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Ebook Publishing > Is it possible to specify our book start page when self-publishing to Amazon?

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message 1: by Rachele (new)

Rachele Baker (rachelebakerdvm) Hi everyone,

I self-published my first book back in 2012. I am almost finished writing my second book (7 Simple Ways To Keep Your Dog Healthy - I am a veterinarian), and I plan to use the front matter to try to get readers to join to my mailing list.

I have noticed that when I open new e-books to read on my tablet (with a Kindle app), that the books automatically open to the first page of the first chapter. A reader has to manually flip backwards if he or she wants to read the front matter.

This makes it unlikely that readers will even see the front matter.

Does anyone know if there is a way to specify that the e-book automatically opens to the cover page instead of to the first page of the first chapter?

-Rachele


message 2: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Not really, but sort of. You can add the "start" bookmark, but I'm pretty sure the only time they ever stick with this vs setting their own is if there is a dedication of something before the first chapter. You might consider adding that to the back of the book instead of the front because honestly, most people won't engage until they've read the book and decided they want more. At the end, it's still fresh in their mind. At the front, they might not remember to go back and look.


message 3: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Angell (heidiangell) | 241 comments I put mine in the front (for people looking at samples.) and back. I hate that Amazon does the set up the way that they do. People never see my dedication page, thank you page, or prolog. So annoying. But to be fair, Amazon sets it that way because the average reader doesn't really care about that stuff.


message 4: by Rachele (new)

Rachele Baker (rachelebakerdvm) Good point, Christina. However, I would still like to give readers the opportunity to see my front matter. How do you add a "start" bookmark?


message 5: by Christina (last edited May 25, 2017 10:11AM) (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Rachele wrote: "Good point, Christina. However, I would still like to give readers the opportunity to see my front matter. How do you add a "start" bookmark?"

In Word and programs like it, you would put the cursor where you want to start, click on add bookmark(sorry, not by a computer so I can't tell you what tab it's under), and type 'START'. Again though, Amazon is likely to override it for front matter unless there is a valid reason not to.


message 6: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 528 comments I have a book with a Prologue and Amazon starts from there, not chapter one - thankfully. Perhaps that is because the word 'Prologue' is formatted as a Chapter Heading.

Maybe if you put things you want seen in as a chapter heading... just a thought.


message 7: by T.L. (new)

T.L. Clark (tlcauthor) | 727 comments I suppose the only way of doing this in an Amazon can't override way would be to treat your front matter like a chapter. Format the heading as per your chapter headings. Pooter bots should then see it as your first chapter even though it's called something like 'foreword' ;-)
I'm actually trialling this with my upcoming release. It's my first duology, and book 2 starts with a 'story so far' before 'chapter 1', just to refresh people's memories.

But I do wish the mighty Zon would actually auto start at the cover. So much effort/energy/money/thought has gone into those, and they set the scene for the book. :-(
Our little books may have sat in someone's library for ages, so it'd be super helpful for them to see the cover first.


message 8: by T.L. (new)

T.L. Clark (tlcauthor) | 727 comments Oops; sorry Anna. For some reason I hadn't seen your comment before posting. Yeah, what Anna said (*blushes*)


message 9: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 528 comments That's OK, T.L. and your post has just made me think of something that I try to do as well - and forget! - and that is to give a short mini-blurb, because as TL says, books might sit for ages, and I can't remember what it's meant to be about. 'Chapter One' tells me zilch!


message 10: by Rachele (new)

Rachele Baker (rachelebakerdvm) T.L. wrote: "I suppose the only way of doing this in an Amazon can't override way would be to treat your front matter like a chapter. Format the heading as per your chapter headings. Pooter bots should then see..."

That's a great idea, T.L.!

Another thing that I have noticed is that as soon as I get to the last page of the chapter when reading a book on my tablet (with a Kindle app), that when I try to advance to the next page (where there is further info from the author), it advances past all of the back matter to a page with suggestions for more books to buy.

The only way I can read the back matter is to manually flip backwards.

This makes it so that readers do not see the back matter either.

I guess that might also be avoided by formatting the back matter as a chapter. It is worth a try, I think.

Let me know how it goes with your efforts to have your book open prior to the first chapter in your upcoming release, T.L.


message 11: by Rachele (new)

Rachele Baker (rachelebakerdvm) Anna Faversham wrote: "I have a book with a Prologue and Amazon starts from there, not chapter one - thankfully. Perhaps that is because the word 'Prologue' is formatted as a Chapter Heading.

Maybe if you put things you..."


That's great to know that you have found a way to get your e-book to open prior to chapter one by formatting your prologue as a chapter heading, Anna. I am definitely going to try that.


message 12: by Aislinn (new)

Aislinn | 150 comments I have to say...as an author I can understand how frustrating it must be for readers to not even see the front matter. But as a reader? If I'm sampling a book or trying to figure out what to read and the book has too much front matter? I probably won't buy/read that book because I'll be annoyed at having to skim so much. Readers don't care about that stuff like we do, they just want to get to the story.

What's that old marketing thing? Readers are more likely to buy when the path from discovery to purchase is as simple as possible. Something like that.


message 13: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments I've done this in the past but only because I submitted an html file rather than a Word doc. It's pretty easy to do in html once you figure it out. But doing it in a Word doc? Not so much.


message 14: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments And ... I might be weird but I like to skim the front matter as a reader.

It kind of annoys me when an ebook drops me right in chapter 1. Who's it dedicated to? Did the author add any quotes? All that stuff to me is like a little warm up, a building up of anticipation.

No need to be leaping ahead and having the soup course before the appetizer!


message 15: by Rachele (new)

Rachele Baker (rachelebakerdvm) Micah wrote: "And ... I might be weird but I like to skim the front matter as a reader.

It kind of annoys me when an ebook drops me right in chapter 1. Who's it dedicated to? Did the author add any quotes? All ..."


I totally agree, Micah! Any time I get a new e-book, it opens to Chapter 1. So I flip backwards to the cover page so I can read all of the front matter. I like to read the front matter!


message 16: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Okay, so there is still no guarantee that Amazon will allow you to override their start setting, but I have figured out the back:

In books where there is an about the author, afterword, or acknowledgement that is formatted with a chapter heading and can be accessed from the table of contents, this will be skipped and it will bring you to a rating page. Hitting the back button will let you continue reading, but the same thing will happen again if you hit another titled section.

In books where there is simply a page break before the back matter with no title formatted, you can continue reading and it won't go to the rating screen until the actual last page.

All of my books have had a note from the author that was formatted as a chapter, so these were being skipped. My latest short has no TOC, but I formatted the section headings the same way as I would have if I'd included a TOC and it allows readers to see my notes.

So my suggestion is to add pertinent information to the back and title it however you want, just make sure you don't make it a heading that is used in the table of contents.


message 17: by Rachele (new)

Rachele Baker (rachelebakerdvm) That's interesting, Christina. Thanks for sharing!


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