How to Create a Front Matter Chapter for your iBooks Author Ebook

A nicer way to handle it.

One of the things that bugs me about the way iBooks Author handles front matter pages such as the Copyright, Dedication, and Foreword pages is that they kind of hang out there by themselves at the front of the book, without any sort of “wrapper” that can give them identity.

Copyright Page
The first page of the table of contents in Landscape view. The next two pages look just as unattractive.

This became quite apparent in the sample book readers create while following along in iBooks Author: Publishing Your First Ebook. In the final book, in Landscape view — which is how the book is most likely to be read — each front matter page has its own table of contents page with an ugly gray background that’s just … well, ugly.

In playing around with iBooks Author, I soon realized that the only difference between these pages and the rest on the book is that they were not part of any chapter. It followed that if they were part of a chapter, they’d be handled differently. So I created a new chapter at the beginning of the book, added the three pages to it, and was very happy with the results.

Here’s a quick overview of how you can do the same.

  1. In the Book pane, select the very first page of your book. This is likely to be the Copyright page.
  2. Added ChapterUse the Add Pages menu on the toolbar to add a Chapter page. It should appear in the Book pane right beneath the page that was selected.
  3. In the Book pane, drag the new Chapter page above the first page of the book.
  4. Numbering OptionsWith the new Chapter page selected, display the Layout inspector’s Numbering panel and choose None from the Section Numbers pop-up menu. This removes the Chapter number from the new Chapter and restores the Chapter 1 number to the original Chapter 1.
  5. Indented pagesIn the Book pane, drag each of the front matter pages beneath the new Chapter page so they’re indented beneath it. You’ll need to drag each page up a little and to the right. A green line indicates placement as you drag. The indentation indicates that each of these pages is now part of the chapter they’re indented beneath.
  6. In the Book pane, select the new Chapter page. Then make changes as desired to set it up as a first page of your book’s Front Matter. In my example, I removed the chapter number placeholder text, changed the chapter name to Front Matter, removed the intro placeholder text, and replaced the placeholder image to match my book’s cover. (You can find instructions for doing all of these things in my book.)

    Front Matter Page

That’s about all there is to it. When you preview the book, you’ll find a nice table of contents page that gathers all of your front matter pages together.

Front Matter

Learn More!

Want to learn more about using iBooks Author to create ebooks? Check out iBooks Author: Publishing Your First Ebook, available now in iBooks, Kindle, and NOOK formats.

And keep checking in here at Maria’s Guides for more articles like this one.

Tip for Writers on Mac OS: A Stickies Style Guide

Maintain consistency in your writing with an easy-access style guide.

As I continue work on my 81st book (!), I thought I’d share a tip with other writers working on Macs. This one has to do with creating and maintaining a style guide for your work in progress.

Stickies IconToday, on my blog, An Eclectic Mind, I wrote quite a bit about what a style guide is and why it’s important. I also revealed my personal technique for maintaining a style guide for work in progress — I use Stickies — and explain why it’s a good solution for me.

In this piece I want to briefly discuss how to set up and use Stickies as a style guide. Keep in mind throughout this piece, however, that you can use Stickies to give you easy access to just about any information you might need to be reminded about as you work.

  1. In the Applications folder in in Launchpad (Mac OS X Lion and later only), open the Stickies icon.
  2. StickiesIf you’ve never opened stickies before, you’ll see some default notes with information on using Stickies. You can read these for more information. Then close them and do not save changes. You want to minimize the number of open windows on your Desktop, don’t you?
  3. Choose File > New Note to create a new sticky note window.
  4. My Style GuideResize it so it’s long and narrow, just wide enough to fit the words you’ll add to it.
  5. Reposition it so it’s on the far right (or left, if you prefer) side of your screen.
  6. As you work on your project, add difficult-to-remember words and phrases to it. Be sure to spell/capitalize the words/phrases exactly as you should be writing them. It’s also a good idea to list them in alphabetical order.
  7. If there’s a word or phrase you should never use, add it to the list but use the Fonts panel to format it with strikethrough formatting.
  8. When you are done writing for the day, quit Stickies. Do not close the note before quitting.
  9. When you start work the next day, open Stickies again. The note should reappear just as you left it, all ready to be consulted and updated as needed.

If you’re using Mac OS X Lion and you don’t quit Stickies, it’ll automatically reopen when you restart your computer. If you’re using an earlier version of Mac OS, you can set up Stickies as a Login item so it automatically opens when you start or log into your computer.

Again, you can use this tip for any kind of information you need to consult as you work at your computer. The one thing I wouldn’t put in Stickies is any kind of information that needs to be kept private. I recommend an application such as 1Password for that kind of data so it can be secured.

How do you use Stickies? Share your tips in the comments for this post.

Learn More!

Lion Book CoverWant to know more about Mac OS X Lion and Stickies? Check out my Mac OS X Lion: Visual QuickStart Guide. This 648-page, fully illustrated guide to Lion is available for a great price in print and Kindle versions from Amazon.com.

Seven Tips for Interacting with Companies on Twitter

Your attitude and approach will set the stage for a good relationship with the companies you deal with.

Get more from your software.One of the videos in my Twitter Essential Training course on Lynda.com includes a discussion on how you can get customer support from companies that maintain Twitter accounts. In it, I include several real-life examples of how I got quicker results from companies through their Twitter accounts than through normal customer service channels. Since recording that course, I’ve had at least a dozen other similar experiences.

If you want to use Twitter to get support for products and services you buy, you need to have the right attitude and approach. With that in mind, here are seven tips for interacting with companies on Twitter:

  1. Tip: You can use Twitter’s search feature, which is covered in Chapter 7 of the current version of my course, to find Twitter accounts for companies or specific products. Hashtags are covered in the course, too.

    When tweeting about a product or company, include its Twitter account name or hashtag in the tweet. This makes it easy for the company to easily find your mention.

  2. Refrain from using foul language when sharing negative comments about a product or company. Many people are turned off by bad language. Your comment will have more impact — and a greater potential for retweeting — if it’s stated in work-safe terms.
  3. When complaining about a product or company, be specific. Saying “Company ABC sucks” isn’t nearly as helpful to the company’s support team or fellow Twitter users as “Company ABC takes too long to process orders” or “Company ABC’s website is difficult to navigate.”
  4. If you have a question about a product or service, use an @mention to direct it to the company’s Twitter account. Ask the question in a single tweet, being as specific as possible. For example, “@CompanyABC Does #ProductA have a warranty?” or “@CompanyABC The manual for #ProductB doesn’t explain how to use it with my iPad.” If the company is properly monitoring its Twitter account, you may get an answer within minutes.
  5. Don’t hesitate to praise a product or company you like. Last night, for example, I had an extra-good shopping experience and tweeted: “Just wanted to say that we got EXCELLENT service at the PHX Camelback @BedBathBeyond store. Advised on a sheet purchase by an expert!” If everything you tweet is a complaint, you’ll look like a whiner that’s never happy. Support staff could hesitate to help you if they feel you can’t ever be pleased.
  6. If a company you complained about satisfactorily fixed a problem you had, tweet a follow-up to let your Twitter followers know they made things right. Many companies really do try hard; don’t they deserve praise when they resolve a problem?
  7. Don’t lie about an experience. Good or bad — people may rely on what you say to make purchase decisions. Do you really want to mislead your Twitter followers?

Of course, if you’re in charge of monitoring a company’s Twitter account, its up to you to respond quickly and promptly to any Tweets that mention your Twitter account or products. I cover that in my Lynda.com course, too.

Let me teach you more about Twitter!

You can watch seven videos from my Twitter Essential Training course for free. Click here to get started.

Ten Lion Tips for Snow Leopard Users: Introduction

What to expect when you step up to Snow Leopard.

Mac OS X Lion Visual QuickStart GuideI’ve just finished work on my latest book, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion: Visual QuickStart Guide, for Peachpit Press. This new edition of my best-selling OS X book is a complete ground-up revision that reorganizes and adds lots of material. I’m very pleased with the way it turned out and I hope you’ll check it out in print, as a Kindle book, or in Apple’s iBookstore.

To help spread the word about the book, Peachpit and I put together a video tentatively titled “Ten Lion Tips for Snow Leopard Users.” (The video will be online soon; when it is, I’ll link to it here.) The idea is to show Snow Leopard users some of the things that have changed from Snow Leopard to Lion. I’m not necessarily talking about new features — I cover the big new features like Mission Control, Launchpad, and Full-Screen Apps in individual videos available from Peachpit Press, where I can really dig in and show how they work. Instead, the “Ten Lion Tips” video concentrates on ten changes that Snow Leopard users may notice right away — the changes that might have them wondering what’s going on.

You can learn more about how Lion will rock Snow Leopard users’ worlds on Peachpit’s Web site in an article I wrote titled “Ten Lion Tips for Snow Leopard Users.” Of course, the ten things covered in the article (and video) aren’t everything you need to know about Lion. It’s just a start.

Lion is a great new version of Mac OS, one with plenty of new features and interface changes to help make you more productive. I dug deeply into Lion while working on my book and was very happy with what I found. I’m excited about Lion and thrilled to be using it on my Macs. I think you’ll feel the same way!