Tag Archives: Formatting a manuscript for publication

Revisited: the Hyperlinked Table of Contents #amwriting

Every now and then we need to create a table of contents (TOC) for an eBook. Some readers like to have it hyperlinked for ease of negotiation in the book. Right now, I am creating the TOC for my new book, Julian Lackland, which will launch on September 22.

These instructions are for MS WORD, which is my preferred word-processing program. I assume the steps are similar in Google Docs but they will differ in ways I’m unfamiliar with.

I know of several high-end book-designing programs out there that will create the TOC and many other aspects of the finished product, but I have never used them. If you have the money and intend to publish a lot of books, one of those would be a good investment.

Also, before we begin, Draft2Digital can do this for you at no charge if your TOC is a straightforward thing. I heartily recommend their services for all aspects of creating a simple manuscript. Their end products look very nice and are easy to read.

However, if your book is divided into titled sections and has a map, you should either build the linked table of contents yourself or have your book-design service create it.

I have the skill, this costs me nothing, and while it is a time  consuming project, it’s not difficult.

The most serious thing to watch out for in this task is boredom. Inattentiveness will make a mess out of your manuscript, so stay alert and focus.

The first thing you want to do is create a plain list of what you want in your table of contents. A table of contents can take any form you want it to. Numbers or titled chapter headings – it’s your choice.

Make sure the finished list looks the way you want it to, and then insert it into the manuscript. I put the TOC in front, but some publishers put them as part of the back matter in eBooks.

The following sample images are from the article I wrote on this same subject and posted on August 31, 2016.

With that done, we create our first bookmark.

First, highlight the words  “Table of Contents” and then go to your ‘Insert’ tab.  Click on ‘Bookmark’ and when the pop-out menu opens, type in the words: ref_TOC

Then click “Add”.  In every manuscript it is important to name the Table of Contents bookmark exactly that, including the underscore: ref_TOC, because that’s what Smashwords looks for and it is simply a good practice to have a uniform system for naming files.  See the next picture for how it will look:

ref_TOC_screenshot2

Now it’s time to bookmark the first chapter, or the prologue if you have one. We’ll give this pretend book the title of Billy’s Revenge, in honor of Billy Ninefingers. Thus, the initials BR will be featured in all my bookmark names.

Scroll down to your prologue or first chapter and do it exactly the same way as you bookmarked the TOC, but for this manuscript I will name it BR_ch_1. (Billy’s Revenge chapter 1)

You will name yours with your manuscript’s initials and the word prologue or chapter 1: MS_chapter_1

See the picture below:

ref_TOC_screenshot3

As long as you have the chapter title highlighted, click “insert Hyperlink” on the “insert” tab of the ribbon.

On the left of the dropdown menu, you want to click Link to:  Place in this Document.  That will bring up your bookmarks.

Select ‘ref_TOC’  and click OK.  This will turn your heading blue, and is called a ‘hyperlinky’.

You will need to test it, so press control and click on the link. This will take you back to the table of contents heading. Once you have used the hyperlinky it will turn purple.

ref_TOC_screenshot5

Now that you are back at the Table of Contents, highlight either Prologue or Chapter 1, which ever you are starting your book with, and click “insert Hyperlink” on the ribbon.

Again, on the left of that menu, you want to click Link to: Place in this Document, which will will bring up your bookmarks.

Select the bookmark for your first section, either prologue or “MS_chapter_1” and click OK.  That will turn it blue.

Press control and click on the link. it will take you back to the heading of your prologue or the first chapter. Remember, once you’ve used a hyperlinky, it will turn purple.

Scroll down your manuscript to the next chapter, and highlight the chapter heading, just as you did the first time. Repeat the steps you did for the first section.

Do this for the entire table of contents, always remembering to link your chapter heading back to “ref_TOC”, and test each link as you go.

As I said earlier, creating your hyperlinked table of contents can be time consuming, and it requires you to pay attention. Even so, it is a simple process and makes your eBook a nicer experience for the reader.

ref_TOC_screenshot6

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Formatting the Final Manuscript #amwriting

I’m in the process of formatting a manuscript for publication, both for the paper version and the book version. While there are significant differences between the layout of the two types of documents, some fundamental things remain the same.

I create three manuscripts. Before I embark on making mobi files for Kindle or designing the interior of my paper book, I create a base manuscript, one which has been thoroughly combed by my writing posse. At this point, it is as well-edited as we can get it.

Name it as the BookTitle_Final_.doc

I strongly suggest you save it as a Word 97 – 2003 compatible document (NOT a template) rather than as a .docx. Saving as a compatible document ensures fewer problems in the upload.

I have made several screenshots with the following steps highlighted for you, so if my instructions aren’t clear, my garbled artwork can confuse you even more.

I open my final base manuscript, and using select all, I highlight the entire thing. I have a list of things to check for.

First up is the Font. Go to the font group, on the left-hand end of the ribbon. Unless you write with a particular font, the default font, or pre-designed value or setting, will probably say ‘Calibri (Body),’ and the size will be .11.

You can change this on the home tab by clicking on the little grey square in the right-hand corner of the font menu and accessing the drop-down menu. Scroll down to Times New Roman or Garamond and set it to .12. A standard serif font is easiest on the eyes. Clicking on that will change the font for the whole thing (if you used select all to highlight the entire ms).

Next on the list is eliminating the random extra spaces that somehow find their way into my work as I go. Extra spaces interfere with formatting for eBooks and other electronically uploaded applications. Other than at a few specialty printers, ALL books and magazines are uploaded electronically nowadays, even printed books.

Extra spaces are most frequently found at the end of sentences, or where you have cut and pasted a passage. For older authors, there may be two spaces at the end of every sentence. When I was learning to type in school, they taught us to hit the space bar twice (two spaces) between sentences, for the sake of readability.

That was a difficult habit to break, but it must be done.

The simple way to hunt for extra spaces is to use the “find function” in the upper right corner of your toolbar:

  1. Open Find, click on “advanced find.”
  2. In the “Find what” box, hit the space bar twice.
  3. Then click on the replace tab.
  4. In the replace with box, hit the space bar once.
  5. Click “replace all.”
  6. Click that twice, to make sure there were no places where three spaces had been inadvertently inserted.

That will eliminate all the extra spaces.

I use “control-F” to open the Navigation Pane because it highlights the spaces in yellow, making them easy to see. The instructions are the same as when opening Find by using the toolbar. But for people who are new to word processing programs or who don’t use MS Word, using the toolbar on the ribbon is the simplest method.

Next, I make sure my paragraphs all look the way I want them to.

Some authors still use tabs to indent their paragraphs.

Don’t do it.

If you used the tab key to indent your paragraphs, the indents fail when the ms is uploaded. This creates a wall of words with no way to tell where one paragraph ends, and another begins.

Publishers hate it when that happens.

If you have done that, you can fix it by using one of the two following ways. The first set of instructions only work if you have a ten-key pad on your keyboard.

To remove tabs from a manuscript in Word or most other word-processing programs, open the “Find” box (right side of the ribbon on the home tab). In the “Find” field, type in ^t. (press the alt key 94 to make ^ and key the t) This only works if you have a ten-key (number pad) at the right side of your keyboard. ^t.

Then click “Replace.” In this field, type nothing. One click on “Replace all” will remove every tab.

That will leave you with no indents whatsoever.

If you don’t have a ten-key pad on your keyboard, you will have to remove each one by hand, which is a daunting task no publisher or editor has time for. Beginning with the first paragraph on the first page, scroll down and use the backspace key to remove the tab indenting every paragraph.

This will temporarily make your ms look like a wall of words, but you are going to resolve that the right way.

Once the tabs are all removed, use the following instructions to format paragraphs.

There are two ways to do this.

The easiest way is to open the “home” tab, click on “select all,” and with the manuscript highlighted, choose “normal” from the “styles” tab on the ribbon.

If your word processing program doesn’t have that option, you can format the paragraphs by using the simple formatting tool:

Step 1: On the Home tab, look in the group labeled ‘Paragraph.’ On the lower right-hand side of that group is a small grey square. Click on it. A pop-out menu will appear, and this is where you format your paragraphs.

Step 2: Justify the text. In justified text, the spaces between words and letters (known as “tracking”) are stretched or compressed. Justified text aligns with both the left and right margins. It gives you straight margins on both sides, but remember, this type of alignment only comes into play when a manuscript is being made ready for publication.

Step 3: Indentation: leave that alone or reset both numbers to ‘0’ if you have inadvertently altered it.

Step 4: Where it says ‘Special’: on the drop-down menu select ‘first line.’ On the ‘By’ menu, select ‘0.5.’ (You can specify a different number, 0.3 or 0.2, but 0.5 is standard.)

Step 5: ‘Spacing’: set both before and after to ‘0.’

Step 6: ‘Line Spacing’: set to ‘single.’This kind of formatting is not for work you are submitting to an agent, editor, or publisher. This is for a finished product that you intend to publish yourself.

You can get fancy with your layout, but remember, when it comes to eBooks, simple is better because it’s less distracting and less likely to fail in the upload.

I take this finished base manuscript to Draft2Digital and create my eBook and Mobi files there. As a member of Myrddin Publishing Group, I have all the ISBNs I need, but you can use theirs at no cost if you choose.

I use an old CreateSpace template to make my paper books, and even with that premade template, it’s a bit of a hassle. But that is part of the fun of publishing your work.

Next up, on Wednesday, I’ll begin a 6 part series that will post on Thursdays, featuring five guest authors and publishers who will discuss various aspects of Indie Publishing and how they negotiate the sometimes rough waters. I’m really looking forward to hearing what they have to say!

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#amwriting: the hyperlinked Table of Contents

When I read an ebook, I like to be able to easily navigate within the story by using a hyperlinked table of contents. This is also called a “Smart TOC” (Smart Table of Contents) and every one of my ebooks has one. A Smart TOC easy to create when you are formatting your ms for publication. The only difficult thing about creating one is, it’s time consuming. In my experience, it’s best to just sit down and get it all done in one session so you don’t lose track of where you are in the process. Therefore, I pick a time when I know I will have two or three hours cleared to do this because I get distracted easily. I don’t want to be called away from this task in the middle of it.

First make your table of contents. For ebooks you don’t need page numbers. Page numbers are like prisoners—they just weigh you down, and have no meaning as ebooks don’t use page numbers to navigate.

Once you have your final manuscript proofed, you should turn it into two separate manuscripts, one for the ebook, and one for the print book. This post pertains to the ebook manuscript.

If your book is a novel, your print manuscript will most likely not need a TOC as most large publishing houses don’t waste precious pages on such things. Technical manuals and textbooks must include a TOC.  As an indie, every page you can do without when publishing your novel in paper form will keep the final cost down and make your paperback more affordable for your prospective reader. Very few people will pay $18.99 for a book by an unknown author.

ref_TOC_screenshot1

The first thing you want to do is create a bookmark.  First highlight the words  “Table of Contents” and then go to your ‘Insert’ tab.  Click on ‘Bookmark’ in that ribbon. Type in the words ref_TOC

Then click “Add”.  In every ms it is important to name the Table of Contents bookmark exactly that, including the underscore: ref_TOC, because that’s what Smashwords looks for and it is simply a good practice to have a uniform system for naming files.  See the next picture for how it will look:

ref_TOC_screenshot2

Now it’s time to bookmark the first chapter, or the prologue if you have one. This particular book will be called Billy’s Revenge, so the initials BR will be in all my bookmarks in this ms.  Billy’s Revenge doesn’t have chapters but is broken into eighteen parts. Scroll down to your prologue or first chapter and do it exactly the same way as you bookmarked the TOC, but for this ms I will name it BR_prt1. (Billy’s Revenge Part 1)

You will name yours with your manuscript’s initials and the word prologue or chapter 1: MS_chapter_1

See the picture below:

ref_TOC_screenshot3

As long as you have the chapter title highlighted, click “insert Hyperlink” on the ribbon. On the left of the menu, you want to click Link to:  Place in this Document.  That will bring up your bookmarks. Select ‘ref_TOC’  and click OK.  This will turn your heading blue, which is called a ‘hyperlinky’. You will need to test it, so press control and click on the link. This will take you back to the table of contents heading. Once you have used the hyperlinky it will turn purple.

ref_TOC_screenshot5

Now that you are back at the Table of Contents, highlight either Prologue or Chapter 1, which ever you are starting your book with, and click “insert Hyperlink” on the ribbon. Again, on the left of that menu, you want to click Link to: Place in this Document, which will will bring up your bookmarks. Select the bookmark for your first section, either prologue or “MS_chapter_1” and click OK.  That will turn it blue. Press control and click on the link. it will take you back to the heading of your prologue or the first chapter. Once you’ve used a hyperlinky, it will turn purple.

Scroll down your manuscript to the next chapter, and highlight the chapter heading, just as you did the first time. Repeat the steps you did for the first section.

Do this for the entire table of contents, always remembering to link your chapter heading back to “ref_TOC”, and test each link as you go.

As I said earlier, creating your hyperlinked table of contents can be time consuming, and it requires you to pay attention, but it is a simple process and makes your ebook a nicer experience for the reader.

ref_TOC_screenshot6

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