Back matter is where the independent publisher can blow their own trumpet. It’s a great PR opportunity for an author to get readers involved and, crucially, buying more of the author’s books. So it’s worth doing it as well as you possibly can.
Back matter is probably the second-last thing an author needs to do before uploading her ebook. (The last thing is to update the Table of Contents.) Before doing back matter, you should have done all in the following list (click to see my previous blogs on how to do them):
The Table of Contents (TOC) has led to much hair-tearing by self-published authors, me included. That’s partly because it should be clickable so that the reader can go to, say, Chapter 4, with a single mouse click or touch on the screen.
Why is a clickable TOC necessary?
Because ebooks are not as easy to handle as traditional print books. With print, it’s a doddle to hop back a few chapters or pages to check on something you want to know. With ebooks, not so much. So it’s a very good idea to give readers a table of contents that they can click in order to move between chapters.
Clearly a TOC is essential for non-fiction. Some authors maintain that it’s not necessary for fiction. I disagree. I think all fiction ebooks should include a clickable TOC. And note that Amazon agrees. Amazon KDP have been known to reject an uploaded MS if it doesn’t have a TOC. The KDP instructions say that a clickable TOC should be included.
So this blog is about how you ensure that your MS includes the clickable TOC that Amazon (and readers) want. Continue reading →
Beach Hut Surprise, text formatting by Joanna Maitland
Apart from Beach Hut Surprise, I’ve recently been republishing some of my vintage books on Amazon. In revised (and, I hope, better) editions. I do all my own formatting and I thought I would share some of the approach I use. I’ll add in tips and tricks, too.
For those who’d like to do their own e-publishing, but haven’t yet dared, I hope this will encourage you to have a go. It really isn’t all that difficult. Honest.
Though—shameless self-promo here—if you absolutely can’t face doing your own formatting, I’d be happy to do it for you.
For a fee, of course 😉
Formatting: what it isn’t
This blog is not about editing or proofreading a manuscript. Formatting an ebook starts from the point where the manuscript has already been edited and proofread. A formatter does not normally read the detailed text she’s working on. If she had to do that, the charges would be much, much higher.
The formatter’s job is to take your perfect manuscript and turn it into a file that can be uploaded to the internet. If the manuscript isn’t perfect, your imperfections will be translated into the e-pubbed version. And you don’t want that, do you?
As an aside, I do normally run a spellcheck on manuscripts before I start formatting. And the spellcheck does sometimes point out errors. Does that mean that the author did not run the spellcheck on her manuscript? I hope not. Maybe it’s just that my spellcheck works differently. In the end, if the published ebook contains spelling errors—or any other editing errors that should have been corrected—it is down to the author, not the formatter.