Does your book need a TOC?
- What kind of book are you working on?
If it's a fictional book with chapter titles, you may want to include a table of contents. If there are no chapter titles, you may not need to. If your book is nonfiction and your readers potentially need to reference a particular chapter or chapter section, you may want to include a somewhat detailed table of contents with chapter headings and one or even two levels of subheadings (depending on how detailed you decide to get).
- Will your reader want to read the book in order or out of order?
Most books are designed to be read front to back, but if your book contains any kind of reference materials or tries to teach your reader something, there's a good chance that they may want to go back over certain parts of the book in order to brush up on a skill or double check information.
- How much space does the TOC take up vs. how long is your book overall?
The reason this comes into play is more applicable to shorter books than longer books. For example, if you have a somewhat short book, keep in mind that the Look Inside feature on Amazon only showcases roughly 10% of your book. If your book is a short one (let's say 60 pages as an example), only about 6 pages will be previewable. Rather than beginning this preview with a TOC, you may choose to put your introduction or other information there to catch the reader's attention and encourage them to buy the book.
- Are you able to create your own clickable/interactive TOC?
Remember that Kindle books don't have page numbers due to varying sizes of reading devices and different apps to read them. This means that, if you do create a TOC in Word that's linked (with the automatic TOC feature utilizing headings and subheadings as anchors), you will still need to go through and remove all of the page numbers because those don't mean anything in a Kindle. The only thing that matters is the titles and links, so be sure to research properly as well as asking for help if you need it (this may involve hiring someone to create the TOC for you, but for that task alone it shouldn't be overly expensive). If you'd like to try your hand at this and haven't before, my recommendation is to watch a few tutorials on YouTube and follow along.
- Are you creating your Kindle eBook visually or with the reader's needs in mind?
You can technically create a fixed-screen eBook using images (i.e. each page is its own image), which solves some of the most common formatting issues. Unfortunately, one of the benefits of using an eReading device rather than getting printed books is that the device allows each individual to adjust the font size for optimum readability and comfort. This is no longer possible if your eBook is done in a fixed design (like a PDF), and you may end up with negative reviews and/or fewer sales because of it.
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