by wjw on November 1, 2015

labTonight was Patricia Rogers’ legendary biannual Halloween Party, complete with Victorian coffins, mummies, body parts, bubbling flasks, sinister laboratory instruments, brains in bell jars, a tilting, electronically charged autopsy table, and a whole lot of science fiction and fantasy writers and fans dressed up as monsters, mad scientists, and figments of the demonic imagination.

(I feel deeply privileged to have a friend with “polish coffin” on her to-do list.)

Tomorrow morning, a few hours from now, I fly to New York, and eventually to Saratoga Springs for the World Fantasy Convention coming up next weekend.  I’ve got a full week of travel, meetings, panels, and a reading.  Plus hours and hours in a steel tube, both coming and going.

All this is making for a fairly frantic time, but at least I’ve got the damned Table of Contents done.

My revision of my ebook list is continuing apace.  Almost universally, novels (particularly in electronic form) do not actually need a table of contents.  Most people read straight through, and even for those who like to skip around, a list featuring items like “Chapter Nine,” “Chapter Ten,” “Chapter Eleven” and so on doesn’t really help them much.  If the chapters had actual titles, like “What Happened When Maisie Stumbled Upon Brian’s Dismembered Body,” that might be of some use, but I don’t write that sort of novel.

Nevertheless ebook distributors like clickable tables of contents, and ebooks pretty well have to have them.  They’re technically difficult for some reason, and I spend hours on them, and fussy distributors like iBooks and Smashwords are always bouncing them for some small, usually insignificant, error, one that makes absolutely no difference to anyone actually reading the book.

But this week I was revising The Green Leopard Plague and Other Stories, which as the title implies is a collection of short fiction.  Now in this case a clickable table of contents is actually useful for anyone looking to read a particular story, so I went to some effort to get the table of contents right, except that the TOC, as it’s known, just wasn’t cooperating.

The weirdest problem was that one particular story kept dropping from the TOC every time I generated an epub file.  (There was no problem with a mobi file, as used by Kindle.)  So I spent two whole nights trying to get “Pinocchio” to show up in all the various epub files intended for Kobo, iBooks, and Nook, etc.

Eventually I succeeded.  I don’t actually know what I did right that last time, I was just at the throwing-everything-at-the-wall stage, and finally something stuck.

So if you download Green Leopard Plague now, you’ll be able to click straight to the story you want.  Assuming you want to do that.

You should feel free now to buy the book, so you can enjoy the clickable feature!  And you’ll enjoy it even more, knowing that I sweated over it!

Richard Grant November 1, 2015 at 6:28 am

Just bought a Kindle copy. Thank you for making the effort to create a clickable TOC.

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