Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Ebooks: Table of Contents & Endnotes

Table of Contents

Most books need a Table of Contents. In a print book it’s just a list at the front with page numbers, but in an ebook the reader wants to be able to jump to the chapter they want, and to find the Table of Contents easily when they want to.

Most ebook converters will create a Table of Contents on the fly, by looking for the word ‘Chapter’, and this may be fine for fiction, where the chapters are just numbered and the reader isn’t going to want to jump about. A Table of Contents is essential for non-fiction however, and you may want more control, so you can do it yourself in the Word document before you load it for conversion.

Table of ContentsThe answer is bookmarks and hyperlinks. They are set up so that a click on a chapter in the Table will take you direct to that chapter, and a click on any chapter heading will take you to the Table. If you create your own Table be careful to correctly label the bookmark so that the converter recognises it. Details below.


When I produced my first book Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth, the print book had endnotes but the ebook didn’t, because I didn’t know how to do it. By the time of the second one Broken Reed: The Lords of Gower and King John, I had worked it out, and went back and put the links into Alina too.

Endnote numbers in the text

Endnotes are important in some non-fiction books because you want to show you have done your research, and where you got your information from. In a print book you simply put a small number in brackets and then list all the numbers at the end with the notes. Most word processors will create endnotes for you when you select it from the Insert menu.

But in an ebook, the reader can’t be asked to page all the way to the end to read a note and then page all the way back to where they were reading.

Endnotes 2
Endnotes at the end of the book

The answer is to use bookmarks and hyperlinks. When the reader clicks on the note number, the ereader immediately jumps to the note. The reader then clicks on the note and the ereader immediately jumps back to where they came from in the text.

Definition of Terms

A bookmark is a place-holder – it marks a place in the text.

A hyperlink is a pointer – they are used to point to a place on the internet, and can point to a place in a document, like a bookmark. You can recognise a hyperlink because it is usually blue and underlined (it can be coloured differently in blog posts).

Once I had figured out how to do it, I created a Slideshare to explain how to create a bookmark and a hyperlink and set up a Table of Contents and Endnotes. It’s not difficult, but can be a bit fiddly. If you need to know the details you can find it here

Ann Marie Thomas is the author of three medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Follow her at

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Isaac Azimov 1920-1992

Isaac Asimov is my personal favourite science fiction author. I grew up reading his novels, especially what was originally the Foundation trilogy, later added to. I also particularly loved the robot novels.

He was born Isaak Osimov in Petrovichi, Russia, in 1920. Petrovichi is very proud of their native son, and have honored the place of his birth with a memorial stone. His family emigrated to the United States when he was three years old. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1928 at the age of eight.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

AutoCrit Online Manuscript Editing Tool

Last week I mentioned I was going to run my manuscript of Secrets through AutoCrit and promised a review this week. AutoCrit is an online tool to help you to improve the quality of your manuscript. Here’s what they say about themselves:

‘AutoCrit’s founder was a struggling author, weary from the difficulty of getting unbiased and knowledgeable feedback on her manuscripts without the costly expenses of an editor. This journey from “first draft” to “published” had no quick & easy shortcuts…

‘So she created one.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

John W Campbell 1910-1971


John Wood Campbell Jnr loved science fiction magazines from the start, and sold his first stories to them when he was still a teenager.

In the early 1930s he rose to rival E E ‘Doc’ Smith as the greatest writer of galactic epics of superscience. The most popular of these was the Arcot, Morey and Wade series, described in the SF Encyclopedia as stories ‘in which the heroes faced a succession of battles of ever-increasing size fought with a succession of wonderful weapons of ever-decreasing likelihood.’

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

First Edit Finished

Great news about Secrets, the second book in the Flight of the Kestrel series: I finished the first edit last weekend. Yay!

Because I wrote about two thirds of the novel for NaNoWriMo, the novel was a jigsaw of pieces that had to be put together, which is not the way I normally write. Once it was put together, it needed a thorough edit (or maybe rewrite) to make sure the pieces joined up and to add in some enhancements that became apparent.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Science Fiction Magazines (History of Science Fiction)

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries pulp fiction magazines appeared and quickly gained popularity, particularly because of their low price. Their label came from the low quality paper on which they were printed, which cut down on costs. They covered adventure stories, westerns, and many more subjects, but there was a hungry readership for the science fiction magazines.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Necessity is the Mother of Invention – Boost Your Creativity with Restrictions

Nearly seven years ago I had a stroke and lost the use of my right arm. Think of how many things you need two hands for! I can’t do up zips or tie shoe laces for example.

But the restriction has made me find other ways of doing things. It’s surprising what you can do if you think creatively. Clothes that need hand washing aren’t too hard, but how do you wring them out? Roll them in a towel, lay the roll on the kitchen floor and walk up and down on it!