What is an epubber?
2. Your Book
Editing, elements, experience and friends
Choosing a pathway,
epubs, Linux and LibreOffice
Front, body, end matter for ebooks
Creating a cover,
ISBNs, payments, tax issues compared
Epubbing Pathways table,
5. Ebook Structure
Much of the formatting of the actual manuscript itself depends
on which channel you've chosen to publish through, so once you've narrowed down
your choice, make sure you read the relevant formatting style guides
first – see
the Resources page
But you also need to understand the structure of the book
outside the actual manuscript, the
traditionally defined components of
front matter and end matter.
Ebooks are much the same, but some sections are no longer relevant,
while others are increasingly useful as promotion tools for authors.
Again, this is dependent on which channel you've chosen to publish through, so
again, make sure you read their support
information on front and end matter first – it may save you a lot of
extra work. Some channels expect you to lay out all of these extra sections
yourself, while others can automatically create at least some of them from
information you input when submitting the book, or from the manuscript itself.
Front Matter for Ebooks
- Title page
- Copyright page
- Dedication (optional)
- Epigraph (optional)
- About (optional)
- Table of Contents
The title and copyright pages may be created by conversion software or you
may have to lay them out yourself. Similarly the Table of Contents, which is
essential for ebook navigation. Because page numbers have no meaning in
reflowable ebooks, the ToC will become a series of clickable links to the chapter
Since ebooks naturally don't have a back cover – the usual place
for a blurb or appreciative comments – a section 'About the Book' or
'Synopsis' can be useful near the start. Dedications and epigraphs (quotes
relevant to the book) are up to the author.
Body Matter for Ebooks
This of course is the actual content, usually laid out in Chapters, sometimes
also Parts. It will save you a lot of trouble to define your heading style
for these sections, e.g. 'Heading 1', at the start of writing a
manuscript, as that will usually become the default link for creating the Table
of Contents, either by hand or during the ebook conversion.
End Matter for Ebooks
- Index (optional)
- Author biography
- Other information by author
Acknowledgements sometimes appear in Front matter, but with ebooks it's a good
idea to have as little up front as possible so readers can get to the actual
content as fast as possible. Indexes, end-notes, glossaries etc., are more
usual in non-fiction, and the means of creating them is a matter of the channel
Other information by author is essential in ebooks, as
it offers a great way to engage with your readers, point them towards more of your
work, and expand your audience.
In that final section you'll have the luxury of
adding extracts from other books, requests for readers to leave their
reviews on Amazon, Goodreads etc., or even to send you comments or questions
So be prepared to spend a reasonable amount of time of setting up the front and
end matter sections of your book. It's a good idea during the writing phase to
keep a file of relevant quotations, or notes on who you want to acknowledge and
why, etc. – don't leave it all to the end.
Importantly, find out right from the start how your channel wants the Table of
Contents set up, and in the cases where special formatting is needed (e.g.
manual breaks for new chapters), do it as you go. The importance of following
a channel's ToC instructions is shown by this recent issue raised by David Gaughran.
If you're using your own ISBN numbers, then you may also need to insert the
ISBN on the copyright page, or again, the conversion process may automatically
do so. See the Details
page for more about ISBNs.
Where to Now?
The next step is all the snippets of information you will have to provide to
use any of the channels, especially understanding the financials for non-US
Go to 6. Covers.