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MRS L C DEWHURST

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Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 2:15 AM
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Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?

How do you get the Look Inside to start at the first chapter rather than having to trawl through all the TOC etc. at the start? I notice some books do this others don’t.

Thank you in advance.
Notjohn

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Re: Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 2:48 AM   in response to: MRS L C DEWHURST in response to: MRS L C DEWHURST
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Yes, there's a rule to this effect, but I don't believe it's enforced. Almost all books from Big Five publishers do have a TOC, so that's what I suggest you do.

And yes, the Look Inside sometimes starts at the cover, sometimes at page one, chapter one. You will hear a lot of wisdom about Setting the SRL (Start Reading Location), but it's probably all nonsense, because the SRL is set in the publishing workflow, after we have done our best or worst with the book.

I want the Look Inside to open at the cover, but Amazon says that most shoppers don't care about the cover, don't care about the title of the book or who wrote it, don't care about the TOC, and most certainly don't care about Dedication, Acknowledgements, Introduction, Preface, or Copyright Page. I agree with the last bit, but not with the early stuff. I actually do page back if the Look Inside happens to open at the first text page.

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog:
http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
Steve Smith

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Re: Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 5:34 AM   in response to: MRS L C DEWHURST in response to: MRS L C DEWHURST
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Generally I'm finding that the KDP gnomes will set the start-reading point at the second section of my book (not counting title page and TOC), whatever it may be. So if my structure is,

Cover
Title/copyright page
TOC
Introduction
Chapter 1
Chapter 2, etc.

then the start-reading point will be set at Chapter 1. However, if my structure is,

Cover
Title/copyright page
TOC
Preface
Introduction
Chapter 1
Chapter 2, etc.

then the start-reading point will be set at the Introduction.

Recently I published a book with a long, thoughtful introduction that I considered added greatly to the meat of the book, but the gnomes set the start-reading point after it, at the first chapter. So I added a one-paragraph preface before the introduction, and sure enough, they re-set the start-reading point to the introduction. I don't know if this would always work. And presumably, if I had no front matter at all, they wouldn't set the start-reading at Chapter 2 (would they?)!

As for inclusion of a TOC, I hope that's not a requirement that will ever be enforced. I've published more than 300 reference books that do not contain a TOC and do not lend themselves to having one. In effect, they consist of a single long chapter, so a TOC would look pretty silly.
Ward Rogers

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Re: Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 12:04 PM   in response to: MRS L C DEWHURST in response to: MRS L C DEWHURST
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MRS L C DEWHURST wrote:
Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?

How do you get the Look Inside to start at the first chapter rather than having to trawl through all the TOC etc. at the start? I notice some books do this others don’t.

Thank you in advance.


KDP strongly suggests a TOC at the front of the book.

You can't set the start point. As NotJohn says, many writers have schemes and tips, but they're all stuff and nonsense.
booknookbiz

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Re: Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 4:59 PM   in response to: Ward Rogers in response to: Ward Rogers
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Ward Rogers wrote:
MRS L C DEWHURST wrote:
Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?

How do you get the Look Inside to start at the first chapter rather than having to trawl through all the TOC etc. at the start? I notice some books do this others don’t.

Thank you in advance.

KDP strongly suggests a TOC at the front of the book.

You can't set the start point. As NotJohn says, many writers have schemes and tips, but they're all stuff and nonsense.


Right. And think about this: what happens if you don't put a TOC in your book--which, as Ward points out, Amazon strongly suggests--and a reader complains about you not having one? I'll tell you what will happen--you'll get a KQN, a Kindle Quality Notice--and Amazon will tell you to fix it. More importantly, Amazon will put a notice, on your sales page, telling the prospective buying public that your book has "formatting issues" and they are working with you to fix it. How many buyers do you think will buy then?

It's a bit like the old saw, "for want of a nail..." right? That ends up with the battle and the Kingdom being lost? Well...all that, for one lousy TOC that you can easily create, with a few minutes' time.

Hope that helps.

Hitch
We produce eBooks
An Amazon Professional Conversion Service : http://amzn.to/29pWZSg
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Joseph M Erhardt

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Re: Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 5:29 PM   in response to: booknookbiz in response to: booknookbiz
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@ Hitch:

I'm trying to help one lady who has 80+ chapters in her novel. I'm thinking that this is way too much for a ToC, and will suggest that she only "style" chapters 1, 5, 10, 15, ... 75, 80, and the last chapter (so that only those show up in the ToC. Her chapters tend to be short, and I think this will be clearer than a ToC that runs on for three pages of only numbers. What do you think? Would this pass the Zon's quality control fussies?
Patrick A. Smith

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Re: Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 5:52 PM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
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Notjohn wrote:
Yes, there's a rule to this effect, but I don't believe it's enforced. Almost all books from Big Five publishers do have a TOC, so that's what I suggest you do.

And yes, the Look Inside sometimes starts at the cover, sometimes at page one, chapter one. You will hear a lot of wisdom about Setting the SRL (Start Reading Location), but it's probably all nonsense, because the SRL is set in the publishing workflow, after we have done our best or worst with the book.

I want the Look Inside to open at the cover, but Amazon says that most shoppers don't care about the cover, don't care about the title of the book or who wrote it, don't care about the TOC, and most certainly don't care about Dedication, Acknowledgements, Introduction, Preface, or Copyright Page. I agree with the last bit, but not with the early stuff. I actually do page back if the Look Inside happens to open at the first text page.

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog: http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com


I thought I was the only one who would go backwards to see the cover and toc on a look inside! I wish they all started with the cover.

Edited by: Patrick A. Smith on Aug 12, 2017 6:43 PM
Donna St Felix

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Registered: 09/18/13
Re: Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 7:01 PM   in response to: Joseph M Erhardt in response to: Joseph M Erhardt
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Joseph M Erhardt wrote:
@ Hitch:

I'm trying to help one lady who has 80+ chapters in her novel. I'm thinking that this is way too much for a ToC, and will suggest that she only "style" chapters 1, 5, 10, 15, ... 75, 80, and the last chapter (so that only those show up in the ToC. Her chapters tend to be short, and I think this will be clearer than a ToC that runs on for three pages of only numbers. What do you think? Would this pass the Zon's quality control fussies?


I'm not Hitch but I think I would tell the lady to merge some chapters (eliminate a large hunk of them).
booknookbiz

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Re: Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 7:21 PM   in response to: Joseph M Erhardt in response to: Joseph M Erhardt
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Joseph M Erhardt wrote:
@ Hitch:

I'm trying to help one lady who has 80+ chapters in her novel. I'm thinking that this is way too much for a ToC, and will suggest that she only "style" chapters 1, 5, 10, 15, ... 75, 80, and the last chapter (so that only those show up in the ToC. Her chapters tend to be short, and I think this will be clearer than a ToC that runs on for three pages of only numbers. What do you think? Would this pass the Zon's quality control fussies?


Hey, Joseph (Joe?):

Yeah, that's what I'd do. Or even do them in 10's. Otherwise, you'll end up with 4 "pages" of TOC (~20-25 lines of text per average screen/page), so...do the math.

We've done similar, and I think that yes, that would do it. The other thing you might consider is putting a 'full TOC" at the back. So, put a shortened TOC in the front, at the bottom put a link ("Full TOC, click here" or something like that) and you should be solid.

HTH.

Hitch
We produce eBooks
An Amazon Professional Conversion Service : http://amzn.to/29pWZSg
www.Booknook.biz
Joseph M Erhardt

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Re: Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 7:42 PM   in response to: MRS L C DEWHURST in response to: MRS L C DEWHURST
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@Donna & @Hitch:

Thanks for the suggestions! :)
thrasherll

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Re: Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?
Posted: Aug 12, 2017 9:41 PM   in response to: Joseph M Erhardt in response to: Joseph M Erhardt
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Perhaps she could combine some chapters and use a blank space between sections within each chapter, placing the spaces at a place where there's a change of scene or subject. I think a TOC that skips numbers would look quite odd to most readers.

L. L. Thrasher t

MRS L C DEWHURST

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Registered: 04/27/17
Re: Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?
Posted: Aug 13, 2017 9:22 AM   in response to: Joseph M Erhardt in response to: Joseph M Erhardt
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If you check out some of the top selling novels on Kindle lots of them have far more chapters than this. Dan Brown has one at 133 chapters plus lots of other sections. If the Start To Read begins past the TOC then readers wouldn't see it unless they scroll backwards. What seems to be the problem is being able to set the Start to Read position yourself.
Ward Rogers

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Registered: 12/02/16
Re: Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?
Posted: Aug 13, 2017 12:30 PM   in response to: MRS L C DEWHURST in response to: MRS L C DEWHURST
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MRS L C DEWHURST wrote:
If you check out some of the top selling novels on Kindle lots of them have far more chapters than this. Dan Brown has one at 133 chapters plus lots of other sections. If the Start To Read begins past the TOC then readers wouldn't see it unless they scroll backwards. What seems to be the problem is being able to set the Start to Read position yourself.

If Dan Brown published his own books through KDP, he wouldn't be able to set his Start to Read position, no more than you can. However, he has a real publisher who formats and publishes his books independent of the KDP platform. If you want that same ability, you should follow Dan Brown's example rather than use him as one. Traditionally published writers can do all sorts of things people here can't, but, on the other hand, they have to settle with 12% royalty, no accounting reports, and a cheque no more often than twice a year ... rather a high price to pay for the ability to set a Start to Read position.
Karl Jacobs

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Registered: 10/03/13
Re: Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?
Posted: Aug 13, 2017 12:36 PM   in response to: MRS L C DEWHURST in response to: MRS L C DEWHURST
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Hitch, if you don't mind my asking, why are you called Hitch? Is it a nickname? Wasn't that the name of a Chevy Chase movie?
Can I use it for the name of a character in a novel?

PS -Are you finally willing to admit ARCs are worthless if what you're promoting is a self-published book? (Sorry, you're a lot of fun, and I couldn't resist.(
Charles O'Donnell

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Registered: 12/22/12
Re: Do you have to put a TOC into a Kindle novel?
Posted: Aug 13, 2017 12:37 PM   in response to: MRS L C DEWHURST in response to: MRS L C DEWHURST
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I use the TOC as an opportunity to give the reader a taste of what the book is about, and what they can expect from the writing. For my last book, I dedicated a full day to the chapter titles. Here's a sample:

Earth Mover
Privacy Is Overrated
In Vita Occulta
Sea of Data
Circles of Hell
Crooks and Creeps
All Tangled Up
A Short List of Substances
Smile Like a Predator
Ledgers of Sin
The Man with the Jesus Tattoo
The Mind of God
Viral Porn Girl
A Forfeit Is Not a Victory
A Prospect in the Pipeline
The Rules Are a Little Fuzzy
Continue Evasive Maneuvers
Not Completely Legitimate
Compromise of Our Principles
Shelter for the Indigent
Petty Acts of Dissent
Mitigating Circumstances
Empathy Setting
Fell Clutch of Circumstance
Hang On, Obie
Anthology of Victorian Poetry
The Possibilities Are Limitless

Hope that helps.

Charles O'Donnell
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