Make your table of contents a selling tool.

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Most people who write books want to sell at least a few of them. That’s where your table of contents can help. Here’s why.

People use the table of contents to help decide what book to buy

Here’s how most people go about buying a book. They usually start with either a recommendation or a search. Whether they’re in a bookstore or on Amazon, most book buyers look at three things. They may look at the endorsements on the back of the book. They may start reading the book. Or they may check out the table of contents.

The table of contents is the one element that almost every reader uses to figure out whether to buy a book. Business readers want to know what your book/s about and whether your book will help them do things better.

If you want more people to buy your book, create a table of contents that helps them make a wise decision.

The worst table of contents

Believe it or not I’ve seen books where the table of contents looks like the following.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

That gives the prospective reader absolutely no information about what’s inside the book. He or she will have to look at other elements to determine whether to buy. Just having to take an extra step may cause them to move on.

The most common table of contents

The most common table of contents lists the chapter title. The title can include a description or promise of the chapter. Here’s an example.

Introduction
How to Get the Most from this Book
Prepare to Invest Profitably in Apartments

That’s better. It could be better still.

A better table of contents

Here’s how the last table of contents could be even better.

Introduction

Why so many real estate millionaires do it with apartments
7 Reasons Why Investing in Apartments can Make You a Millionaire
Some Ways the Government Favors Apartment Investing
Should You Be a Rental Owner?
What’s in This Book

How To Get the Most from this Book

Reading plans for Novice, Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master Investors
Action Steps

Prepare to Invest Profitably in Apartments

Team Up with a Great Broker
Make Sure You Have A System that will Work for You Every Time.
Apartment Investing Realities
Action Steps and Exercises

Readers love exercises, action steps and summaries. If you have them in your book, mention them in the table of contents.

Takeaways

Most readers check out the table of contents of a book they’re considering.

The table of contents should give a perspective reader information that will help him or her make a wise buying decision.

Chapter titles should convey information or promise.

A better table of contents tells prospective readers what’s in individual chapters.

If you give the reader exercises, summaries, or action steps, mention them in the table of contents.

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