E book formatting

19 March 2016: Table of Nonsense

When I first started publishing my e-books, I was new to the wonderful world of e-books my brand spanking new Kindle was about to open up to me.  Three years later, having read countless e-books, I’m now a seasoned e-book reader. With this in mind, I was thinking back to when I was first going through KDP’s (Kindle Direct Publishing) instructions on how to properly format and construct an e-book for publication.  They were very insistent that my novel have a table of contents with imbedded links to each chapter head.


Three years later I can tell you this table of contents is completely unnecessary. I have never used a table of contents in any fiction e-book.  No, not even once.  When I think about all the trouble I went through setting my first one up, I could scream!

Why do they insist on them?

I have no idea. Maybe to keep an e-book looking as close to a paper novel as possible. If that’s the case, they need to wake up and smell the coffee.  A paper book is not an e-book.

I see other authors putting Table of Contents in their books as well.  As a writer who knows what it takes to pull a professional looking e-book together, whenever I open a new book, I back scroll from page one – chapter one, to the front cover. If you read on a Kindle as well, you know when you open a book for the first time, it skips the sacred Table of Contents and places you on page one.  Being as I like the experience, I like to start from the front cover and work my way to page one, so I see all those useless TOC (okay, I’m abbreviating it now)

So I ask … if the TOC is so sacred, why does my Kindle not open a book on it instead of page one?

I’ve come to the conclusion that going forward I’m no longer going to include a TOC in my e-book editions.  What’s the point?

So, I’m curious … does anyone else have an opinion on the inclusion of a TOC in a fiction e-book?


Jennifer Geoghan, author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.


27 Mar 2015: Formatting text and emails into your novels

Been a while since I’ve posted.  Sorry about that.  It’s been hard to get back into the swing of things in the midst of my recovery.  Surgery sucks!!

So my new novel has brought up some new formatting issues for me.  Yes, I had some text messages in my last novel, but they weren’t as prevalent as this new book.  In the ebooks I’ve been reading as of late, I’ve seen dozens of ways to format texts, some good, some not so good.  But the first third of my current book is ALL EMAILS and TEXTS with just a bit of narrative thrown in to push the story along in an interesting way.  That’s a lot of indenting and date/time notations for texts and emails.  How do you format that and have it still be enjoyable to read???  Yes, this is my problem.

For texts, I’m indenting one character’s texts and not indenting the other’s so it kind of looks the way it would on a phone.  I thought this was more visual for a reader.  But I still have to put a date and time on it for it to fall into sequence, which I don’t like visually … but also don’t think I can lose.

For emails, I’ve been italicizing them with no indentation at all to make them stand apart from the regular narrative text of the novel.

But I still have to try and pare down the amount of emails.  My Scam artist was quite prolific in his emails, repetitive too.  I tell you it’s been quite the writing challenge taking the raw material of all our correspondence and attempting to mold and shape it into something a reader would enjoy.  But I guess I love it as well.  After writing my last series of five novels (The Purity of Blood Novels) this is something totally different.  I’m also trying to keep this book short.  Talk about a Challenge!!!  I love the details of a great story so keeping it moving fast is hard for me.

As a writer I think giving yourself challenges is how you grow.   Training yourself to keep the story brief, but interesting at the same time.  Taking on the challenges of formatting so many communication styles into something easily understood and readable is a huge challenge.   It will take time, but I’ll figure it all out and hopefully come out a better writer on the other side of this new novel.