Monday, March 31, 2014

A Table of Contents that Will Survive Anything

That's right. You betcha. I don't mess around.

It'll withstand KDP, the dreaded Smashwords Meatgrinder, and even MobiPocket Creator. Amazing, isn't it? Well, have a seat and I will show you how to do it!

A Grindable, Clickable eBook Table of Contents

There’s been a lot of confusion and debate over how to create a table of contents in an eBook that will survive KDP and Smashwords conversions. Some say you have to do it all manually, and some say you can use MS Word automation. Lynne Cantwell wrote a post about the manual method, and Dick Waters just recently wrote about a more sophisticated style.
Personally, I go with a completely manual method, because I run all my eBooks through MobiPocket Creator and convert them to a prc before I upload to KDP – and that will for certain strip out any coding MS Word has graciously conjured up. The lovely Laura Clark (author LB Clark) showed me how to do this way back in 2011 when I self-published my first collection of short works with fellow author Newton Love. (The prc method was one of the ways KDP recommended for conversion back in 2011 – but you don’t have to do it this way. It’s just my method of choice because it’s what I’m used to.)
You can use this table of contents method on an existing document or a new document, that’s not a gating factor. I usually do it in an “assembly line” fashion, as that’s faster, but I’m going to do it one “chapter” at a time so the sequence is clear.

Keep reading at


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Author Humor: Hermit Writer’s Life Magazine

Is this you: You really, really want to write that novel, but you can’t manage to do it while working for the man. Your writing is calling you, and you feel tormented. You want to sell everything and move to the middle of nowhere to answer your authorial calling. You’d make the move to writing full-time in a heartbeat if you just knew how.

Well, look no further! Hermit Writer’s Life Magazine has just launched, providing authors just like you with the information needed to make that move. Each monthly issue is packed with tips for the novice hermit-in-training to the old pros who are looking for new and interesting ways to keep things comfy.

Our staff of successful and experienced hermit authors will provide you with the tools you need to:

Want to read more? Of course you do! It's funny! Just go to

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Case for Legible Titles

As you are aware, the most common issue we see with books during the vetting process is an unclear or confusing book description. The second most common issue: unreadable titles on book covers in thumbnail size.

Who cares? Right? It’s just a tiny book cover. No one expects to read it in that size.

Um, wrong.

Just last week, our Lynne Cantwell wrote about the Marketing Rule of 7 – that it takes at least seven instances of someone seeing your book before they actually purchase it. Well – what if those seven instances are in thumbnail size? Do you think they will remember to purchase a book when they can’t read the title? Moreover, will they even notice it to begin with? Probably not. Don’t waste a chance to get in front of someone and make an impression.

Here at Indies Unlimited, thumbnails are generally 120×177 pixels, which on my laptop ends up being around 1.75 inches high by just under 1.25 wide. There is no specific industry standard for thumbnails, (on WordPress it’s 150×150) and the size varies from site to site. Then, add to it people viewing sites on their tablets and cell phones – and you can end up with some mighty small thumbnails. Can you read your title under those circumstances? You may want to check.

Want to read more? Of course you do! It's riveting! You can find the rest of the article here:

Saturday, March 1, 2014

I’ve Written a Book, What Do I Do Now?

Since my first novel was published in 2001, many people have asked me that question. Once, many years ago, an author read a news story about one of my books, talked the newspaper into giving him my street address, then came to my home and banged on my door until I answered...begging me to tell him how to get a publishing contract. That was creepy.

Today, of course, times have changed and you no longer need to rely on a publisher to get your book out there. But it is a big ocean full of decisions and it can be daunting and confusing. There are scammers out there filling first-time authors' heads full of fake dollar signs, and then stealing real dollars right out from under them.

And, there is the stigma that indie authors and/or self-published books are awful. This is not true, and the only way to overcome this blemish is to educate new authors in the RIGHT way to produce a quality book: one that's free of grammatical errors, typos, formatting errors, and poor presentation. Anyone who truly wants to be a writer wants that anyway.

At Indies Unlimited, my blog partner, Stephen Hise, and I work hard to get the information out there in a way that will be helpful to authors at all stages of their careers. We've just published a resource page for "newbie" authors in hopes of guiding them through the process to putting out a quality first book.

Please feel free share this resource with anyone asking you for advice on where to go or what to do. It'll be a lot easier on you, and they'll have one convenient place to find everything they need.

I’ve Written a Book, How Do I Publish It?