Display Your Contents and Index!

by Nancy Humphreys on September 1, 2011

One of the functions an index serves is to help the author sell their book. Displaying an index can also help back-of-the-book indexers sell their services. You can display your index even before the book goes on sale!

You don’t have to wait for Amazon.com’s Look Inside!” feature to display your book. You can show what’s inside your book on your own site.

Jared Spool, an expert on web site navigation and usability, once did a a series of studies about how people look to see what a book is about. About half of bookstore browsers he surveyed reported they looked in the table of contents for information about a book. The other half looked at the book’s index.

This is why I recommend you put both your TOC (table of contents) and index on your book’s page or site. And make sure to SEO (search-engine optimize) your site so your book’s buyers can find it!

Display your table of contents!

It’s easy to display your table of contents on a blog or web site. Just take a screenshot (or screenshots) of your book’s contents page(s). Upload your contents .jpg file(s) onto a page or post on your site. (Tip: WordPress blog sites feature tiny boxes at the top left of your draft posts or pages. You click these boxes to upload media files to your post or page.)

Upper Left Corner of a WordPress Dashboard

For those of you who are new to blog sites, here is what the

“Dashboard,” or administrator “home page” on a WordPress blog looks like.

A “post” is a page containing a short article like the one what you are now reading. Posts are intended to be added to frequently. A “page” is static; it is like the pages you find on traditional web sites. It’s really easy to display your book’s contents on either a page or a post.

Here’s an example of a table of contents display from a page on my blog site.

Display your index!

If you have a WordPress blog site you can easily display your index too. Put it on a page or a post by using a plugin

Plugins are similar to widgets. Plugins are apps (applications) that do certain things for your blog. For example a plugin might tweet about your blog posts on Twitter. A plugin might help you perform SEO (search engine optimization) for your site’s pages and posts. Or a plugin can create an invisible-to-humans site map (i.e., a table of contents to your site) to help search-engine spiders access your site.

Plugins are fully-developed apps that you install. Once installed, you do have to tweak their settings just a bit to get them to do what you want to do. However, some plugins may not work in your blog site’s particular template. You’ll need a bit patience to go through trial and error or ask someone knowledgeable for advice to find just the right plugin for what you want to do. A user rating system of stars can help you choose the best plugin for you too.

The WordPress plugin I used to display my new book’s index is titled photospace. As the demo on its page shows, it was designed to display photos. Here is how it works to display the pages of the index for my new book, Marketing Your Book to Libraries: An Insider’s Guide for Authors on my authormaps.com blog site.

How to find WordPress plugins

WordPress is the most popular blog software right now.

Wordpress' site's description of itself

WordPress offers free sites, or you can hire your own host and use your own domain name. (Tip: whichever type of site you choose, I recommend using keywords from your book’s title in your URL to help search engines find your site.)

I also recommend you find an expert to consult. WordPress is pretty easy to use, but it is not quite this easy! It will speed things up and enable you to do more with your site if someone can walk you through how to use all of WordPress’s features.

To find a plugin, just click the icon that looks like a plug. It’s on the lower left side of your site-manager screen, your “Dashboard,” on your WordPress blog.

WordPress will show you a list of your already-activated plugins.

Find new plugins to install by searching for them by name or keywords after clicking on the “Add New” link under the plug icon.

And that’s it!

NOTE: If you would like to get this blog by email, sign up for Wordmaps Tips, my free newsletter. The sign-up box is at the upper right of each page on my site, WordmapsIndexing.com. For current news about indexing and book publishing, follow me and see who I follow on Twitter @Wordmaps.

Tired of waiting for your ship to come in? Check out Marketing Your Book to Libraries: An insider’s Guide for Authors by Nancy K. Humphreys (released August, 2011).

Marketing Your Book to Libraries Marketing Your Books to Libraries: An Insider's Guide for Authors by former librarian Nancy K. Humphreys includes: 
  • How to tell what kind of library to target
  • Types of librarians and books they order
  • Strategies to get past the "gatekeepers" who influence librarians
  • Right ways to approach librarians most likely to order your book

Learn more »

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