Right, so I’ve already covered ebook text formatting and paragraphing, among a few other things, in the previous Kindle Publishing Formatting Part 1 article. If you haven’t yet consumed it and would like to catch up, just click the link.
The first thing I’m going to talk about is Page Breaks. If you’ve already added them to your document, scroll down to the Table of Contents (TOC) section. Page Breaks are absolutely essential to have included in your book if you want it to appear as professional as possible. But why are they necessary?
They’re necessary because without them Kindle e-reading devices will not place each chapter at the top of a fresh page. There is no law, of course, against not having Page Breaks. But without them, your book will be viewed as one long mass of flowing words. It’ll look disorganised, basically, and will probably put a few potential readers off. It’s also very easy to insert Page Breaks – so there are no excuses for not having them!
Once you’ve opened your Word document and found the end of your first chapter, click after the last full stop. Now click on the Insert tab in the toolbar overhead, and then on the Page Break icon. Voila! – you have inserted a Page Break. You may need to scroll down to the next page and hit the Backspace key a few times to return its chapter heading to the original position. And that’s how you do Page Breaks, probably one of the simplest parts of ebook formatting. Continue to do this with the rest of your chapters, not forgetting your Front and Back Matter pages.
Creating a Table of Contents (TOC) is not mandatory. But, like with the inclusion of Page Breaks, your book will look more professional and user-friendly, thus further enticing potential readers. I’ve read a number of ways to create TOCs, but have a personal favourite which I like to use. It converts easily to files such as epub (for Apple, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, etc) and mobi (Kindle). It will also help form an index view of your book (which I believe is known as an NCX in Adobe Reader, if I remember correctly) which Smashwords requires.
Add a new page before your first chapter/prologue. Type Table of Contents as a heading and type a list below of each section of your book. It should go something like this:
(And so on…)
You’ve now created a TOC. Well…almost, anyway. All you need to do now is create links to each part of your book. So find the heading for Chapter 1 (not in the TOC), for example. Highlight the text and then click the Bookmark icon in the toolbar. In the Bookmark Name field, type Chapter_1 (note: no spaces can be used). Then click Add. Scroll back up to your TOC and find the Chapter 1 text. Highlight it and click on the Hyperlink icon in the toolbar. In the Link To tab, click on Place In This Document.
Next, in the window to the right, click on Bookmark and then Chapter_1. Finally, click OK. Your Chapter 1 text is now blue and underlined. This means it’s linked. To try it out, hold down the Ctrl key, hover the cursor over the text, and click the left mouse button. Continue to use this method, linking all the sections of your book. When you are finished, I would seriously recommend testing out all of your TOC’s links to ensure they work properly.
Great! – sit back and take a break. Your ebook formatting journey is over, and the price you had to pay was only sprouting a few grey hairs. If you are already grey, the price was sprouting a few white hairs. And if your hair is already white, then…well, maybe you lost a few. The mirror will tell you which category you fit into.
The next article will cover Kindle publishing conversion (how to convert your word document to the e-reader files necessary for distributing your book). Thanks for reading!
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It would be great to get some feedback. Was this article helpful? Do you have some Kindle publishing formatting tips of your own you would like to share? Please let me know in the comments section below.
Stay tuned and keep writing, everyone!