Perspectives of a Writer and Musician

Issues related to writing, publishing and playing jazz music: One man's muse.
by Al Stevens

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Location: Florida, United States

Thursday, April 04, 2013

A Gearhead's Guide to E-book Publishing - Lesson 7: TOC, Metadata

Lesson 6 showed you how to add a cover image to your e-book. This lesson ties up some loose ends to make the epub-format e-book closer to being publishable.

Table of Contents

The typical e-book has two tables of contents. One is in an html file at the front of the book like just another chapter. The other is encoded in a file named toc.ndx. That second one is what many e-reader devices and programs use to display the TOC apart from the book's narrative.

If your book is a work of fiction, biography, or memoirs and has no chapter titles, you might wonder why your reader would need a table of contents. The reader probably doesn't, but if you hope to publish in Apple's iBookstore, you'll need one. Their criteria include a table of contents.

You will recall from Lesson 4 on Chapters that you assigned the H2 tag to your chapter headings. That assignment enables automatic generations of both tables of contents.

    1.    Open Sigil and load your epub file
    2.    Select Tools->Table of Contents->Generate Table of Contents...

This action opens the Generate Table of Contents dialog.

    3.    Ensure that all the chapter headings are listed and checked
    4.    Click OK

This action generates the toc.ndx file needed for the internal table of contents. Next you will generate the html table of contents file.

    5.   Select Tools->Table of Contents->Create HTML Table of Contents

This action creates the file named TOC.xhtml at the top of the Book Browser. You probably don't want it ahead of the cover and frontmatter.

    6.    Click on and drag the TOC.xhtml file to where you want the table of contents to display when the reader pages through the e-book.

Here's Sigil with both tables of contents displayed.


Metadata are those data that describe the e-book to those who might be browsing it in an online bookstore or in their personal e-book library. You add metadata with the Metadata Editor.

    1.    Select Tools->Metadata Editor
    2.    Fill in the Title and Author
    3.    Change the Language if the default value of English is incorrect

Here's the Metadata editor filled out with the minimum data.

    4.    Click OK

Save your work.

Next time we'll discuss how to validate the epub file to ensure that it fits the standards.

Table of Contents
Lesson 1: HTML
Lesson 2: Content
Lesson 3: Frontmatter
Lesson 4: Chapters
Lesson 5: Opening Paragraphs
Lesson 6: The Cover
Lesson 7: TOC, Metadata
Lesson 8: Epub Validation
Lesson 9: The Mobi (Kindle) Format


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