A Grindable, Clickable eBook Table of Contents

There’s been a lot of confusion and debate over how to create a table of contents in an eBook that will survive KDP and Smashwords conversions. Some say you have to do it all manually, and some say you can use MS Word automation. Lynne Cantwell wrote a post about the manual method, and Dick Waters just recently wrote about a more sophisticated style.

Personally, I go with a completely manual method, because I run all my eBooks through MobiPocket Creator and convert them to a prc before I upload to KDP – and that will for certain strip out any coding MS Word has graciously conjured up. The lovely Laura Clark (author LB Clark) showed me how to do this way back in 2011 when I self-published my first collection of short works with fellow author Newton Love. (The prc method was one of the ways KDP recommended for conversion back in 2011 – but you don’t have to do it this way. It’s just my method of choice because it’s what I’m used to.)

You can use this table of contents method on an existing document or a new document, that’s not a gating factor. I usually do it in an “assembly line” fashion, as that’s faster, but I’m going to do it one “chapter” at a time so the sequence is clear. Continue reading “A Grindable, Clickable eBook Table of Contents”

Tips: Top Ten Common Book Mistakes

Between the submissions we receive here at Indies Unlimited and the ones I receive for consideration for the Hurricane Sandy Library Recovery project, I’ve vetted close to 200 books in the past two weeks. Yes, my eyes are tired, and there’s a slight chance I may be just a teeny tiny bit cranky.

I’m noticing a lot of common errors while reviewing the previews of these books, which I’m going to list below. People complain (no, I don’t know which people, just people, all right?) that indie and self-published books don’t meet the same level of quality as traditionally published books. I don’t believe that can be made as a blanket statement. What I will tell you, however, is that these errors are DEAD giveaways that a book is a not-so-high-quality self-published product. Isn’t the goal ultimately that someone can pick up an indie book and a traditionally published book and not be able to tell the difference? Well, let’s do away with the issues below and we’ll be well on our way. Continue reading “Tips: Top Ten Common Book Mistakes”

Advice to a First-time Indie Author

Carrot Top Plastic Surgery
How tight does it need to be?

Last week I received an email – a cry for help – from a new Indie Author. He had a number of questions about how he should proceed with his manuscript. I told him he came to the right place – because, as you know – I’ve been doing this for a REALLY long time. Here are his questions, and my responses.

The only person other than me who’s read my very first book is my Mommy. I’m a little uncertain of my skills – should I get someone outside of my family to reassure me that the book is good BEFORE I publish it? Continue reading “Advice to a First-time Indie Author”

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