The Black Bag

Formatting Pt. 3: The Secrets Of Internal Bookmarks & Hyperlinks

This is the 3rd part of a how-to series covering e-book formatting. The previous posts are:

The Great Formatting Conundrum & What To Do About It

Styling Your E-Book With Proper Formatting

Going In CirclesIf you’ve ever started going somewhere unfamiliar you may have realized you were confused about where you were going or just in the incorrect location altogether. It can be a frustrating feeling to not quite understand how to get where you want to be. The same can be true of an e-book that is incorrectly formatted with internal hyperlinks or lacks them entirely.

But what are internal hyperlinks and bookmarks? These are links just like in this post that lead to other posts. However in the case of an e-book they help the reader navigate through the content.

But if an e-reader saves the last place where you were reading, why are internal hyperlinks and bookmarks needed? In the case of fiction they may not be needed at all but they are convenience to the reader which allows them to get back to the contents page easily should they need to do so. It can be more important if you are writing a work of non-fiction where readers may want to jump to other content within a book or chapter.

Here’s a quick how-to about making internal links should you deem the necessary in your e-book? I’ll again reference from the Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker which has more in-depth instructions. But for now, here are the basics. If you are doing your own formatting strongly suggest using this guide or something similar.

  1. You need a Table of Contents for your book. You should include one that shows your chapters as well as the various pages of front material as well as what you may add as additional information at the end of your book. Also, make sure your chapters have titles even if it’s as simple as “Chapter 1”.

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  1. Next, you’ll open Word and add your bookmarks. To do so, highlight the text you are hyperlinking and then click “Insert” on Word’s ribbon menu and then choose “Bookmark”.

Format Insert Menu

  1. Type the name of your bookmark without spaces and click add. For example for “Chapter 1” add “Chapter1” (no spaces). Also, you may find it best to add all your chapter bookmarks first.

Format Create Bookmarks

  1. Now create hyperlinks in your Table of Contents by highlighting the text and right-clicking on it to see the context menu.

Format Context Menu

Then click on “Hyperlink” and the “Insert Hyperlink” window will then appear like below:

Format Insert Hyperlink

  1. From the left side of the window click “Place in this document” and you will see a list of your bookmarks. In this example choose “Chapter1” (not pictured since I used my short story for the screen-shots). Repeat steps 4 & 5 for all the chapters and sections you are linking to your table of contents.
  2. Conversely, you can also link all your chapters to the table of contents by highlighting the title, “Table of Contents” and create a bookmark for it as in steps 2 & 3. After that, you go to each of your chapter or section titles and follow steps 4 & 5 but always choose the bookmark you created for “Table of Contents”.
  3. Test that each link jumps you to chapters and back to the table of contents. Correct as necessary. The best way to view formatting and test your hyperlinks is by using Adobe Digital Editions which is a free download.

Using bookmarks and hyperlinks is a great way to let your readers jump through your e-book with little effort. It’s also important to use these for other pages in the book such as acknowledgments, copyright, your biography page, etc.

The Black Bag by P H SolomonHave you formatted bookmarks and hyperlinks for your e-books? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Photo courtesy Morguefile.com free section

Recent Reviews: Rogues and Summer Solstice

Introduction

Today, instead of an interview, I’m sharing reviews of some of my recent reads. Reviews are part of my goals for the year so I’m sharing some after I post ratings and reaction online. These will explain more of my thoughts about books than in shorter versions posted on Amazon, Goodreads, etc.

Rogues CoverRogues

One of the books I’ve recently read was an anthology entitled, Rogues, which is edited by George R. R. Martin and features short stories by a number of top authors. An anthology is different from a novel to review since there are so many different stories and authors. As such some stories may be appealing and others less so based on personal preference so I’ll stay away from too much commentary on individual stories.

The book was well edited and the writing was well done. Again, some stories had less appeal to me than others and I would have liked to see the whole book dedicated to fantasy so be aware that some stories have real world settings sans fantasy. The theme of rogues was quite interesting and covered a wide variety of questionable characters, some likable and some down-right despicable but I found the scope of rogues intriguing.

However, I must comment that I was disappointed with Martin’s fiction contribution. His story was more of a narrative companion to his own series. But the piece was just a narrative rather than a story with characterization so it lacked appeal to me though it explained some of the history of Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms. Martin’s name is prominent on the book so the reader expects a little something more than a distantly portrayed short fiction that lent little to the anthology’s theme. I gave it four stars based on the work of other writers but it could have been five if Martin had contributed better content.

Summer Solstice CoverSummer Solstice

Next we turn from an anthology of experienced writers to a YA novel by a first-time author. I read Summer Solstice by K. K. Allen who is a fellow member of Rave Reviews Book Club where I’m a VIP member. With that in mind it’s easy to write a favorable review for a fellow member but as a club we are intent on reviewing with promoting quality.

Here’s the review I posted on Amazon and Goodreads with a four star rating:

This is a YA paranormal/urban fantasy novel by a first-time author about which begins with a teenager Katrina Summer, grieving over the death of her mother. She moves in with her grandmother whom she doesn’t know all the while having strange dreams and occurrences which she thinks are caused by grief. But there are secrets and answers waiting to be discovered by Katrina. It’s a mixture of magic and mystery for a solid first effort by author K. K. Allen. I would love to read her next novel to find out what happens and how the author is growing with her writing craft.

Now for a little clarification on the review. In rating the novel I rounded up from 3.5 stars which is how the book struck me upon finishing (however, I was unable to rate as precisely as I would like). The beginning was a little slow but still intriguing and the story picked up with a series of increasingly mysterious events for Katrina Summer.

One of the points that struck me (and this may just be my own personal preference) was the style with which the novel was written. The first person, present tense was a bit awkward and made me feel like the story was backpedaling while going downhill. Again, this is from a first-time author so I took this in stride but did find that I was willing to continue turning pages. I also feel that Ms. Allen exhibits ability that will only improve with each book and as such I’m interested to see both what happens with Katrina Summer and how the author’s writing craft develops.

cover1seppedAnnwyn CoverCurrent Reads

I’m currently reading the following books for which the authors were interviewed during the last few months on this site:

Annwyn’s Blood by Michael Eging & Steve Arnold

The Blade Heir by Daniel Adorno

I’ll share my thoughts on these books once completed in the near future. Look for more author interviews in coming weeks as well.

 

What books have you read recently and did you like them? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - Copy

Start Your Author Platform Pt. 1

Vision Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.I’ve recently had a friend begin building a writing platform so I’ve handed out some advice and suggestions. I’ve written about some of my work over the last year in building my own platform so I thought I’d start a how-to/advice series. Though I’m far from being expert, I do have some tidbits that may prove useful to aspiring authors. Back in December, I wrote a series reviewing my year as an author so I’ll build on those posts with some specifics about what I’ve done and why as well as what I’ve learned.

So, for starters, here’s what an author is facing when building a writing platform. You’ll need the following:

  • HammerA registered domain – it’s best to have a domain named for you as an author. This is important for branding your content. This branding associates your name with what you write. This is how people find you to learn more about what you write. Don’t name your domain something outlandish as this will not add anything to your brand and could take away from it – think professional. You can register a domain any number of ways but usually you can pay for it when you setup your hosting.
  • A website and/or blog – Next you’ll need a website. Depending on how your hosted there will be different tools available. If you’re on a budget try using free hosting with something like WordPress. You can create a simple design for your site. It may be important to blog as well so think in those terms as you design your site. Running a blog can be important to attracting readers who begin to trust your writing.
  • An email address using your registered domain – your email address should be easily associated with you as a writer so use a name that makes since. Also, if you are on a tight budget you can have your email hosted over Google at minimal cost. I chose to pay monthly in case I move to a full-fledged hosting service. This way I’m out of Google easily without having paid ahead and wasting money.
  • Various social media accounts using your author email – that email address now becomes important since you will likely setup all your social media channels with it. But with what social media should you start? Don’t overdo it with too many. Twitter is very important. For authors it is also important to have a Goodreads presence. Beyond that, you will emphasize your channels based on your genre.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll dig deeper into the nuts and bolts of how I approached these various platform needs. But suffice it so say at this point that I’ve built what I have to this point on a low-cost budget. I intend to grow what I have this year but that depends on my available funds but I’ve made the whole writing prospect self-based rather than one that I pour lots of money into on the front-end.

As you can see there are many aspects to a writing platform project. There’s a lot to do but if you take it one step at a time you’ll progress much faster than you think. Next week, I’ll start with the foundation you’ll need for your writing platform. The main takeaway for today is this: be willing to start, stay on a budget and grow into a bigger platform as you go. This will remain an ongoing project for me and it probably will for you as well.

Here are some related links from previous posts that relate to some of this topic and may help you think in terms of getting started:

Under ConstructionA New Author’s Year in Review Pt. 1

A New Author’s Year in Review Pt. 2

A New Author’s Year in Review Pt. 3

A New Author’s Year in Review Pt. 4

A New Author’s Year in Review Pt. 5

4 Free Photo Sites – More Tips for the Fund Challenged Writer

4 Platform Tips for the Fund Challenged Writer

12 Things I Learned About Blogging In 2014

I Heart Writing: Why You Need To Commit

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyWhat questions do you have about starting your writing platform? What tips can you offer from building your writing platform? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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