Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to Easily Format an eBook [2] Title Pages / Table of Contents

This is the 2nd post in my tutorial about formatting an eBook for Kindle or Nook. You can read the first post about overall text formatting here. This post deals with Title Pages and the Table of Contents.

Once you have the basic text ready to go (according to the first part of this tutorial), you'll need to add any extra pages like a Title Page, a Copyright Page, Part/Section Pages, etc. Essentially anything that you want in your eBook that is not part of the normal text. For my eBooks, I created all of the above, including a Table of Contents.

Title Page

The title page in your eBook is essentially the first page after the cover. Usually it just says the book title, the author's name and any other info (like a tagline, publisher, etc) that you deem absolutely necessary. But for the most part, it should just be the title and author.

For my novel Bonebearer, all I did was this:

Very simple. On the Word page, start the title around 7-8 lines down from the top. Put a few spaces on each line to ensure that they remain after you convert it to the eBook format. Try to keep it tight overall and only in the first half of the page so it looks good with the most common font sizes a reader may choose for their eReader. Feel free to use larger size fonts (as compared to your normal text). When converted to an eBook the size differences between the two will remain.

Also remember to keep it on its own separate page, with page breaks between it and nearby pages. Page breaks force a new page in eReaders, so don't forget to use them when needed.

Copyright Page

There are a lot of different ways you can do this. One is to just pick up some of the books you own, look at their copyright pages and imitate them in some form or fashion (that is what I did). Add credits for any additional contributors. Go ahead and put a disclaimer about it being a "work of fiction" and that it's copyrighted, etc etc. Put it on a separate page entirely, with page breaks, like you did with the title page.

Technically you already own the copyright from the moment you create it, further reinforced by fixing your work in some tangible medium (an eBook); you don't have to file for copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office unless you want to bring a lawsuit against someone for infringement. So that's up to you.

For more info on copyright, please check It's a good idea to read through the FAQs so you're familiar with the basics before publishing anything.

Yet... why bother with a copyright page? Well, because it looks professional, that's why. Plus, they are not hard to make. The extra effort will make it look like you care (which you do, right?).

Here is the copyright page from my novel, Bonebearer:

You will notice I added things like "Cover art by" and an author website. I also have an ISBN, which is something you may or may not have. It is not required in order to sell an eBook, but if you're really trying to be serious about selling your writing, it's a good idea to have one so your work can be identified for a few reasons (as taken from here):

· for the purposes of trading through conventional channels
· for search and discovery in publicly available retailer databases
· for item/product-level sales reporting (whether for royalties or for sales data reporting)

Whether you want to get an ISBN or not is up to you. They even suggest having a different one for each eBook format, but I have used the same one for both my Kindle (.mobi) and Nook (.epub) formats of Bonebearer. Read more about ISBNs on

Part / Section Pages

If your text is broken into discreet parts – i.e. Part 1, Part 2, etc – then you should make them on separate pages (with page breaks) as usual. Format it however you wish, but follow the same basic techniques mentioned for the title page: start it a few lines down the page (with spaces on the blank lines to force them to appear in the eReader format), use different sizes/styles of font as needed, and try to keep it in the first half of the page.

I would suggest using a large size font so that the reader knows it's a part / section break. Here's an example of a part break from my novel, Bonebearer:

I have a quote for each part in that novel. You might just have Part 1: Part Name or whatever. As usual, keep it simple and elegant. No need for crazy pictures or too much variation in fonts.

Don't forget that each part / section page needs to be on a separate page with page breaks separating them from the text. It's important!

Table of Contents

Here is one of the most critical parts of your eBook. A properly done Table of Contents will enable the reader to jump around in the book easily and it also meets the standards that Amazon or B&N recommend for their eBook formats. With one in place, it will also display page numbers in the Kindle format.

To create your Table of Contents, you must add a bookmark in each spot that you want to put on the list. So if you have chapters, add a bookmark at the beginning of each chapter. This can be a tedious manual process if your file is quite large and you have a lot of chapters, but you'll only have to do it once and it will be worth it. Why? Because it will look professional and it shows you care about your final product.

To add a bookmark in Word, first place the cursor where you want it, then select Insert -> Bookmark on the toolbar / ribbon:

This will bring up the Bookmark dialog. Type the name of your bookmark in Bookmark name (overwrite whatever is in there, it may show an existing one). I usually do something simple like "C01" (Chapter 1) or "P01" (Part 1) so I can easily identify it later. Click "Add" to add the bookmark. Go through your entire file and add each new bookmark one at a time.

Once that is done, add a new page near the beginning of your file, typically after the copyright page and before the text begins. This will be your Table of Contents page. Format it however you wish and type out the chapter names. Don't bother with page numbers or the full justification that you might see in a physical book. Just simply list everything.

When your list is complete, highlight a chapter name. Right-click and select "Hyperlink." In the Insert Hyperlink dialog, you'll have the option to add a few different types of links. You want to select Place in this Document, then select the name of the bookmark you made for that chapter. Like so:

Click "OK" and the link will be added. Your highlighted text now looks like a link you might see on a web page, but instead it will jump to the bookmark (and thus the chapter) in your text. Repeat this for every chapter name in the Table of Contents.

Yes, it is tedious. But you only have to do it once!

Next Steps

At this point your file should be completely formatted, along with all necessary features for the final eBook. The last step is to convert your eBook to the proper formats and check it in an eReader (or eReader application) to make sure everything is kosher. Check the link below for the continuation.

Next: Convert in Calibre / Verification

Shameless promotion: If you want to see how this all looks in final eBook form, download a free sample of my book in Kindle or Nook formats. You could also try reading it as well. ;)

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