOC.
I really doubt the automated Table of Contents works across the many platforms you need to upload your ebook to. Don’t go there.
Step Two: Bookmarking 2: Next, you want to move on through your ebook and find each heading you want to Bookmark. That would be “Praise for Books by You,” “Contents of Your Book,” “About You the Author,” “Books by You,” and special features your book offers, Part titles and Chapter titles. You want to do this first to make sure you match the Bookmark to the heading.
Select the text, Click Insert, Go to Bookmark, type in the Bookmark name, and click Add.
Tip: If, on the Bookmark menu, you see a little box to the left checked “Hidden bookmarks,” it means MS Word, in its mysterious way, has generated a line of code that will interfere with your legit Bookmarks. (Why oh why do they do that?) Click a couple of times on “Hidden bookmarks,” not the checkbox, and you will see in your list of Bookmarks, one or more bookmarks beginning with _. Delete those bad boys! Delete them all!
Step Three: Hyperlinking: This is the fun part.
Go back to your Table of Contents page. Select a heading under Table of Contents and click on Hyperlink. You will get the Hyperlink menu. Click on Place in this Document to the left of the menu and–lo!–your list of Bookmarks will appear.
In the “Text to Display” box at the top, the selected heading should appear, but if it doesn’t, carefully type it in. Then find the Bookmark name you’ve given for the place in your book, click on it, add it, and save your file. You’re done!
Tip: Be sure to test each Hyperlink. Select the text, left click on it, and MS Word should zoom you to the right spot.
I have three different Books by Lisa Mason for each of the main retailers with different links and specialized text. I paste each in depending on the version of the ebook. When I do that, though, the Books by Lisa Mason Bookmark gets nullified and I have to reBookmark and reHyperlink it to make it work.
So there you have it, my friends. Creating a navigational Table of Contents in your ebook takes a little extra time—which none of us has!—but you’ve got to do it. I hope my trials and errors will help make the task a little easier for you.
From the author of Summer Of Love (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.
The Gilded Age on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is on US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo, Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India, and Mexico.
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico.
Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!
And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
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