Book Formatting

How to Add a Simple Table of Contents in Kindle Books

I’m going to be honest and admit that I don’t have a table of contents in my books, or at least I haven’t manually put one in. But, a fellow author got a notice from Amazon that some of you may have gotten:

Your book doesn’t have a Table of Contents. A table of contents provides readers with both easy navigation and improved visibility into the contents of the book.  Please see for help with creating and formatting a Table of Contents.

So, I thought this might be a good time to discuss HOW to make a table of contents using Word. (I assume other word processing programs are similar but I haven’t used them, so I don’t know.)

There are probably multiple ways to go about this, (for how to use headers, check out THIS POST)  but here is what I did:

1. Since my chapters don’t have names, I just typed them up after all of the copyright info


 2. Then I went through the book and made bookmarks at each chapter. To make a bookmark, place your cursor next to your chapter title/heading:


Then go to Insert> Bookmark

(this is what it looks like in Word 2010)


You’ll get a pop up box. Type in some identifying name that you can remember. Chapter1 or chapterone would be the easiest. Then click the Add button.


The box disappears. Repeat for all the chapters, including any prologues, afterwords, introductions, about the author sections, acknowledgements, etc.

When I was done, I went back to that Table of Contents I had added at the beginning and hyper-linked it.

To do that, highlight “Chapter One” then go to Insert>Hyperlink 


OR Right Click and choose Hyperlink from the menu:


This will give you a pop up box. Choose the Bookmark button:


A second box will pop up. Choose the matching bookmark (aka Chapter One – chapter1) and click OK.


The second box will disappear and you’ll notice that in the address bar it now says #- whatever your bookmark is named. Technically, I suppose you could manually type your bookmark titles in there, but I always worry about a typo, so I go ahead and choose it from the list. Hit OK


Your text will now be hyperlinked:


Repeat for the remaining chapters.

But what if you’ve done all of this, uploaded it and got this response form Amazon?

The Table of Contents isn’t accessible from the “Go To” menu in your book.

Huh? What does this mean? It means that on the kindle, when a reader clicks the menu while in your book the Table of Contents is not showing up under the menu that says “Go to…” There is an easy way to fix this in word. Remember those bookmarks we just made? Go to your table of contents and put the cursor next to the heading, or next to the top entry if you don’t have a heading, and then make a bookmark named TOC:


click add and reupload to KDP .

Before you upload, be sure to click through your table of contents to make sure that each link goes where you want it to. It might take a couple of extra minutes, but it could save you a lot of frustration and embarrassment later on.

If this doesn’t work for you, try the other method, using headers.

If you have books on Kindle, do you have a table of contents in them or are you “living on the edge” and waiting for Amazon to make you add one in?

Categories: Amazon store, Book Formatting, Self-Publishing

For Cover designers and Formatters

Image representing Smashwords as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

I know this blog is primarily aimed at authors, but many of us moonlight as cover designers or formatters (such as myself and Stephannie Beman) so I wanted to share this from Smashwords:  (I copied it directly from their site updates page. If you have any questions please contact smashwords as I don’t have the answers. Sorry. )


**Mark’s List open for new applicants**  It’s been over a year since we added a new batch of cover designers and formatters to Mark’s List, our list of low-cost service providers.  For a limited period of time, I’m accepting a small number of applications for new freelancers.  If you’re considering applying, please carefully study the information below.  Incomplete or inappropriate applications will be disregarded.

Background on the list:  I created the list in January, 2011 as a public service for our authors and publishers.  It’s currently available via autoresponder when someone emails  A newer version of the list will be made available on the Smashwords web site.  We don’t charge for listings, and we don’t take a commission.   Every individual is a freelancer.  Each freelancer provides excellent customer service, which is why they continue to be on the list.  We appreciate the great, low-cost services these freelancers provide to our authors and publishers.  We’re also pleased to know that for many of the Mark’s List freelancers, their inclusion on the list has provided them much-appreciated supplemental income.  Some have even made it their full time job.
How to apply:   First, email and study the email you receive so you can get an idea how other service providers are providing and pricing their services.   Apply to only one category, cover designers or formatters.  You must be the person who will provide the services.  We will not accept service provider firms, or individuals who farm out their work to others.  Note that I expect to receive many more applications that I can accept in this round, so please accept my apologies in advance if you don’t make the cut this time.  Maybe next time.
Okay, you’re ready to apply.  Compose an email to me at  Use the subject line, “Mark’s List.”  Answer each of the questions for the category for which you want to be considered (cut and paste these questions into your email and then provide your answers inline):
Cover designers:
  1. Provide me a complete hyperlink to your author/publisher profile page, which you’ll find by clicking “My Smashwords.”  Preference will be shown to Smashwords authors and publishers.  If you’re opted in to all our distribution channels (not counting Amazon), that’s a plus.
  2. Provide a link to your online portfolio.  I’m looking for designers with a track record of producing high-quality, professional covers.  It’s also very important that Smashwords authors and publishers can evaluate your portfolio before they hire you.
  3. Provide me hyperlinks to up to five covers you designed for Smashwords books.
  4. If selected, will you provide all your Smashwords clients a listing in your online portfolio, as well as a live hyperlink to their book’s listing at Smashwords?  Such portfolio listings are appreciated by our authors, and a plus for your application.
  5. What is your design fee, and how many revisions does that include?  Most Smashwords designers are in the range of $35-$100.  If you charge more, that’s fine as long as the price is justified by the quality.  We’re looking for great designers!
  6. Do you agree that you will not try to market or upsell other author services?
  7. Why do you think you’d be a great addition to Mark’s List?
  1. Provide me a complete hyperlink to your author/publisher profile page, which you’ll find by clicking “My Smashwords.”  Preference will be shown to Smashwords authors and publishers.  If you’re opted in to all our distribution channels (not counting Amazon), that’s a plus.
  2. Do you consider yourself an expert at the Smashwords Style Guide?
  3. How many books have you personally formatted that have been accepted into the Smashwords Premium Catalog?  The more the better.  Provide direct hyperlinks to up to 10 of them.  Preference will be shown to formatters who employ smart use of linked Table of Contents, intra-book links (endnotes and indexes), and who provide clean, professional formatting for novels.
  4. How many years have you been using Microsoft Word?
  5. Do you Nuke every project before you begin it?
  6. Do you know how to preserve italics and bolds post-Nuke using CTRL-H wildcards?
  7. Will you guarantee Premium Catalog inclusion for your clients?
  8. Will you perform all the work yourself?
  9. Do you agree that you will not upload client works to Smashwords?
  10. Do you agree that you will not attempt to upsell Smashwords authors to other formatting or ebook design or distribution services?
  11. What would be your approximate rates for a novela, a full-length novel, and a more complex non-fiction book with an extensive linked Table of Contents, or index and endnote links?
  12. Why do you think you’d be a great addition to Mark’s List?
Thanks, and good luck!
Categories: Book Covers, Book Formatting, Smashwords store | Tags: ,

How to Make PDFs for Print on demand – WITHOUT Adobe

When you publish a paperback book through any number of POD providers, you need PDF files for your cover and your interior. Like many authors I’ve had to shell out cash to buy Adobe products to make those PDFs – but that was in 2009. It’s 2012 and there are free programs out there now that actually work! (NOTE: I’ve experimented with both programs and uploaded a test book on Create Space. The files were accepted but because it was a test I have NOT submitted it for review nor had a proof printed. I can’t imagine why either one would be a problem, though)


Like Adobe Professional, Cute PDF has a “print” option that will install itself in all your programs. You can get it here -= there’s a paid version and a free version, the free version is what we want:

When it installs it will pop up and tell you that it needs to also install something else (I don’t remember the name of it,but it has a P and some numbers.) Go ahead and tell it okay. However, it will also want to make your homepage and add a toolbar, so make sure to uncheck those boxes. During install a black DOS box will pop up and say something about “ghost” again, it’s fine.

To use it, open your formatted document in word, then go to print and choose CUTEPDF from your list of printers: (your list will look different than mine because you will have different printers than I do)

Now you need to set your printer properties so that the page size is correct: Depending on your version of word, you may get to the printer properties in a different way. If you don’t know where to find them, go to google and search “Word (your version) how to set printer properties” and you should find a page or two that tells you. I have Word 2010, so I click printer properties and get a pop up box:

clicking advanced gives you another new box. Click on whatever it says next to “page Size” (mine said Letter by default) and a drop down box appears. Pick the custom size:

Another new box pops up. Type in your trim size. in my case it is 6×9

Hit OK on all the boxes and then hit print. unlike Adobe it will NOT pop up the PDF when it’s done, so you’ll need to go open it manually.

So how does it look? Well, not quite the same:

click to see full sized

click to see full sized

You can see them both here: (no, it’s only the first chapter, not the whole book ;) But it gives you an idea)

For the price, the difference is likely to be negligible. Free vs several hundred dollars. Of course, I’m not sure if this will work with Lightning Source, who has much stricter PDF requirements.

But can we PDF the cover with this? Probably, however I have not figured the settings out (if you know how to do this, please leave it in the comments and I will update this)

Meanwhile, for the cover, let’s use…


Inkscape is a free vector program that you can use to PDF the wraparound covers. You can get it at - the download link is in the bar at the top of the page. It took me a little bit to find it:

install it, open it and you’ll get a tiny little window:

You can make it big if you want, or leave it little. It doesn’t matter. Now go to File>Open and open your already prepared cover. Then go to File>Save As. A dialog box pops up. Choose PDF from the drop down list

Hit Save – a new box will pop up. Change the DPI to 300:

hit OK and that’s it. So how do they look? The pdf created with inkscape is actually larger than the one I created with adobe photoshop: (both at 100%) but the quality of the images is exactly the same.

but if you’d like to compare you can get them here to see for yourself -

The bonus to Inkscape is it is also a vector art program – if you’re interested in those things – aka like adobe Illustrator – and can save as SVG files, which can be resized without changing the picture quality (if you’re curious about what I mean, check this out – – use Ctrl and the + to zoom in a bunch of times. Now go to any image on the web and try it. You can see how the other image pixelates as it gets big, while the svg doesn’t. Snazzy, huh?)

What programs do you use for making your PDFs? Have you used these before?

Categories: Book Covers, Book Formatting, Createspace, Print-On-Demand

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