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Old 04-06-2013, 09:15 AM   #151
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What! Amazon sets the SRL without asking to after the TOC? My clients, and I have many and have produced 100s of books in the last several years, want their TOC in the back of the book... almost exclusively. They don't want that TOC to get in the way of the 'Sample'. So most of my books are Cover, Title page, copyright, TOC, dedication... and finally Reader Letter (it's backlist you know) where I put the SRL... then Chapter 1. Of course they all open right where I want them in all the previews and when I email them to my devices (iPad and Kindle Fire). But you're saying that's not where the book will start when my author actually uploads it and sets it to fly free into the Universe?

I don't believe any of them, have ever gotten a complaint from a reader that the book doesn't start at the right place. And there isn't anything after the TOC in these books... is this the key? The only version where I put the TOC in the front is the Smashwords Word version... all others, Epub and Kindle content (mobi7 and KF8) are in the back. And of course now, most want all the front matter to join the TOC back there too.

I only have a couple of clients who ever get those dreaded typo notices, and believe me I'm sure there are dropped punctuation and wrong word usage in others, because normally I'm asked to just convert and not proof... I think the criteria is how much money an author makes for Amazon. The modest sellers are left alone, the big sellers... well Amazon wants to keep them big sellers, so any little thing brought to their attention from readers they jump on. And you're right, even words properly used in 18th century England are questioned.

I guess it's my turn to rant now. But really... putting the TOC in the back will mess up the SRL?
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Old 04-06-2013, 05:20 PM   #152
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What! Amazon sets the SRL without asking to after the TOC? My clients, and I have many and have produced 100s of books in the last several years, want their TOC in the back of the book... almost exclusively. They don't want that TOC to get in the way of the 'Sample'. So most of my books are Cover, Title page, copyright, TOC, dedication... and finally Reader Letter (it's backlist you know) where I put the SRL... then Chapter 1. Of course they all open right where I want them in all the previews and when I email them to my devices (iPad and Kindle Fire). But you're saying that's not where the book will start when my author actually uploads it and sets it to fly free into the Universe?

I don't believe any of them, have ever gotten a complaint from a reader that the book doesn't start at the right place. And there isn't anything after the TOC in these books... is this the key? The only version where I put the TOC in the front is the Smashwords Word version... all others, Epub and Kindle content (mobi7 and KF8) are in the back. And of course now, most want all the front matter to join the TOC back there too.

I only have a couple of clients who ever get those dreaded typo notices, and believe me I'm sure there are dropped punctuation and wrong word usage in others, because normally I'm asked to just convert and not proof... I think the criteria is how much money an author makes for Amazon. The modest sellers are left alone, the big sellers... well Amazon wants to keep them big sellers, so any little thing brought to their attention from readers they jump on. And you're right, even words properly used in 18th century England are questioned.

I guess it's my turn to rant now. But really... putting the TOC in the back will mess up the SRL?
Thirsty:

Here's the real gist of the problem: I Do Not Know.

And I'm not sure that Amazon knows.

However, I can say this: not every book from the advent of history has had this change. This is new. This started about December, so the only books you have to "worry" about are from about 11/30 or so forward. And, I don't know what on earth will happen if you put the html.toc at the back of the book. Amazon says, not less than 3 times in their latest guidelines that it is to be at the front of the book. (Sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.6, which goes on to lecture you about placement). Rather importantly, and this could affect the receipt of the "If You liked this book" feature (which is implemented by Amazon during the PW), Amazon goes on to say in 3.3.6:

"Place the HTML TOC towards the beginning of the book and not at the end of the book. This ensures that a customer paging through the book from the beginning encounters the TOC naturally. Inaccurate placement of the TOC affects the accuracy of the “Last Page Read” feature. Correct usage ensures that the TOC appears in the book’s sample."

If your customers, like mine, are seeking to have the "If You Liked This Book" Amazon-implemented feature, and this is driven by the last page (which it is), then...I'd say it's possible that "mis-locating" the TOC could affect the placement or even existence of this. It's certainly something to consider.

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Old 04-07-2013, 07:44 AM   #153
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TOC at the back

Thanks Hitch,

This will take some finessing on my part to get my clients to accept this... they love their TOC in the back, and now quite a few of them are insisting that all front matter be shifted to the back matter. They want that Amazon sample to be only their text. But I guess I'll just tell them that it's a new Amazon rule... and throw in that "If You Liked This Book" and "Last Page Read" warning. Maybe that will persuade them. Thanks again.
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Old 04-07-2013, 05:24 PM   #154
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Thanks Hitch,

This will take some finessing on my part to get my clients to accept this... they love their TOC in the back, and now quite a few of them are insisting that all front matter be shifted to the back matter. They want that Amazon sample to be only their text. But I guess I'll just tell them that it's a new Amazon rule... and throw in that "If You Liked This Book" and "Last Page Read" warning. Maybe that will persuade them. Thanks again.
Thirsty:

Please note:
  • I did not say that putting the TOC at the back absolutely would bollix up the SRL or the "If You Liked This Book" function.
  • I do know that the Guide has become more...strident...about location thereof.
  • And I absolutely do know that sometimes--not always--the location of the TOC can bollix up a SRL set elsewhere than the first page of the first chapter. Particularly if the SRL is located before the TOC.
  • I do know that Amazon has claimed that the SRL must be set after the TOC, but then has reversed course on that, both with another firm and then with mine, in a series of incredibly contradictory emails (from a regular guy, in Seattle, at the higher levels of the organization, not some poor CSR working in Mumbai or Manila, stuck with canned texts.)
That's the stuff I know factually. All else is conjecture. So, I'd recommend a moderate course of action--have them buy the damn things, load them and check after they go on sale. When all else fails, it seems that generally, Amazon "defaults" to the first page of Chapter 1. This might be why your clients haven't noticed, and nobody's complained; most readers "flip" the book open to Ch.1. anyway, so....

Thanks, gang, for letting me vent. Although I'm not happier about it today, I do feel less insane, even if only slightly. I can probably put off that vacation at Bellevue (although any type of vacation, after four years, sounds really good to me) for a few months yet. ;-)

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Old 04-08-2013, 09:38 AM   #155
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SRL - Amazon style

Thanks Hitch... don't mind your rants at all. And I'm going slow on this. You're probably right about defaulting to Chapter 1, although in most cases my clients put a Reader Letter before Chapter 1... but still it's guided with the Start_Reading and/or Text tag... This is now actually a lesser worry on my worry list. Thanks again.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:35 PM   #156
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How do you SET START AT THE BEGINNING? Is there another thread I missed? My book starts 5 pages in as well. Would like it to start at cover.

Thanks.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:39 PM   #157
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How do you SET START AT THE BEGINNING? Is there another thread I missed? My book starts 5 pages in as well. Would like it to start at cover.

Thanks.
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Patrice:

As you may have read on this thread, Amazon is currently forcing most books to start at the first page of text after the Table of Contents, even those books made professionally/commercially with start locations set in the frontmatter. Amazon's usage details indicate that most readers skip immediately to the first chapter, or a prologue, if one exists, so that's where the start location is set. If you want your start location to appear earlier, you can try setting either the "text" or "start" location (depending upon what formatting you're doing) at the beginning, but it's almost impossible to force the SRL at the cover, if that's what you are trying to do. The reader, after all, has the "go to cover" option with one click.

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Old 05-30-2013, 11:37 AM   #158
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Originally Posted by AThirstyMind View Post
Thanks Hitch,

This will take some finessing on my part to get my clients to accept this... they love their TOC in the back, and now quite a few of them are insisting that all front matter be shifted to the back matter. They want that Amazon sample to be only their text.
I agree with your customers that the front matter should be shifted to the back matter (does a reader really care about your mom or life partner? or that you are an "has been"?), but not the TOC. This is how I organize my eBooks (Business):

1. Cover and copyright
2. HTML TOC
I include only levels 1 (chapter name) and levels 2 (subchapters) to reduce the length of the TOC.
3. Introduction (Then SRL)
Here I explain that "in chapter 1 you will see ... (levels 3). In chapter 2 you will see ... (levels 3) etc. Including internal links to the levels 3. At the same time I use the introduction as a "sales letter" for the ebook that will be surely included in Amazon Sample
4. Chapters
5. Thank you page
Conclusion/What's next: My following product in the funnel.
6. End Notes
7. About me
8. About my other ebooks
With links to Amazon products pages. I make (reasonably) reference to them in this ebook
9. About the support from mom, life partner, business partners
10. Legal advice and terms & conditions

With the TOC, prospect will know if I cover what he/she is looking for. In Introduction, to which extend. So I will do with peremptory Amazon rule.

Feedback from professional publishers is very welcome. Thanks.

Last edited by abeonis; 05-30-2013 at 11:38 AM. Reason: Formatting error
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Old 05-30-2013, 11:48 AM   #159
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I would only change 1. to cover and title page with copyright.

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Old 05-30-2013, 11:54 AM   #160
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I agree DaleDe. To be more precise:

0. Cover Image (different between ePub and Mobi/KF8)
1. Title page and copyrights
etc.

Thanks.
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Old 05-30-2013, 03:38 PM   #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abeonis View Post
I agree with your customers that the front matter should be shifted to the back matter (does a reader really care about your mom or life partner? or that you are an "has been"?), but not the TOC. This is how I organize my eBooks (Business):

1. Cover and copyright
2. HTML TOC
I include only levels 1 (chapter name) and levels 2 (subchapters) to reduce the length of the TOC.
3. Introduction (Then SRL)
Here I explain that "in chapter 1 you will see ... (levels 3). In chapter 2 you will see ... (levels 3) etc. Including internal links to the levels 3. At the same time I use the introduction as a "sales letter" for the ebook that will be surely included in Amazon Sample
4. Chapters
5. Thank you page
Conclusion/What's next: My following product in the funnel.
6. End Notes
7. About me
8. About my other ebooks
With links to Amazon products pages. I make (reasonably) reference to them in this ebook
9. About the support from mom, life partner, business partners
10. Legal advice and terms & conditions

With the TOC, prospect will know if I cover what he/she is looking for. In Introduction, to which extend. So I will do with peremptory Amazon rule.

Feedback from professional publishers is very welcome. Thanks.
Are you making this book commercially? In other words, you are making this book for a paying client?

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Old 05-31-2013, 12:24 AM   #162
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Hitch,

If the question is "Do I have to convince a paying client that this is the best eBook structure?" the answer is no. I know, I am lucky. I am the author and self-publisher but also the only responsible of my results.

Instead of spending a precious time learning how to design eBooks, I could have been a "paying client" myself. My perception as a client, is that eBooks are changing the way books are produced and consummed. It is not only a physical change, it is a BIG change in readers purchasing and reading habits. Consequently, as an author, I have to adapt my books to this change, I have to change myself (I know, nobody like changes). So, I am extremely sensitive and open to what profesional publishers recommend me (This is actually what I am doing now). If their recommendations are oriented to help me sell more books, and they convince me of that ... "please, go ahead".

That said I understand your frustration, as a commercial publisher, to have to justify a change that is controlled by Amazon, not you. My life is so comfortable as an indie author ...
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Old 05-31-2013, 04:56 AM   #163
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Hitch,

If the question is "Do I have to convince a paying client that this is the best eBook structure?" the answer is no. I know, I am lucky. I am the author and self-publisher but also the only responsible of my results.

Instead of spending a precious time learning how to design eBooks, I could have been a "paying client" myself. My perception as a client, is that eBooks are changing the way books are produced and consummed. It is not only a physical change, it is a BIG change in readers purchasing and reading habits. Consequently, as an author, I have to adapt my books to this change, I have to change myself (I know, nobody like changes). So, I am extremely sensitive and open to what profesional publishers recommend me (This is actually what I am doing now). If their recommendations are oriented to help me sell more books, and they convince me of that ... "please, go ahead".

That said I understand your frustration, as a commercial publisher, to have to justify a change that is controlled by Amazon, not you. My life is so comfortable as an indie author ...
Then you can afford to simply please yourself. And to clarify, I'm not a publisher, I'm a producer of ebooks. I just make them. What their publishers do with them is their responsibility, but I do try to ensure that my clients don't break Amazon's (formatting) rules, for myriad reasons. First and foremost is that not all Amazon marketing advantages (promotions, in-book features, etc.) are automatically used for every book. They are used at Amazon's discretion. A book made in direct violation to Amazon's guidelines, in print, seems to me to run a very high risk of not getting selected for any of those promotional and marketing features.

I have a client that insists on the "James Patterson TOC," which means he has an html toc at the front of the book, after the copyright page, that has the title, "Start Reading" and that's it. The full TOC is at the back. Now, James Patterson can pretty much ignore anything that Amazon may do to him, but this client of course cannot...but he persists in this, anyway, even though having the "full" TOC at the back can screw up the device's perception of how much remains to be read, etc. {shrug}. As I said...I'm just the printer, basically (the digital printer, more or less). The clients can't always be protected from themselves.

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Old 05-31-2013, 05:29 AM   #164
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Understood the difference between a publisher and a producer. Thanks.

BTW, I forgot to include the index between 6. and 7.
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Old 05-31-2013, 05:53 AM   #165
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A book made in direct violation to Amazon's guidelines, in print, seems to me to run a very high risk of not getting selected for any of those promotional and marketing features.
This is a very good point.
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