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Sentence spacing following section breaks

Crumbly Writer

Rather than waste time on threads which have past their 'useful' date, I thought I'd bring up a minor topic.

For those into excess formatting, I learned/noted recently that 'first line' spacing (where the first line of a paragraph isn't indented) applies to section breaks as well.

This won't affect anyone's story, and won't affect anyone posting on SOL or FS (since they don't allow paragraph styles), but it's an interesting curiosity to those of us style obsessed.

Not reply necessary, just an observation.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

(o) (o)

Replies:   Zom
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

For those into excess formatting, I learned/noted recently that 'first line' spacing (where the first line of a paragraph isn't indented) applies to section breaks as well.


CW, from what I've read the rules vary with the format you're publishing in. Also, most formats have the same rules for all new paragraphs in the story. The important thing is the rules for each format allows the reader to easily identify a new paragraph.

There are two main options I've seen:

Print format has an indented first line for each paragraph to show where the new one starts. Most don't have a gap between paragraphs on the same page, except where there's a horizontal rule or a line gap for a change of scene.

Electronic format has no indentations in the first line, but there is a line gap between each paragraph so the change of paragraph stands out.

Apart from those two basic types some proprietary e-book formats and some publishers have their own rules that are different.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

When I was formatting my ebook, I first sampled several traditionally published books on Amazon. I found a mix of some that didn't indent the 1st paragraph of the chapter and those that did.

So I thought I'd play it safe and indent all paragraphs, including the first one in the chapter. It would have been disastrous to not indent the chapters and miss one. Consistency is important.

As to your observation, though, I never gave it thought. Since the scene change is represented by a blank line, it might look funny not to indent the first paragraph of a new scene. After all, it might be in the middle of the page.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Zom

@Dominions Son

(o) (o)

Tits? Really?

Ernest Bywater

@Zom

Tits? Really?


damn, I thought it was a pair of eyes opened real wide.

Dominions Son

@Zom

Tits? Really?


No, try looking a little higher.

Replies:   Zom
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

So I thought I'd play it safe and indent all paragraphs, including the first one in the chapter. It would have been disastrous to not indent the chapters and miss one. Consistency is important.

As to your observation, though, I never gave it thought. Since the scene change is represented by a blank line, it might look funny not to indent the first paragraph of a new scene. After all, it might be in the middle of the page.

Yeah, doing nothing is definitely the safest route, as no one really expects different first paragraph formatting, but many traditional publishers do it for most of their books. Since I'm now including graphics (instead of a blank line) for my section breaks, it's more obvious that it's a new section.

I noticed it when my Pro editor, who was unconcerned with formatting of any kind, reformatted each of my first lines. Curious, I started checking out different published books and made this latest observation.

@Ernest

Print format has an indented first line for each paragraph to show where the new one starts. Most don't have a gap between paragraphs on the same page, except where there's a horizontal rule or a line gap for a change of scene.

Ernest, this is a separate formatting for the first line in chapter (or section). Where the rest of the chapter paragraphs are indented (no spacing between paragraphs), the first line isn't indented. It's traditionally found in print books, but as the two formats are gradually merging, it makes sense paying attention to.

Plus, I'm really into formatting! 'D

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Zom

@Dominions Son

a little higher

Nostrils? Are you saying it smells?

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Zom

Nostrils? Are you saying it smells?


Closer, but just wee bit higher.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Ernest, this is a separate formatting for the first line in chapter (or section). Where the rest of the chapter paragraphs are indented (no spacing between paragraphs), the first line isn't indented. It's traditionally found in print books, but as the two formats are gradually merging, it makes sense paying attention to.


CW, a few years back I looked into all this, and it's only a few publishers who do it that way today (or so I was told at the time), and it's a carry over from when the first character of a chapter was done extra large or as a Drop Cap and thus really stood out. It wasn't indented because it used that extra space from the indentation for the larger letter.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Initial#Types_of_initial

edit to add; I'm into formatting too, and prefer consistency over an outdated inertia action.

Replies:   tppm
tppm

@Ernest Bywater

CW, a few years back I looked into all this, and it's only a few publishers who do it that way today (or so I was told at the time), and it's a carry over from when the first character of a chapter was done extra large or as a Drop Cap and thus really stood out. It wasn't indented because it used that extra space from the indentation for the larger letter.


Which, in turn, is holdover from illumination, where, occasionally, the initial letter of a work, or chapter might take an entire page, by itself.

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


For those into excess formatting, I learned/noted recently that 'first line' spacing (where the first line of a paragraph isn't indented) applies to section breaks as well.


Doing it professionally and neatly and consistently is not "excess."

Now that we have it straight [EDIT: This is a joke], I'd say Switch has it half-right: check traditionally published print books and see what you find. By "traditionally" I mean print books published by real publishing houses.

Yes, there is variation, and not all have left-justified first lines, but that is the right way to do it. Ditto for section breaks. It doesn't look odd; it looks right. And to top it off, either use a drop-cap for the first letter in the chapter, which is almost impossible to carry off in ebook formatting, or put the first 3-5 words in small caps.

Also, ignore the advice of those who say skip the front matter in your ebook. Don't. Follow the pattern set by traditional print books, or at least a variation of it.

Found the best "All rights reserved" language-short and sweet and skips all the "all reproduction prohibited" verbiage: "All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever." Simon and Schuster, I think.

There is no significant required difference, except perhaps for drop caps, in print or electronic publishing. There may be common patterns, but the key word here is "reguired."

SOL uses left-justified paras and double-spaced gaps between paras because that's it's style. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not a requirement for any kind of publishing.

bb

Dominions Son

@Bondi Beach

but that is the right way to do it. Ditto for section breaks.


Says who? Why?

It doesn't look odd


That's your opinion. I don't think any of the formats discussed look odd. The important thing is to be consistent within a given work.

Replies:   tppm
tppm
Updated:

@Dominions Son


@Bondi Beach

but that is the right way to do it. Ditto for section breaks.

Says who?


Whatever style guide Mr. Beach is using.

tppm

Did you have something to say? If so, you forgot to say it.


Look again, I hit the enter key by mistake, then fixed it.

Dominions Son

@tppm


Whatever style guide Mr. Beach is using.


There's more than one style guide out there and they don't agree on much of anything. What makes which ever style guide he is using the one true right way to do it?

Replies:   tppm
Switch Blayde

@Bondi Beach

check traditionally published print books and see what you find.


I just checked some of the books Amazon placed on my page when I went to it (Treasure Island, Dr. No, Huck Finn, The Kite Runner, To Kill a Mockingbird).

All but "To Kill a Mockingbird" left justified the first paragraph of the first chapter (I ignored another book because it had the drop-down large first letter). That's interesting. I didn't find that high of a percentage when I did my search way back.

tppm

@Dominions Son

What makes which ever style guide he is using the one true right way to do it?


Nothing, it's just the one he's using, so style advice from him will reflect it.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@tppm

True, but he claimed that it was the right way to do it, which necessarily implies that any style guide that recommends a different way is wrong.

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@tppm


Now that we have it straight [EDIT: This is a joke], I'd say Switch has it half-right: check traditionally published print books and see what you find. By "traditionally" I mean print books published by real publishing houses.


The original post failed to indicate the joke, which is why I added the edit. My bad.

I agree entirely about consistency.

It's a pain being right all the time, but someone has to do it. [PSST: That's another joke.]

bb

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Bondi Beach

The original post failed to indicate the joke


What was the joke? Crumbly asked a valid question about indenting the first paragraph at a new scene.

I learned from it.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


What was the joke? Crumbly asked a valid question about indenting the first paragraph at a new scene.

I learned from it.


My spouse says my jokes are crappy. She's right.

The joke I was making was *of course* Crumbly's topic was *not* excess. In other words, I don't think any excuse or apology is necessary for talking about correct formatting. In a rather silly fashion I was agreeing that Crumbly's question was a good one.

Yes, I understand that Crumbly was poking gentle fun at his own preoccupation.

As for the right way to do it, yes, I was expressing my own opinion. Anyone can do it anyway he likes. The result may not be pretty. I'd like prospective readers to take my work seriously. Understandable, clear, consistent and-traditional-formatting is a good way to do it, in my view. Different genres have different styles, too.

There's a reason why Lazeez, in discussing what you can do with formatting, points out that more is not necessarily better.

In my view, traditional-i.e., generally following what traditional published print books do-still looks better, looks more professional, displays better, and is easier to read than the alternatives.

Mr. Beach has his ideas. Others have their own. No worries. None at all.

And for all who live anywhere on the DC-NYC axis, I hope you've stocked up on TP, milk, frozen pizza, and good books.

Cheers,

bb

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Bondi Beach

Yes, I understand that Crumbly was poking gentle fun at his own preoccupation.


I never got that.

As to making your books professional, I agree 100%. Right or wrong, the traditionally published books are the standard of "professional" so I try to mimic them, too. Both their formatting as well as the "rules" they follow for writing fiction, which includes the style guide they use.

I guess my next novel, if I ever publish another one, will not indent the first paragraph of a chapter and scene.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Switch Blayde

Agree.

bb

Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

Also, ignore the advice of those who say skip the front matter in your ebook. Don't. Follow the pattern set by traditional print books, or at least a variation of it.

The only caveat to this advice, is that the front matter chews up the 'free read material', and you really don't want potential readers wasting time reading filler. My solution, list the front matter chapters in the correct order in the index, but move the front matter to the end of the book. It still shows in the free-read index, but doesn't appear when someone reviews the book.

Concerning "the right way to do it", please, let's play nice and not start this nonsense again. There is no right or wrong, these are simply suggestions, either use or ignore them. They're publishing tools, that's it!

@Bondi

As to making your books professional, I agree 100%. Right or wrong, the traditionally published books are the standard of "professional" so I try to mimic them, too. Both their formatting as well as the "rules" they follow for writing fiction, which includes the style guide they use.

Another trick I adopted (based on an article on formatting that Switch (I believe) recommended) is to use decorative fonts for each chapter header. Since you generally need to pay more to embed fonts, and it doesn't always work, I create transparent images of the fonts using a graphics program (Photoshop anyone?).

I must say, it certainly has an impact. Whenever someone picks up one of my books, the first thing they say is to comment on the graphics. What's more, I'm hoping it helps justify the higher price I charge for my ebooks (I still don't sell many print books except for person-to-person sales).

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

My solution, list the front matter chapters in the correct order in the index, but move the front matter to the end of the book.


You may want to check that with a lawyer. The copyright warning is a legal notice and most legal notices need to be up front to have any legal validity in court. Think of the difference it makes to the police case if the cops give the Miranda warning at the end of the interview instead of the start. In some legal jurisdictions people can not be held legally responsible for anything prior to being given the warning or where the warning notice is.

However, that's a personal choice and you can do it your way, if you choose to. Just don't get upset if a judge says it means nothing back there.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

You may want to check that with a lawyer. The copyright warning is a legal notice and most legal notices need to be up front to have any legal validity in court.

I mix and match it. Since the items I move are transparent to the end user, I move the bigger items to the back where they aren't seen during the preview, while leaving the legally necessary ones--the copyright and acknowledgments--in the front. I started doing this when my list of "Other Books by the Author" started spanning multiple pages! It's a great sales tool, but only after someone's already decided to purchase the first book.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

The copyright warning is a legal notice and most legal notices need to be up front to have any legal validity in court.


I have mine up front, because of how the traditionally published novels have it, but it's not really necessary. The novel is copyrighted with or without the copyright notice.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

I have mine up front, because of how the traditionally published novels have it, but it's not really necessary. The novel is copyrighted with or without the copyright notice.


In a perfect world, you're right, and having the notice or not shouldn't make a difference if it ends up in court. However, the copyright laws aren't the same around the world, and a lot depends on where and how the story is published, because that will affect how the courts will view what you may be entitled to as compensation if it goes that far. I copyright my stories under Australian law, and thus get a longer protection without further action than if I depended solely on the US law relevant to being published on Lulu in the USA.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

I leave the title page, copyright page, acknowledgments (crediting artists, editors and others who may take offense if they don't see these), and the Table of Contents (so readers can see how many chapters there are) at the front of the document, while moving "Other Books by the Author", "About the Author", "Character List" and "Contacting the Author" get shoved to the back.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

However, the copyright laws aren't the same around the world, and a lot depends on where and how the story is published, because that will affect how the courts will view what you may be entitled to as compensation if it goes that far.


My understanding is that in any country that is a signatory to the Bern convention the notice or lack there of should be meaningless from a legal perspective, because the Bern convention requires that everything that can be copyrighted be considered copyrighted from the point of creation.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Dominions Son


My understanding is that in any country that is a signatory to the Bern convention the notice or lack there of should be meaningless from a legal perspective, because the Bern convention requires that everything that can be copyrighted be considered copyrighted from the point of creation.


The Berne Convention requires the signatories to recognise the copyright rights of the other signatories. However, some countries have legislation that's different to the Berne Convention, the USA is one such signatory. If I create and first publish a story in the US I'm covered under the US law, but by doing it in Australia I'm covered under the Australian law. Australia is a single period of life plus 70 years after death of creator. My understanding is the US law has some variations, so consult a US copyright lawyer about them. I do know there was a situation with regards to some of the Sherlock Holmes stories due to the differences in the US copyright laws. Around the world all of Doyle's works are now public domain, with the exception of a few stories published in a book by a US publisher, until very recently those stories were still copyrighted due to the variations in the US laws. That's why some Sherlock Holmes films slated for making in the USA ended up being made in Canada several years ago. That was finally sorted out in 2014. There's a few other such oddities around, as well.

Also, there have been some controversies over the Berne Convention due to how various courts have ruled the meaning of creation because some see it when the author starts the work and others see it as when they finish the work while others see it as when the work has a significant level of production. At one point some courts set the copyright as starting at publication, but a few court cases have killed that idea in most countries.

typo edit

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

However, some countries have legislation that's different to the Berne Convention, the USA is one such signatory.


That's not exactly true. Under US law you have all the protection required under the Bern convention. However, there are some issues unique to US law.

First the US recognizes corporations as the legal author under certain circumstances. For such copyrights the term is currently 95 years. Beyond that variations in duration are mostly due to changes in US copyright law over time. The first copyright act had a fairly short duration and it has been extended repeatedly over time.

See http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ15a.pdf.

Beyond that, the only significant variation in current US copyright law from the Bern Convention that I am aware of is statutory damages for registered copyrights.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Berne Convention due to how various courts have ruled the meaning of creation because some see it when the author starts the work and others see it as when they finish the work while others see it as when the work has a significant level of production. At one point some courts set the copyright as starting at publication, but a few court cases have killed that idea in most countries.


Under US law, copyright attaches as soon as a work exists in any form outside of the author's head. A hand written draft manuscript is protected. Emails are protected. This post is protected by copyright.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Under US law, copyright attaches as soon as a work exists in any form outside of the author's head.


And that's the issue they still have issues with - when does the work as a work actually exist outside the creator's head? Is it when he starts the first line of the first chapter with It was a dark ... or when they get to The End or some point in between. Which is the point I was making, at different times different courts in different jurisdictions have given different rulings.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

However, there are some issues unique to US law.


Which is the point I was raising. In the Doyle case the copyright has expired all around the world, yet some people were able to register the copyright for that book under the US system simply because that book was printed in the US and was within the time period the US allowed them to extend the copyright regardless of those same stories having been published earlier and elsewhere are were public domain.

The US definition of work for hire also leaves a lot to be desired. If you hire someone to create a work, then there's no trouble about who should own it, but there've been cases where the companies have claimed the works of others simply because the person worked for them at the same time as they created the work, despite the creation not being during their paid work time. One computer programmer I know has a specific clause in his contract that sets out his work hours and that anything coded outside those hours or off the company premises is his alone. Many companies refuse to hire him because of that clause.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

The US definition of work for hire also leaves a lot to be desired.


Mostly what you are complaining about are contract issues, not issues with the base work for hire doctrine.

I am familiar with this because I work in IT. Under the base work for hire doctrine, with no specific contract provisions, If you create it during time you are paid for or use any employer resources(this would include a computer provided by your employer for you to use at home) to create it, it belongs to your employer. If you create it on personal time without using any employer resources, it's yours.

I work corporate IT not a software house, and corporate IT is mostly at will employment (no contract). So this isn't any issue, but yeah, I have heard about companies trying to throw in contract clauses that everything you might create while employed by them is theirs.

However, the enforce-ability of such contract provisions is not entirely settled. I would suggest your friend be very careful if he is doing anything at home that he intends to market is in any way shape or form related to the work he does for his employer.

If you work for a game developer and try to put out your own game, courts are going to be rightly skeptical that you created it wholly on your own time / resources.

Your friend had best be able to document everything.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Dominions Son


I am familiar with this because I work in IT. Under the base work for hire doctrine, with no specific contract provisions, If you create it during time you are paid for or use any employer resources(this would include a computer provided by your employer for you to use at home) to create it, it belongs to your employer. If you create it on personal time without using any employer resources, it's yours.


And that treatment has taken decades of court cases to be accepted at that level in most of the US because some people have set out to change the way it was applied despite the wording not changing.

...............

In the case with my friend, he was hired to create a set of graphical user interfaces for a proprietary program that was being upgraded. During his unpaid lunchtime and at night he used his own notebook to code a game. When he went to market the game his employers found out about the game and tried to claim it as theirs under the work for hire rules - that was back in the 1990s. The courts ended up deciding that because part of the work was done during his lunch break the company had an interest in the game, despite him not being paid for the lunch break. The court declared he had the copyright but was ordered to share all profits for the game with the company. He didn't want to do all the BS paperwork to track sales or share with the company, so he made the game freeware and neither made a profit off it. But he left them and had the new clause in his contract for the next employer. He's since made about half his annual income from small games he writes and the other half from writing business software upgrades under contract.

edit to add: I forgot to mention his contract was for hourly pay for the time logged onto their system working on the code. Thus he could prove when he was off the clock.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Under US law, copyright attaches as soon as a work exists in any form outside of the author's head. A hand written draft manuscript is protected. Emails are protected. This post is protected by copyright.

Does that mean a novel is protected once the entire first draft is completed, or merely once the work has been started (i.e. when one to five chapters have been written)?

I'm assuming this is open to court interpretations, but I'm looking for a general rule-of-thumb I can follow, rather than a legal guarantee. For now, I'll list my copyright date as my 'story start date'.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

And that treatment has taken decades of court cases to be accepted at that level in most of the US because some people have set out to change the way it was applied despite the wording not changing.


That's not just work for hire issues that face that. The big content companies are constantly trying to get the courts to limit fair use.

During his unpaid lunchtime and at night he used his own notebook to code a game.


Even now that would be risky unless he was going off site to do the work. The break room itself is an employer resource and that may have affected the outcome of his case.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Even now that would be risky unless he was going off site to do the work. The break room itself is an employer resource and that may have affected the outcome of his case.


The fact they don't pay you for that time kind of negate the concept of work for hire, doesn't it! If they aren't paying you, how can it be for hire? However, I don't know if he worked in the break room or in his car or in a nearby park he often spoke about sitting in during lunch.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


The fact they don't pay you for that time kind of negate the concept of work for hire, doesn't it!

Edited:

Okay, the work for hire doctrine may be a bit of a misnomer but then the courts like to use a lot of goofy "terms of art". I told you earlier that the doctrine covers anything created either during time you are paid for or using employer owned/provided resources. And yes, space to work in can be an employer owned/provided resource.

The reason for the or above is because many employees who create IP on the job are overtime exempt salaried employees and do work from home or outside of "normal office hours", they don't have fixed working hours.

There is at least one more point where your friend screwed up. Did he charge/run the note book using outlets that his employer was paying the bills for.

Your friend was asking for trouble by not being more diligent about keeping his personal for profit development separate from his day job employment.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

I told you earlier that the doctrine covers anything created either during time you are paid for or using employer owned/provided resources.


Yeah, but you got to start to wonder about the courts when they say things like a break room justifies a company claim on personal work done there. Heck, I've worked at places where you're not allowed to leave the grounds during meal breaks and are required to spend the entire break either at your desk or at the approved break room or walking between. I wonder how the US courts go with that one.

However, the real point of all this is: you have to be very damn careful about what you do, where you do it, when you do it, and what you use for doing it.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

However, the real point of all this is: you have to be very damn careful about what you do, where you do it, when you do it, and what you use for doing it.


Very true, at least if you work in a regular job where you create IP and are also trying to create IP for personal profit on your own time.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

Very true, at least if you work in a regular job where you create IP and are also trying to create IP for personal profit on your own time.


Heck, you don't have to be employed to create IP to have the company claim any you create. Decades ago I read where the original wire coat hanger was invented by a clerk at a wire making company to hang is coat up with. The company owner saw it and started making them while claiming he owned the right because it was done by an employee. There are numerous accounts like that. Most are from decades ago, and longer, but they show how the work for hire law was being applied irrespective of what you were being paid to do.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

There are numerous accounts like that. Most are from decades ago, and longer, but they show how the work for hire law was being applied irrespective of what you were being paid to do.


Most from more than 50 years ago. wire coat hanger, that's what, late 18th , early 20th century?

Many of those attempts ended in failure. I'm not even sure if the work for hire doctrine applies to patents.

The wire coat hanger is also very different from a copyrighted work. If the employee doesn't apply for a patent, the employer is free to legally copy it.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

If the employee doesn't apply for a patent, the employer is free to legally copy it.


The US is the only place where people not involved in the creative process can get the patent. Because involved in the identification of the Penicillin in France, UK and Australia didn't apply for a patent one was issued in the US years after it was in general use by the military. Also, some US companies have filed for patents and copyrights on naturally occurring genetic material, and been given them. Figure that one out. Anyway, this is starting to wander too far.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Also, some US companies have filed for patents and copyrights on naturally occurring genetic material, and been given them. Figure that one out.


This happens in good part because the US Congress created as separate circuit court (federal circuit) with sole jurisdiction over patent issues. All patent appeals must go through this court no mater which geographic circuit the trial court was in.

The judges appointed to that circuit decided that it was their job to read patent law as broadly as possible. Software patents, Business method patents, Gene patents, the USPTO rejected the original patents in all of these areas, but the federal circuit turned around and told the patent office that the patents must be issued. The federal circuit also goes out of it's way to read prior art and obviousness as narrowly as possible.

It keeps doing this despite having been repeatedly overruled by the US supreme court. The federal circuit has openly thumbed it's nose at SCOTUS (Supreme court of the United States)

Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

I leave the title page, copyright page, acknowledgments (crediting artists, editors and others who may take offense if they don't see these), and the Table of Contents (so readers can see how many chapters there are) at the front of the document, while moving "Other Books by the Author", "About the Author", "Character List" and "Contacting the Author" get shoved to the back.


Why do authors let the Table of Contents take up screen (page) space? I find it really annoying.

In the Lulu-published books the reader accesses the Table of Contents on the menu bar (in iBooks) or in a narrow sidebar (Kindle), but it doesn't take up screen space or pages.

The "Also by" page after page is distracting, no question.

bb

Switch Blayde

@Bondi Beach

Why do authors let the Table of Contents take up screen (page) space? I find it really annoying.


I just did the "Look Inside" for my ebook on KDP. Although my novel has a ToC, it doesn't show up (and therefore waste sample pages).

What shows is:
1. the cover
2. a quote from Shakespeare
3. name of novel
4. author name
5. copyright notice
6. one line to follow me on Twitter
7. acknowledgements
8. Chapter 1

Items 2-7 are about a screen long.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

Why do authors let the Table of Contents take up screen (page) space? I find it really annoying.


That's often a software setting of the device being viewed on. But it can also be part of how the original software created the file.

In my master file I have a Table of Contents which I delete before I create the e-pub because the e-pub automatically creates it's on ToC with links. In some devices this shows as a side-bar I can open or close and others have it as a page at the front of the story.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Also, some US companies have filed for patents and copyrights on naturally occurring genetic material, and been given them.

There's a well-documented book about Roberta Lacks, who had a genetic anomaly which gave her numerous cancers. The clerk running her blood samples sent it to a drug manufacturer (without her permission), and those companies are now making billions while nothing has ever been paid to the woman's family, nor have they ever acknowledged (to the family) what they did.

Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

Why do authors let the Table of Contents take up screen (page) space? I find it really annoying.

In my case, I create the TOC on my own (i.e. I don't rely on a website searching for tags). That gives me greater flexibility. If I'm creating an ePub, I can eliminate the TOC page, otherwise, the TOC page is used to create the index the other sites use.

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


I just did the "Look Inside" for my ebook on KDP. Although my novel has a ToC, it doesn't show up (and therefore waste sample pages).


OK, here are some examples:

In Kindle:

Ride Me Hard (professional reading-don't ask) in the book itself has a ToC in the sidebar *and* a ToC that takes up 1 and 1/2 pages. The "Look Inside" version has no sidebar, but the ToC again takes up 1 and 1/2 pages.

Julie's Spring in the book itself has a sidebar ToC but no ToC in the pages; the "Look Inside" version thus has no ToC at all.

So is that the reason for including it in the text itself-so it appears in the "Look Inside" or other preview feature? Seems like a bad tradeoff, unless you really want the prospective reader to see the chapter headings. But then it doesn't leave as much room for the reader to be entranced by your hot text.

iBooks

NYPD 4 In looking at the sample provided, the new James Patterson novel has what I guess Crumbly is saying he does: the ToC is available from the menu, *and* there's a link in the front matter to the ToC in the rear which takes up at least a couple of pages.

So I guess if you absolutely want the reader to see the ToC in the "Look Inside" or "Sample" view and yet not waste preview pages showing it, you need to provide a link to the complete ToC at the rear of the book, even if in the sample only some of the linked chapters are actually available to read. EXCEPT: why link at all if the chapters, as in Patterson's book, don't have titles, only numbers?

bb

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

A couple points, Bondi. First of all, much of this rests on who's producing the book. If we, the authors, create ePubs, the books rarely have a separate TOC. However, when third parties get involved (like smashword), they'll often dump a separate TOC into the document, which is beyond your control.

In terms of the usefulness of an extra TOC page, many potential readers want to see how many chapters there are, and will even look at how many pages there are (if it's available). That's why chapter titles should contain spoilers, but should invoke curiosity about where the story is going (i.e. clever works better than story specific titles). So, yes, the TOC offers a service for potential buyers.

Being able to control what appears in the preview is a handy tool, and should be considered before committing to print.

Speaking of print, a TOC is necessary for print books.

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