Common questions about publishing ebooks

As a book editor, I get a number of questions about publishing ebooks, especially since this is such a new field. Here are the answers to a few that have been asked a lot of me during the past few weeks.

Question: Are page numbers required in the table of contents?
Answer: No page numbers are required in the table of contents since ebooks don’t use them. Instead, hyperlink the chapter titles in the table of contents to the first page of that chapter in the text.

Question: Can text, such as a title page, be squeezed so it only shows up on a single screen?
Answer: In ebooks, you can’t squeeze information onto single pages without doing some coding. In any case, most ebook readers find such coded books annoying – one of the advantages of an ereader is each reader can select the font and the font size that best matches his or her preference.

Question: Does an ebook need a back cover?
Answer: There’s no back cover on an ebook. The front cover of your paperback version of the book can be used as the ebook’s cover. All of the back cover info for the paperback (e.g. book blurb, author’s bio) would appear on the web page where the book can be purchased.

Question: Should I advertise to promote my ebook?
Answer: Don’t spend money on advertising your book unless you were a nationally recognizable name. The ROI simply isn’t there. Social media is the way to get out info about the book – and other than your time it’s free.