If you've read any nonfiction ebooks, you've likely seen a hyperlinked Table of Contents. For my books, I created an Index, because a reader compellingly argued that a Table of  Contents would be too spoilerish. She wasn't happy with the Index either, and wanted the choices to be listed numerically. She didn't want any hints of the action happening elsewhere. In the end, that was too unwieldy so I created a rather opaque index. In Charlotte, it worked out that each choice came in a unique setting, so the Index isn't revealing at all.

The other books have more tantalizing links like "In the Water With Luke." Another reader told me she liked the Index, because it spurred her to read on past a scenario that had lost her interest. You need to keep in mind that when you hover over any hyperlink, the bookmark's name appears in a popup. So if you're being as mindful as I'm trying to be about spoilers, you have to name the bookmarks carefully. I suspect there's something to help me with the tic box "hidden bookmarks" but when I mark the box, the popups still appear so I don't get that functionality yet.

Also, hyperlink every "The End" to the index header. I haven't found the need to bookmark the actual endings, but if you wanted to review them quickly, that's what you'd need to do. I certainly don't want to add the endings to the index itself, allowing readers to just jump straight there out of curiousity. By linking the endings to the index as a whole, you're allowing the reader to quickly go back and try other choices, rather than forcing them to scan or reread.

Someone has pointed out to me that anyone who tries to print my book will be lost, unable to jump from choice to chapter without page numbers. I'm thinking about it, but really, if I'm creating a work meant for ereading, I'm not sure I need to hold myself to print consumers. Thoughts?


  1. Just read this post. I think in this case, where it is a DEFINITE ebook and not meant for print, that there really is not a reason to consider the print readers in how the book is indexed, etc. And, personally, I don't think that people should be printing out books they have gotten, free or paid into a print format. I think personally it's wrong. (UNLESS, you have gotten the author's permission to do so.)

    A CYOA is really perfect for e-reading and I don't understand why someone would be wanting to print it out anyway. (shrugs, maybe I'm a dunce, who knows.)

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