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How to Write an Annotated Table of Contents

If you have ever dreamed of having a book published, writing a strong book proposal is the best way to help your chances. A book proposal is actually a collection of documents, which often includes an annotated table of contents. A table of contents features a summary of each chapter or portion of your book. Whether your manuscript is complete or still in progress, the annotated table of contents is one of the most important portions of a proposal because it gives the reader an understanding of the chapters of your book.

List all chapters or sections in order. Much like the table of contents inside a book, the information contained in your proposal should be an easy-to-reference pattern. This will also establish a sense of flow for your manuscript. If your chapter is named, label them here. Also, be sure to make distinctions between different parts of your book, as well as the chapters or sections within.

Summarize each chapter or book section with plot, setting and conflict. In at least several sentences, the reader should have an idea of what happens throughout the book. You can leave out some information that is not necessary, but the important points should be included. Depending on how detailed you choose to be for your proposal, each synopsis can be one paragraph to one page in length. Detail is helpful, but wordiness can make your work seem cluttered.

Organize information like an outline, including indented lists and bullet information where necessary. For example, you could start with the title “Part A.” On the second line, you could indent one space and write “Chapter One.”. You can also choose to format your sections in paragraph form, which might allow you to be more in depth. Just be sure that the information is easy to follow and well organized.

Include details that will allow understanding, but also entice the reader to keep reading. The point of a book proposal is to get a publisher interested in your work. Therefore, you will want to really wow the reader with plot or subject matter that is unlike anything she has ever read. Treat the annotated table of contents like the book itself: include enough details to grab interest, but leave out enough to keep them wanting more.

Liza Hollis has been writing for print and online publications since 2003. Her work has appeared on various digital properties, including USAToday.com. Hollis earned a degree in English Literature from the University of Florida.

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Home » Table of Contents – Types, Formats, Examples

Table of Contents – Types, Formats, Examples

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Definition:

Table of contents (TOC) is a list of the headings or sections in a document or book, arranged in the order in which they appear. It serves as a roadmap or guide to the contents of the document, allowing readers to quickly find specific information they are looking for.

A typical table of contents includes chapter titles, section headings, subheadings, and their corresponding page numbers.

The table of contents is usually located at the beginning of the document or book, after the title page and any front matter, such as a preface or introduction.

Table of Contents in Research

In Research, A Table of Contents (TOC) is a structured list of the main sections or chapters of a research paper , Thesis and Dissertation . It provides readers with an overview of the organization and structure of the document, allowing them to quickly locate specific information and navigate through the document.

Importance of Table of Contents

Here are some reasons why a TOC is important:

  • Navigation : It serves as a roadmap that helps readers navigate the document easily. By providing a clear and concise overview of the contents, readers can quickly locate the section they need to read without having to search through the entire document.
  • Organization : A well-structured TOC reflects the organization of the document. It helps to organize the content logically and categorize it into easily digestible chunks, which makes it easier for readers to understand and follow.
  • Clarity : It can help to clarify the document’s purpose, scope, and structure. It provides an overview of the document’s main topics and subtopics, which can help readers to understand the content’s overall message.
  • Efficiency : This can save readers time and effort by allowing them to skip to the section they need to read, rather than having to go through the entire document.
  • Professionalism : Including a Table of Contents in a document shows that the author has taken the time and effort to organize the content properly. It adds a level of professionalism and credibility to the document.

Types of Table of Contents

There are different types of table of contents depending on the purpose and structure of the document. Here are some examples:

Simple Table of Contents

This is a basic table of contents that lists the major sections or chapters of a document along with their corresponding page numbers.

Example: Table of Contents

I. Introduction …………………………………………. 1

II. Literature Review ………………………………… 3

III. Methodology ……………………………………… 6

IV. Results …………………………………………….. 9

V. Discussion …………………………………………. 12

VI. Conclusion ……………………………………….. 15

Expanded Table of Contents

This type of table of contents provides more detailed information about the contents of each section or chapter, including subsections and subheadings.

A. Background …………………………………….. 1

B. Problem Statement ………………………….. 2

C. Research Questions ……………………….. 3

II. Literature Review ………………………………… 5

A. Theoretical Framework …………………… 5

B. Previous Research ………………………….. 6

C. Gaps and Limitations ……………………… 8 I

II. Methodology ……………………………………… 11

A. Research Design ……………………………. 11

B. Data Collection …………………………….. 12

C. Data Analysis ……………………………….. 13

IV. Results …………………………………………….. 15

A. Descriptive Statistics ……………………… 15

B. Hypothesis Testing …………………………. 17

V. Discussion …………………………………………. 20

A. Interpretation of Findings ……………… 20

B. Implications for Practice ………………… 22

VI. Conclusion ……………………………………….. 25

A. Summary of Findings ……………………… 25

B. Contributions and Recommendations ….. 27

Graphic Table of Contents

This type of table of contents uses visual aids, such as icons or images, to represent the different sections or chapters of a document.

I. Introduction …………………………………………. [image of a light bulb]

II. Literature Review ………………………………… [image of a book]

III. Methodology ……………………………………… [image of a microscope]

IV. Results …………………………………………….. [image of a graph]

V. Discussion …………………………………………. [image of a conversation bubble]

Alphabetical Table of Contents

This type of table of contents lists the different topics or keywords in alphabetical order, along with their corresponding page numbers.

A. Abstract ……………………………………………… 1

B. Background …………………………………………. 3

C. Conclusion …………………………………………. 10

D. Data Analysis …………………………………….. 8

E. Ethics ……………………………………………….. 6

F. Findings ……………………………………………… 7

G. Introduction ……………………………………….. 1

H. Hypothesis ………………………………………….. 5

I. Literature Review ………………………………… 2

J. Methodology ……………………………………… 4

K. Limitations …………………………………………. 9

L. Results ………………………………………………… 7

M. Discussion …………………………………………. 10

Hierarchical Table of Contents

This type of table of contents displays the different levels of headings and subheadings in a hierarchical order, indicating the relative importance and relationship between the different sections.

    A. Background …………………………………….. 2

      B. Purpose of the Study ……………………….. 3

      A. Theoretical Framework …………………… 5

             1. Concept A ……………………………….. 6

                    a. Definition ………………………….. 6

                     b. Example ……………………………. 7

              2. Concept B ……………………………….. 8

       B. Previous Research ………………………….. 9

III. Methodology ……………………………………… 12

       A. Research Design ……………………………. 12

             1. Sample ……………………………………. 13

               2. Procedure ………………………………. 14

       B. Data Collection …………………………….. 15

            1. Instrumentation ……………………….. 16

            2. Validity and Reliability ………………. 17

       C. Data Analysis ……………………………….. 18

          1. Descriptive Statistics …………………… 19

           2. Inferential Statistics ………………….. 20

IV. Result s …………………………………………….. 22

    A. Overview of Findings ……………………… 22

B. Hypothesis Testing …………………………. 23

V. Discussion …………………………………………. 26

A. Interpretation of Findings ………………… 26

B. Implications for Practice ………………… 28

VI. Conclusion ……………………………………….. 31

A. Summary of Findings ……………………… 31

B. Contributions and Recommendations ….. 33

Table of Contents Format

Here’s an example format for a Table of Contents:

I. Introduction

C. Methodology

II. Background

A. Historical Context

B. Literature Review

III. Methodology

A. Research Design

B. Data Collection

C. Data Analysis

IV. Results

A. Descriptive Statistics

B. Inferential Statistics

C. Qualitative Findings

V. Discussion

A. Interpretation of Results

B. Implications for Practice

C. Limitations and Future Research

VI. Conclusion

A. Summary of Findings

B. Contributions to the Field

C. Final Remarks

VII. References

VIII. Appendices

Note : This is just an example format and can vary depending on the type of document or research paper you are writing.

When to use Table of Contents

A TOC can be particularly useful in the following cases:

  • Lengthy documents : If the document is lengthy, with several sections and subsections, a Table of contents can help readers quickly navigate the document and find the relevant information.
  • Complex documents: If the document is complex, with multiple topics or themes, a TOC can help readers understand the relationships between the different sections and how they are connected.
  • Technical documents: If the document is technical, with a lot of jargon or specialized terminology, This can help readers understand the organization of the document and locate the information they need.
  • Legal documents: If the document is a legal document, such as a contract or a legal brief, It helps readers quickly locate specific sections or provisions.

How to Make a Table of Contents

Here are the steps to create a table of contents:

  • Organize your document: Before you start making a table of contents, organize your document into sections and subsections. Each section should have a clear and descriptive heading that summarizes the content.
  • Add heading styles : Use the heading styles in your word processor to format the headings in your document. The heading styles are usually named Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3, and so on. Apply the appropriate heading style to each section heading in your document.
  • Insert a table of contents: Once you’ve added headings to your document, you can insert a table of contents. In Microsoft Word, go to the References tab, click on Table of Contents, and choose a style from the list. The table of contents will be inserted into your document.
  • Update the table of contents: If you make changes to your document, such as adding or deleting sections, you’ll need to update the table of contents. In Microsoft Word, right-click on the table of contents and select Update Field. Choose whether you want to update the page numbers or the entire table, and click OK.

Purpose of Table of Contents

A table of contents (TOC) serves several purposes, including:

  • Marketing : It can be used as a marketing tool to entice readers to read a book or document. By highlighting the most interesting or compelling sections, a TOC can give readers a preview of what’s to come and encourage them to dive deeper into the content.
  • Accessibility : A TOC can make a document or book more accessible to people with disabilities, such as those who use screen readers or other assistive technologies. By providing a clear and organized overview of the content, a TOC can help these readers navigate the material more easily.
  • Collaboration : This can be used as a collaboration tool to help multiple authors or editors work together on a document or book. By providing a shared framework for organizing the content, a TOC can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.
  • Reference : It can serve as a reference tool for readers who need to revisit specific sections of a document or book. By providing a clear overview of the content and organization, a TOC can help readers quickly locate the information they need, even if they don’t remember exactly where it was located.

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APA table of contents

Table of contents

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Today we are going to learn how to make a proper APA table of contents. However, let’s start with some backstory to understand the formatting standards according to the latest  APA 7th edition .

In an  APA style paper , a table of contents is commonly used in longer research papers or dissertations to provide an organized outline of the document's structure. It helps to increase readability and navigation greatly. Even though a table of contents is not officially required by the APA guide, you may be asked by the instructor to include one. That’s why we compiled this guide on how to format a table of contents in APA style. Read our detailed instructions to arrange a contents page. Or you can always ask StudyCrumb to " write my paper for me " and get comprehensive help with your work, including assistance with formatting.

Table of Contents APA: Basics

In the present APA table of contents guide, we will show the most convenient and recommendable format for an APA paper. The first thing that you need to remember — it can not exceed two pages in size. So if the table is a must according to the instructor, you may have to exclude some section headings to fit in. It is good to optimize your paper with subheadings, but don’t get obsessed with it. Here are some of the major formatting rules according to APA Style:  

  • Include at least 2 levels of headings — level 1 and level 2.
  • Use up to 5 levels of headings if it fits the structure.
  • Apply indents to highlight different levels of headings.
  • Locate it right after the abstract, before the intro part. (Read more information if you still wonder on how to write an abstract APA .)
  • Use a 12 pt Times New Roman font.
  • Keep the headings in the table left-aligned.
  • Capitalize all the headlines.
  • Make sure that margins from all sides are 1 inch long.

In all other regards, your formatting sticks to the plain text format. Don’t include any unnecessary formatting or highlighting. And don't be afraid to ask your instructor about it if you have any doubts or questions. At any time, you can  buy essay  quickly, remember about it.

APA Table of Contents Example

Nevertheless, there is nothing more representative than a proper APA table of contents sample. Pay attention to the length of indents for different heading levels. Check out our sample right below.

Note, there is no fixed standard for the length of indents that you make to highlight every level of headlines. Make sure that your headlines look readable and easy to distinguish.

APA table of contents example

Looking for annotated bibliography example APA ? We have got you covered! Open one more of our blogs.

How to Make APA Table of Contents in Word

Microsoft Word is the most likely software for formatting APA style tables of content. That’s why right now, we will learn how to generate automated ones. It is a very simple operation, and you only have to remember easy 3 steps:

  • Format the headings first
  • Apply an APA style format
  • Keep your table updated.

And now, look closer at each individual step, so it will be much easier to remember. So, let’s go! Buy APA format paper entirely from scratch if you have troubles at this point.

Format Your Headings

Before starting working with headings, make sure that all of them are in line with the general formatting style. Normally, the table of contents is generated after the text is finished and proofread. So don’t be in a hurry, even though the contents are located in the very beginning of the text. Make sure that your piece is flawless and doesn’t contain misspellings. Try an  online typing test  to hone your typing skills quickly. Formatting headings is easy — just highlight the heading first. Then, find a top panel featuring heading styles and make a right click on the one you want to choose. After it, select Please update Heading X to match selection. Do it with every heading that you have. Assign each one with Heading 1 — Heading 5 roles.  

Create Table of Contents in APA Formats

One more step and our APA paper with table of contents is as good as ready. From the very beginning, type the page name, keep it centered and aligned to the top. Remember about 1-inch long indents. Make the heading bold to increase readability and navigation. Then choose the “ Table of Contents ” option from the “References” menu that is located on the top panel. In the new window, choose the number of heading levels that will be displayed. As you remember, you need at least 2 and not more than 5 levels of headings.  

Keep Table of Contents Consistent

From this point, all the highlighted headings will be automatically synchronized with your table of contents. In case if you make changes to the actual heading, you may also change it in your list in one click. Just make a right click on it and choose the “Update Field” option. In Microsoft Word, you can choose to update either one element or all elements at a time. We recommend updating all the elements to keep your paper consistent and good-looking. Hiring a bibliography writer to work on your table of contents might be helpful as well.

We hope our blog explained all those formatting tricks in a most understandable way. Check out other articles if you have any other questions about academic writing. Good luck with your writing!

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Whether it is an APA-style paper or an opinion essay, be sure it will be delivered timely and composed with skill and diligence. Check out the writing service and give yourself a little break from writing! Contact us when you are ready. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. is there a size limit for a table of contents in apa style.

Yes, your table of contents should not be bigger than two pages long. If it is larger, consider deleting it entirely or some of the headlines to fit in.

2. Where in the text is the table of contents located in APA style paper?

The table of contents is located after the Acknowledgment but before the Introduction paragraph.

3. How many heading levels is it required to have in a table of contents?

You need to include at least 2 levels and not more than 5 levels of headings. Just analyze the text and come up with the right format for your paper.

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Emma Flores knows all about formatting standards. She shares with StudyCrumb readers tips on creating academic papers that will meet high-quality standards.

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Formatting Examples

Use the formatting checklist to check that all of your content is formatted according to Graduate College requirements. Also, schedule a format check  with a CCE thesis/dissertation consultant to get feedback on your formatting.

how to write an annotated table of contents

 Title Page

Including a Title Page is required . Some of the most common thesis/dissertation mistakes are made on the title page. Follow the bullets below, paying close attention to capitalization, spacing, line breaks, actual date of graduation, and copyright statement. These bullets will guide you through the title page.

  • No page number is displayed on the title page.  It is always assumed page 'i'
  • Title is at top of page, formatted with Title style
  • Title is single spaced
  • Title does not contain a period
  • The first word in the title and the first word following a colon are capitalized
  • Proper nouns and acronyms in the title are capitalized
  • The word "by" is lowercase
  • BOLD  your name and the title
  • Student name should match name in AccessPlus
  • If student name does not match name in AccessPlus, include AccessPlus name in parenthes is under the name you are using
  • The word “Thesis” or “Dissertation” is used in the “fulfillment of requirements” statement
  • The phrase “MASTER OF...” or “DOCTOR OF...” is used
  • Only the Major(s) and (if applicable) the specialization(s) are listed (minors are  not listed)
  • Do not include Dr., Esq., Ph.D., AIA, or other titles or affiliations before or after your name or faculty names
  • “Major Professor” is listed after the respective faculty’s name
  • For Co-major Professors, list both as “Co-major Professor”; do not use “Major Professor”
  • Committee member names are single spaced
  • Either the word “Thesis” or “Dissertation” is used in the “responsibility of content” statement
  • Iowa State University is listed
  • Ames, Iowa is listed
  • Graduation year is listed
  • Copyright statement is written as: Copyright © [Name as Shown on AccessPlus], [Graduation Year]. All rights reserved.

Annotated Examples

Sample Title Page

Master's Title Page

Master's Title Page_Co-Majors

Master's Title Page_Specialization

Master's Title Page _2 Specializations

Master's Title Page_2 Majors and 3 Specializations

Mater's Title Page_Double Degree

PhD Title Page

PhD Title Page_Co-Majors

PhD Title Page_Specialization

PhD Title Page_2 Specializations

PhD Title Page_2 Majors and 3 Specializations

Sample Title Page with Alternative Student Name  

  Table of Contents

Including a Table of Contents is required . The Table of Contents shows the reader the organization of the document as well as displays the correct page numbers. The bulleted items explain various heading styles for you to follow. They also demonstrate various preliminary pages' formats.

  • DEDICATION, if used, precedes the table of contents. Its heading is formatted with  Heading 0 (NOT IN TOC) style, and the page number is 'ii'
  • Page is numbered using lower case Roman numerals, top center
  • The heading TABLE OF CONTENTS, is formatted with  Heading 0 (NOT IN TOC) style
  • Do not list 'DEDICATION' or 'TABLE OF CONTENTS' in the Table of Contents
  • The order for the preliminary pages that follow the table of contents are LIST OF TABLES (optional), LIST OF FIGURES (optional), NOMENCLATURE (optional), ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS (optional), ABSTRACT (required)
  • Preliminary page numbers are lower case Roman numerals in the same font as the document's text, top center
  • Single-space chapter headings and subheadings. Double-space before a new chapter
  • Chapter titles are uppercase letters, same size and font
  • Chapter 1 begins with Arabic numeral '1' in the same font as the text
  • Indent first and second level headings below the major headings. No underlining, boldface, or italics
  • Ensure page numbers in the Table of Content agree with the text
  • All headings must match the corresponding headings in text

Traditional Format Table of Contents

Journal Format Table of Contents

Single Journal Format Table of Contents

MFA Format Table of Contents

  List of Tables or Figures

Including a List of Tables and/or a List of Figures is optional . If you have one list, you must have the other list. Each list starts on a new page regardless of how many entries are on the page.

  • The headings LIST OF FIGURES or LIST OF TABLES are formatted in Heading 0 (Included in TOC)  style
  • If you have one of these lists, then you have the other as well
  • Page number columns are right justified
  • "Page" is written above the page numbers column (only on the first page of the list) and is right justified
  • The word “Table” or “Figure” comes before the title or figure number (e.g., “Table 1. Title”)
  • Titles have all the same capitalization, size, and same font
  • Single-space list entries
  • Double-space between list entries
  • Entries should not be bolded or italicized
  • Traditional format: Continue numbers throughout the document (e.g., Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3)
  • Option 1:  Restart Figure/Table caption number for each chapter (e.g. Figure 1, Table 1),  write "Chapter 1", "Chapter 2", Chapter X, etc. to separate each chapter section in the List of Figures and/or List of Tables. 
  • Option 2: Use Figure/Table caption number with each chapter number, (e.g. Figure 2.1, Figure 2.2, etc. or Table 2.1, Table 2.2, etc.), write Figure/Table + Chapter number followed by figure/table number for the respective chapter.

List of Tables Traditional Format

List of Figures Traditional Format

List of Tables Journal Article Format (Option 1: Restart numbering)

List of Figures Journal Article Format (Option 1: Restart numbering)

List of Tables Journal Article Format (Option 2: Use chapter number)

List of Figures Journal Article Format (Option 2: Use chapter number)

An abstract is required . The abstract is a concise summary of the dissertation or thesis’s purpose, highlights the main points, states the method used, provides findings, and states conclusions. Oftentimes, readers only read the abstract to determine if they should read the document.

  • ABSTRACT in Heading 0 (Included in TOC)
  • Double-spaced 
  • Indent paragraphs like other paragraphs in your dissertation/thesis
  • There is no word limit for the ABSTRACT

Abstract Page

 Traditional Body Format

There are two format styles—traditional and journal. The traditional format is basically one document; whereas, journal is a compilation of several manuscripts for journal publication. See the Journal Article Format  section for instructions for papers including journal publications.

  • Begin first page of Chapter 1 with ‘1’. Numbers are the same font as the document’s text
  • All chapter titles are written in Heading 1   style, which is centered, bold, and uppercase
  • All non-chapter, high-level section (Preliminary Pages, Reference/Bibliography, and Appendix) titles are formatted in Heading 0 (Included in TOC) , which is centered, bold, and uppercase
  • Indent all paragraphs
  • No blank pages
  • Recommended: no excessive white space in text. Pages should be ¾ filled, unless it’s the last page of the chapter
  • Recommended: Chapter section headings are bold and centered with title case. Use Heading 2  style
  • Recommended: Chapter subsection headings are bold, left flush, sentence case. Use Heading 3  style
  • Format headings consistently throughout the manuscript
  • Differentiation exists between heading levels
  • At least two lines of text should be included on a page before a paragraph is continued to the next page
  • Headings or subheadings must include at least two lines of text at the bottom of a page
  • Include the first page of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval in the appendix. Refer to it in the text

 Journal Article Format

This manuscript format refers to the use of articles and/or book chapters to replace the standard thesis/dissertation chapters. Publication of the manuscript(s) is not a requirement of this format. The graduate student is the major contributor and writer of the manuscript(s). In the case of multiple authorship, the contribution of each author is detailed in the Introduction or footnotes.

  • Begin CHAPTER 1. GENERAL INTRODUCTION with page ‘1’. Numbers are the same font as the document’s text
  • Chapter 1 must be titled “GENERAL INTRODUCTION” and the final chapter must be titled “GENERAL CONCLUSION”
  • All chapter titles are written in Heading 1  style, which is centered, bold, and uppercase
  • Author affiliations
  • References or Bibliography
  • Figures and Tables 
  • Continue the text of the paper on the same page as the title and abstract. Chapter titles should not stand alone on a page
  • The References section should appear continuously after the manuscript text; it does not start on a new page
  • Format headings consistently throughout each chapter
  • At least two lines of text should be included on a page. This includes paragraphs that carry over to the next page
  • Appendices must be included within the respective chapters, NOT as sections at the end of the thesis/dissertation. See the Appendix section  for more details on specific formatting requirements

Author Affiliation

 Bibliography or References

Including a bibliography or reference section is required . Every thesis/dissertation that uses other sources, either by direct quotation or reference, must have a bibliography or listing of these sources at the end before the Appendices. The organization of references or bibliography according to specific disciplines can be accepted if approved by the committee.

  • For Journal Article format, use Heading 2 at the end of each chapter before any appendix(ces). The references continue after the body of the text (not start on a new page)
  • For Traditional format, use Heading 0 (Included in TOC) after the final chapter, before any appendix(ces). Start on a new page

Citation Style Guides

Traditional Format References

Journal Format References

Discipline-specific Organization

Use one or more appendices for materials that do not pertain directly, but are relevant, to the main text. Examples of appendix material include survey instruments, Institutional Review Board approval, permission forms, additional data, or raw data. The material within the appendices may be in a different font or use different spacing from the main text of the dissertation/thesis.

  • Appendix. Title
  • Appendix A. Title
  • Appendix B. Title
  • Lettering schema restarts in every chapter
  • APPENDIX. TITLE
  • APPENDIX A. TITLE
  • APPENDIX B. TITLE
  • Number all pages with the same font and location as body of thesis/dissertation pages
  • Fonts may be different

 Tables, Figures & Schemas

  • Include tables, figures, and schema in the text below their first reference in the text or they can be grouped at the end of each chapter. Use a consistent style throughout
  • Table, figure, and schema margins should be the same as the manuscript’s pages
  • Position table and figure captions relative to the table/figure consistently throughout the manuscript (Traditional) or chapter (Journal Article).
  • Position schema captions at the top or bottom consistently
  • There must be 2 lines of the caption on the same page as the figure or table
  • Table/figure/schema too large to fit on one page: use “Table X continued' at the top of the table on each subsequent page. “Figure X continued” above or below the figure on each subsequent page
  • Turn landscape tables, figures, and schema so the top of the table/figure is located to the left
  • Page numbers on landscape pages should not turn with the table/figure. Locate on the 8.5' end of the page in the same position and orientation as the other page numbers

Table Example

Table Continued Example

Figure Example

Figure Continued Example (Long Caption)

Figure Continued Example (Long Figure)

Figure in Portrait and Landscape Orientation

Page Numbers of Landscape Pages

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How to Write a Table of Contents

Last Updated: February 16, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA . Stephanie Wong Ken is a writer based in Canada. Stephanie's writing has appeared in Joyland, Catapult, Pithead Chapel, Cosmonaut's Avenue, and other publications. She holds an MFA in Fiction and Creative Writing from Portland State University. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,048,260 times.

The Table of Contents in a document acts as a map for the reader, making it easier for them to find information in the document based on title and page number. A good Table of Contents should be organized, easy to read and simple to use. You can write a Table of Contents manually on your computer or have a word processing tool create it for you. Make sure the Table of Contents is formatted properly in your final document so it is as accurate and accessible as possible.

Sample Tables of Contents

how to write an annotated table of contents

Creating the Table of Contents on a Word Processor

Step 1 Start a new page after the title page.

  • The Table of Contents should be on its own page. Do not include the introduction or a dedication on the same page as the Table of Contents.

Step 2 List the headings of the document in order.

  • For example, you may write down main headings like, “Introduction,” “Case Study 1,” or “Conclusion.”

Step 3 Add subheadings if applicable.

  • For example, under the main heading “Introduction” you may write the subheading, “Themes and Concepts.” Or under the main heading “Conclusion” you may write, “Final Analysis.”
  • You can also include sub-subheadings underneath the subheadings, if applicable. For example, under the subheading “Themes and Concepts” you may have the sub-subheading, “Identity.”
  • Some papers do not have subheadings at all, only main headings. If this is the case, skip this step.

Step 4 Write page numbers for each heading.

  • For example, if the “Introduction” section begins on page 1, you will attach “page 1” to the Introduction heading. If the “Conclusion” section begins on page 45, attach “page 45” to the Conclusion heading.

Step 5 Put the content in a table.

  • Check that the subheadings are located underneath the correct headings, indented to the right.
  • Make sure there are page numbers for the subheadings listed as well.
  • You can center the content in the table using the table options if you want the content to appear a few spaces away from the lines of the table. You can also leave the content indented to the left if you'd prefer.

Step 6 Title the Table of Contents.

  • You can put the title above the table or in a separate row on the top of the rest of the content.

Using a Word Processing Tool

Step 1 Confirm the headings and page numbers are correct in the document.

  • You should also confirm the page numbers are correct in the document. Each page should be numbered in order. Having the correct page numbers will ensure the Table of Contents is created correctly when you use the word processing tool.

Step 2 Open the Styles tab.

  • If there are subheadings in your document, label them “Heading 2.” Highlight each subheading and click on “Heading 2” in the Styles tab.
  • If there are sub-subheadings in your document, label them “Heading 3.” Highlight each subheading and click on “Heading 3” in the Styles tab.
  • The text and font for each main heading may change based on the settings for “Heading 1,” “Heading 2,” and “Heading 3.” You can choose your preferred text and font for each main heading so they appear as you like in the Table of Contents.

Step 4 Start a new page after the title page.

  • You can choose the built-in Table of Content options, where the tool will automatically choose a font size and style for you.
  • You can also go for from a list of custom Table of Contents, where you choose the font color and size based on your preferences.

Polishing the Table of Contents

Step 1 Make sure the headings are formatted correctly.

  • You should also check the subheadings or sub-subheadings in the Table of Contents, if applicable, to ensure they match those in the document.

Step 2 Confirm the page numbers match the document.

  • If you created the Table of Contents manually, do this by going in and adjusting the headings and/or the page numbers when they change.
  • If you created the Table of Contents with a word processing tool, update it by clicking the Update option by the Table of Contents option on the Reference tab. You can side clicking on the Table of Contents and choosing “update” that way.

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  • ↑ https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/word-tips/how-to-create-a-table-of-contents-in-word/1/#
  • ↑ https://examples.yourdictionary.com/reference/examples/table-of-content-examples.html
  • ↑ http://bitesizebio.com/21549/using-word-to-write-your-thesis-making-a-table-of-contents-inserting-captions-and-cross-referencing/
  • ↑ https://guides.lib.umich.edu/c.php?g=283073&p=1886010
  • ↑ https://nsufl.libguides.com/c.php?g=413851&p=2820026

About This Article

Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA

To write a table of contents, open a new document and list the major headings, titles, or chapters of the project in chronological order. Next, insert subheadings or subtopics if your project has those. Fill in the page number where each heading starts, then format the content in a table with 2 columns. Place the headings and subheadings in order in the first column, then put the page numbers in the second column. Don't forget to add a "Table of Contents" title at the top of the document! To learn more about polishing your Table of Contents, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How To Write a Table of Contents for Academic Papers

Posted by Rene Tetzner | Mar 17, 2021 | How To Get Published | 0 |

How To Write a Table of Contents for Academic Papers

How To Write a Table of Contents for Academic Papers Although every author begins a writing project with the best of intentions and an ideal outline in mind, it often proves difficult to stick to one’s initial plans as the text begins to unfold and its complexities grow in number and depth. Sometimes a document quickly exceeds the word limits for a project, and at others certain important aspects are neglected or turn out a good deal shorter than intended. Drafting a working table of contents for your writing project can provide an excellent tool for keeping your discussion on track and your text within length requirements as you write.

A working table of contents should begin with a title. This title may change as you draft your text, but a working title will help you focus your thoughts as you devise the headings and plan the content for the main parts, chapters, sections and subsections that should be added beneath it. All headings, whether numbered or not, should be formatted in effective and consistent ways that distinguish section levels and clearly indicate the overall structure of the text. These headings can also be altered as your writing advances, but they will provide an effective outline of what you need to discuss and the order in which you think the main topics should be presented. At this initial stage, it is also a good idea to write under each heading a brief summary of or rough notes about what you hope to include in that part of the document, and you can continue to add, adjust and move material around within and among the sections as your table of contents and ultimately your text progresses. Reminders of how long (measured in words, paragraphs or pages) the entire text and each of its parts should ideally be may also prove helpful.

how to write an annotated table of contents

Once you have your annotated table of contents drafted, it will serve as an informative list of both content and order that can be productively consulted as you write. Assuming you construct your working table of contents as a computer file in the same program you intend to use for writing the entire document, you can also use the table of contents as a template for composing the text as a whole, replacing your rough notes under each heading with the formal text as you draft it. This practice lends an immediate physical presence to the guidance provided by your table of contents because you are literally working within that outline, which can be especially wise if you tend to run on or become distracted by new ideas as you write.

Finally, your working table of contents can become your final table of contents if one is required for your project. If you would like to use the working table of contents in this way and are also using it as a template, be sure to rename the file and save a separate copy before you begin adding the formal text of your document. Then you can simply delete your summaries and rough notes from the original table of contents to make your final one, leaving only the headings, to which you can add relevant page numbers as required.

how to write an annotated table of contents

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how to write an annotated table of contents

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01.22.16 Reading Reconsidered–An Overview and Annotated Table of Contents

Reading Reconsidred

One reason–other than my own failure to describe–is that it’s a big sprawling book–got a chapter on vocabulary and a chapter on reading non-fiction and a chapter on close reading.  Each of those could be a book.  In short, nine largish chapters in all is a bit hard to explain. So if you read Liana’s article you could be forgiven for thinking the book was all about text selection when in fact that’s just one chapter.

Anyway, I thought some of the geekier types might appreciate an annotated table of contents to get a better sense for the arc of the book.  Basically I took the books table of contents–it’s broken into modules, which are distinct sub-topics within each chapter–and wrote up a tiny description of each module below so you could get a sense for what the book is about.  Over time I will try to link theses descriptions to previous blog posts I’ve shared about them

Part 1         THE CORE OF THE CORE

We discuss four “big ideas” from the Common Core that we think are sound and worth pursuing–reading harder texts, close reading, reading more non-fiction, writing directly from the text.

Chapter 1: Text Selection

  • Module 1.1         The Decline of the Canon–A reflection on the fact  that what gets read in schools is increasingly less consistent and what that means for teachers.  We’re not arguing for the rehabilitation of the canon, by the way. Just reflecting on a post-canon universe.
  • Module 1.2         Text Attributes and Leveling Systems–Common Core advises us to read harder texts… as measured by Lexiles generally.  Here we look at some of the limitations of Lexiles and other quantitative text complexity tools.
  • Module 1.3         The Five Plagues of the Developing Reader–We propose five ways text can be complex that aren’t measured by common algorithims and reflect on how to get students experience with them. Read more here .
  • Module 1.4         Book Choice–We reflect on further issues to consider in choosing what to read.
  • Module 1.5         Managing Selection–We reflect on the benefits of selection of texts becoming a more intentional conversation within schools and even upon the potential benefits of coordinated decisions by teachers in some cases.

Chapter 2: Close Reading–Close Reading is the set of tools students use to learn to read difficult texts above their comfort zone.  See more here

  • Module 2.1         Layered Reading–Deciding how to attack a text for a first or second or third read is a form of problem solving. We discuss how we might teach students different ways to read and re-read.  See more here
  • Module 2.2         Establish Meaning via Text-Dependent Questions–We lay out a taxonomy of questions that allow teachers to help students lock down the meaning and substance of challenging texts.
  • Module 2.3         Close Reading to Analyze Meaning-We lay out a taxonomy of questions that allow teachers to help students analyze the meaning and substance of those texts.
  • Module 2.4         Processing Ideas and Insights in Writing, and the Power of Clear Focus–We reflect on the importance of writing to distill students’ analyses.
  • Module 2.5         Close Reading Bursts–We reflect on how to adapt the ideas in a close reading lesson to shorter more portable units as the need or opportunity arise.

Chapter 3: Reading Nonfiction, and the Challenge of Background Knowledge

  • Module 3.1         The Key Challenge: Background Knowledge–We reflect on one of the core paradoxes of reading–it requires and relies on content knowledge and is also one of the primary tools through which that knowledge is built.  What’s a teacher to do?
  • Module 3.2         Absorption Rate–We observe that the rate at which knowledge is absorbed while students are reading is not always the same.  In other words, there are things teachers can do to increase how much knowledge students take away when they read.
  • Module 3.3         Embedding Texts to Increase Absorption Rate and Build Background Knowledge–Our primary focus in this chapter is on how to combine the reading of fiction and non-fiction on related topics to unlock greater engagement in and knowledge from both.  See more here and here and here .
  • Module 3.4         Other Ways to Build Background Knowledge–Thoughts on how the questions you ask when reading fiction could reinforce knowledge development as much as skills. See more here .
  • Module 3.5         Some Unique Challenges of Nonfiction–Our reflection on the quirky conventions of non-fiction writing–we call them “micro-skills”–and how they can pose a barrier to the uninitiated.

Chapter 4: Writing for Reading  See more here .

  • Module 4.1         Reading Class Cycles–We look at the order in which reading and writing happen in class… and how often… and propose ways to engineer the process to get more learning,
  • Module 4.2         Writing Is Revising–Look everyone asks students to write and revise their essays and compositions, but it’s the revision of more mundane everyday writing that may be more valuable in the long run.  We examine that topic here.
  • Module 4.3         Art of the Sentence–The sentence–the “complete thought”–is often over-looked, but teaching students to slow down and write single complete thoughts of complexity and nuance not only makes them better writers, it makes them better readers.  See more here and here .
  • Module 4.4         Building Stamina–Writing activities only really work in your ELA classroom if, everyone actually writes when you ask them to, and they have the capacity to write the whole time.  Reflections on how to build students’ ‘stamina’ for writing.  See more here and here .
  • Module 4.5         Monitoring and Assessment via the Stack Audit–We discuss and describe one of the most powerful tools we know of for self-study.  Se more here .

Part 2         THE FUNDAMENTALS

Common Core or not, some things have always been in the bailiwick of the reading teacher. Always have been, always will be.

Chapter 5     Approaches to Reading: Reading More, Reading Better

  • Module 5.1         Approaches to Reading–A reflection on the relative benefits and limitations of students reading aloud, students reading silently, and students being read to.
  • Module 5.2         Accountable Independent Reading (AIR)–How to get the most out of independent reading in class so you know kids are doing it successfully.
  • Module 5.3         Control the Game–How to get the most out of students reading aloud in class so they come to love reading and so you learn a lot about their skill. See more here .
  • Module 5.4         Read-Aloud–The “lost” technique of reading aloud to kids and how to get the most out of it.

Chapter 6:     Vocabulary Instruction: Breadth and Depth

  • Module 6.1         Explicit and Implicit Vocabulary Instruction Compared–There are two arguments about teaching vocabulary: teach words explicitly or rely on lots of reading to develop students’ vocabulary.  Daringly, we come down in favor of both, and discuss why and how they are both different and mutually important.
  • Module 6.2         Explicit Vocabulary Instruction: The Daily Word Rollout to Achieve Deep Word Knowledge–How to use explicit vocabulary instruction to build deep knowledge of words and how to play with words via problem solving games.  See more here and here .
  • Module 6.3         Implicit Instruction: Building Vocabulary During Reading–How to help make sure that students learn more words–and more about the words they learn–as they encounter them in reading.
  • Module 6.4         Maintenance and Extension–How to practice and play with words once you know them to expand knowledge and keep familiarity alive.

Chapter 7:     Reading Systems

  • Module 7.1         Interactive Reading: An Overview–Thoughts on the important art of text mark-up as a system.
  • Module 7.2         Phases of Implementation: Rollout, Modeling, Prompting, Autonomy–How to install any system of good habits you might use during reading.
  • Module 7.3         Interactive Reading System: How to Mark Up a Text (and What to Mark)–Details on how to teach students to mark-up text as they read.
  • Module 7.4         Discussion Systems: Laying the Groundwork for Habits of Discussion–First of two modules on making discussions efficient and effective through positive habits.
  • Module 7.5         Discussion Systems: Beyond the Groundwork–Second of two modules on making discussions efficient and effective through positive habits.

Chapter 8     Toward Intellectual Autonomy

  • Module 8.1         Frameworks for Interpretation–Ways of thinking about a text that students can learn, practice and fly solo with.
  • Module 8.2         Technical Vocabulary–How technical vocabulary builds autonomy and independence in talking or writing about literature.
  • Module 8.3         Phases of Development–Thoughts on how to strategically release autonomy for interpretation to students to they are successful and rigorous.
  • Module 8.4         Autonomous Writing Structures–Ways to socialize students write about texts that foster their autonomy.
  • Module 8.5         Autonomous Discussion Structures–Ways to socialize students discuss texts that foster their autonomy.

how to write an annotated table of contents

One Response to “Reading Reconsidered–An Overview and Annotated Table of Contents”

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“…but I found myself feeling like I didn’t capture the book in talking about it–bits and pieces maybe but no sense of the whole. ”

That was my feeling when I first read TLAC. OK, great, I have 69 techniques, now what? Will I be able to get students to react to those techniques in my disorderly and disruptive classroom? How do I really incorporate them? Just an example, of course. But it reminds me of the books that have hundreds of strategies, but no sense of an entire picture. I loved the Plug-and-Play Strong Start. How to start well, but I also want how to keep the class on course, and how to finish strong.

The book chapters look inviting, but I hope they have an overall operational system to use in the classroom. Discussions Systems should be Chapter 8 or at least a separate chapter after Reading Systems;, and if you have Reading Systems, do you have Writing Systems as well? I would love to see how to incorporate them into lessons or lesson plans.

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How to Write a Table of Contents: Basic, MLA, and APA Styles

Usually, tables of contents are used in documents that consist of several chapters or sections. Creating a table of contents may seem to be a simple task, however, different formatting styles and rules regarding spacing may cause some problems if students are not familiar with these standards.

College-Writers.com decided to help you prepare a good table of contents by explaining the features of the most common styles: MLA and APA. The MLA style is popular in literature, while APA is used in social sciences. If there’s no particular style specified by your professor, you may need to create a basic table of contents.

Basic Table of Contents

First, let’s see what a basic table of contents looks like. This table should demonstrate how your paper is organized, and what topics are addressed in it. You should include every section of your paper and provide a corresponding page number. If your work has big sections, you can benefit from making descriptive headlines so that your audience could easily find the necessary information on any specific subtopic. For example, if this article was several pages long, its table of contents would look like this:

Introduction……………………………………………………….1

Basic Table of Contents…………………………………………3

APA Style Table of Contents……………………………………5

MLA Style Table of Contents……………………………………6

Entries in your table of content should be written using capital letters, just like headlines in your paper. To make your table easy to read, line up page numbers. You can do it manually or use various programs that can format your text documents automatically. These programs can also help with spacing.

APA Table of Contents

You may or may not use the APA style in your papers, depending on your field of study, the type of your paper, and requirements of your school. Literature reviews traditionally don’t have a table of contents, having only a standard title page. In this case, you should also include an introduction and a reference list. If your paper has several major sections, its table of contents may look like this:

Abstract………………………………………………………….2

Introduction…………………………………………………….5

Method…………………………………………………………..6

Results……………………………………………………………9

Tables……………………………………………………………11

References………………………………………………………14

The title shouldn’t be underlined or written in bold font. An APA table of contents should also include an abstract and a list of references. Obviously, you should also follow the general guidelines of the APA style. When creating a table of contents according to the APA style, you may also benefit from making descriptive headlines.

MLA Table of Contents

Your MLA style paper may have a table of contents if it’s long enough. The MLA format doesn’t have any strict requirements regarding breaking up the text so you can approach this issue as you like, taking into account the type of content. Here’s a list of suggested sections for an MLA paper:

  • Acknowledgments;
  • Introduction;
  • Body (three parts);
  • Conclusion (Summary);
  • Explanatory Notes;
  • Appendices;
  • Contact Organizations;
  • Endnotes (if you don’t use citations in parentheses or footnotes);
  • Bibliography;

You should also include a title page, however, there’s no need to number it, unless your title is on the main page of your paper. Don’t forget that the MLA style also requires you to provide a list of tables and illustrations. Here’s an example of a table of contents written according to the MLA format:

Introduction……………………………………………………..2

Arts………………………………………………………………..5

Government……………………………………………………..8

Works Cited……………………………………………………..10

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How do I format a table of contents in MLA style?

Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook . For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

Tables of contents may be formatted in a number of ways. In our publications, we sometimes list chapter numbers before chapter titles and sometimes list the chapter titles alone. We also sometimes list section heads beneath the chapter titles. After each chapter or heading title, the page number on which the chapter or section begins is provided. The following show examples from three of the MLA’s books.

From Elizabeth Brookbank and H. Faye Christenberry’s  MLA Guide to Undergraduate Research in Literature  (Modern Language Association of America, 2019):

From  Approaches to Teaching Bechdel’s  Fun Home, edited by Judith Kegan Gardiner (Modern Language Association of America, 2018):

From the  MLA Handbook , 8th ed. (Modern Language Association of America, 2016):

Need more information? Read about where to place a table of contents in your paper .

The Self Publisher

How to Write a Book Proposal: A Comprehensive Guide For New Authors

By c.s. lakin.

book proposal

At some point in your writing journey, no doubt you’ve thought about submitting your manuscript to an agent or publisher.

Even if you’re on the self-publishing track, there may come a time when you want to pitch your manuscript or book idea with the hope of landing a traditional publishing contract. And you’ve probably heard that agents and publishers will want a book proposal.

But does every book require a proposal? If so, what’s included? If you write nonfiction, you’re expected to provide a book proposal, and there are specific elements agents and publishers want to see. If you write fiction , you may be surprised to learn that a fiction proposal might be your ticket around the gatekeepers.

Table of Contents

I put together a brief but targeted book proposal for my fantasy series and landed a three-book deal with a publisher—without the acquiring editor ever reading a single manuscript. While that’s highly unusual, it speaks to the persuasion a great book proposal can wield. Know that you don’t necessarily have to have written your entire manuscript before submitting a nonfiction book proposal.

In fact, many book ideas are pitched via a proposal with just a few sample chapters, and that’s all you need to include in your proposal in terms of your actual manuscript. However, if you’ve never written a complete book, it makes a lot of sense for you to get as far into the writing as possible—not only to convince people you can write (and complete a  manuscript) but also to convince yourself.

First, let’s take a look at how to write a book proposal , and what should be in one.

What Is The Purpose of a Book Proposal

book proposal

Book proposals are exactly what the term implies: You are proposing a book idea for publication and making the argument that there is a market for your book and you are the right person to write it.

If your book is meant to instruct or in some way benefit your reader, your proposal needs to convince a publisher that you have the background, expertise, experience, and/or platform that gives you the “authority” to speak on the topic—and do so succinctly and in an engaging manner.

If your nonfiction book is a memoir or other creative storytelling, the uniqueness of the story and your impressive storytelling skills need to be showcased in your proposal.

Memoirs are difficult to sell—it seems everyone and their cousin thinks their particular life story will appeal to countless readers.

But a look at the market and competition shows that for a publisher to be interested, you have to present a riveting story that provides a unique angle or hook no other memoir delivers.

And, as with all nonfiction, you need to be able to show you’ve got an author platform.

Proposals require some effort to compile. You’ll need to do serious research into the market for your kind of book. That means finding comparable titles and authors, and being able to provide an explanation for how your book is similar, but unique.

The length of book proposals vary, but it’s not uncommon to run over fifty pages. You’ll need to include an annotated table of contents, as well as those three sample chapters. (More on that below)

Your book proposal needs to showcase your writing and communication competency. If it’s disorganized and your talking points are unclear, it will reflect poorly on the manuscript you are trying to pitch.

While some publishers allow authors to pitch their proposal directly (and, often, attending writers’ conferences will give you the opportunity to do so.), many require  literary agent representation.

So, after doing the research, you may find you need to tailor your book proposal to pitch specifically to agents in the hopes of interesting them in you and your project.

What’s in Your Nonfiction Book Proposal

Clearly, nailing your genre is crucial , because your book needs to fit in a specific slot for a specific type of reader.

Do you know the basic demographics of your target reader? You’ll need to discover that and include the information in your proposal.

Your book proposal should feature a simple cover page that says, “A proposal for [title/subtitle] by [author name]”. At the bottom of the page, include your contact information.

Next is the table of contents for your proposal. (Not your book)

Here are the three basic sections for your nonfiction book proposal:

Introduction

The introduction contains the bulk of your marketing information. It should include these headings, all on separate pages:

After displaying your book’s title and subtitle, begin with a clever hook or elevator pitch. You might share a brief story that showcases the theme and purpose of your book (no more than a few paragraphs) or some provocative statistics or questions.

This is followed by your fifty-word pitch, including your word count and any relevant back matter. Next, clearly and simply state the benefits and features of your book and your timeline for completing the manuscript.

You’ll want to note what the general and specific markets are for your book, including any segments.

For instance, your book might be in the self-help field, but, more specifically, it fits into the natural health market and segments for natural foods, healthy diets, and organic gardening and cooking.

Don’t say you’re writing for everyone or a general audience of “people who like to cook.” Narrow your focus . Publishers want specifics.

If you plan to write additional, related books (or you already have some published), you’d note these here.

This is an extensive section that should include (bullet lists) what the author has and will do to promote her book, pre- and post-publication.

Keep in mind that listing things like “the author will sell a hundred books a week” or “the author will appear on top TV shows” are promises you may not be able to keep. (Or prove you can accomplish)

Also, stating that you plan to do a book launch and tour may not impress, since things like that would be expected of any hardworking published author.

The idea here is to be specific to the genre and benefits of your book —what are some innovative and potentially successful ways you can promote your unique book, and do you have any “ins” that will make a difference?

Competing Books:

book proposal

List up to five best sellers (preferably published within the last five years) and explain how they are most similar to yours (direct competition).

Start with the:

  • Year copyrighted
  • Number of pages
  • Whether the book is hardcover or paperback
  • Share one positive and one negative aspect of the book

Do not harshly criticize these books or their authors. That’s a bad look for you.

Complementary Books:

List up to five best sellers and include the same information you did in the Competing Books section. Introduce the list with a sentence stating that readers who buy the following books might also buy your book. Put a paragraph or two after the list detailing how these books, in general, compare to yours.

About the Author:

This section should give a full biography , but include only what is pertinent to your book. (Not how many goldfish you own or that you like to take long walks)

Head the page with the title “About the Author” and write your bio in third person, with your professional photo centered at the top under the title.

Your mission statement should follow your Bio on a separate page, and include a robust paragraph explaining why you have written (or will write) the book and why it’s important to you.

Social Proof

Following the mission is your author’s platform, which should include:

  • Past and scheduled presentations
  • Appearances (in person, podcasts or other online interviews, TV, etc.)
  • Any articles written about or by you that directly relate to your book’s topic.

Include a list of any awards you’ve won. (Again, only what’s related to your book—no one cares that you won first place in 1990 in your bowling league competition).

If your social media presence, or number of website visitors, is significant, share those numbers, as well as any organization affiliations.

Chapter Outline

Before you provide the annotated chapter summaries, be sure to add your simple Table of Contents for your book here. Then you’ll start the chapter summaries on the next page.

Summaries are written in future tense. (“This chapter will explain briefly what I did to survive the coldest winter on record …”)

As a guide, the number of lines in your summary should correspond to the number of pages this chapter covers in your book. For instance, a ten-page (double-spaced) chapter should be summarized in ten sentences.

This is where your creativity and expertise comes into play. Your chapter summaries need to spark interest and shine a light on your key talking points and supportive arguments.

Sample Chapters

With nonfiction, your sample chapters don’t have to be your first chapters. Choose the ones that are the most riveting or thought-provoking.

They might be chapters that present your unique perspective or approach to your topic, and highlight benefits to the reader. Aim for around thirty pages, though you can run longer.

This may seem like a lot of work, but it’s essential work. It will also help you narrow your objectives, purpose, and audience for your book, which will help you in all your marketing efforts, prior to and following publishing.

What Should Be In A Fiction Book Proposal

When agents or publishers request a fiction proposal for a novel (or collection of poems or short stories), they mean a query letter, a one-page synopsis of the story, and a sample chapter or specific number of pages from your manuscript.

(Always the first pages)

This is the default, unless the requester’s website states otherwise.

However, I mentioned earlier about my success with my own fiction version of a nonfiction book proposal. I got the idea from a successful novelist friend, who recommended pitching fiction in a way similar to nonfiction.

And, why not?

Agents and publishers of fiction want to know things like target market, comparable and competing titles, author platform and background, and any planned marketing and promotion efforts.

It is not necessary to include the book’s table of contents (not common in fiction unless a collection of stories or poems) or a chapter outline in a fiction proposal.

But, you can follow the basic proposal structure for your novel and novel series.

(Rather than have a spin-offs page, have one detailing your series idea and books planned)

In one of my fiction proposals, I included brief character sketches. I put my query letter inside the proposal, and I also included a sample reader discussion at the end.

You can be creative with your fiction proposal, but be sure you include the query letter, synopsis, and those first three chapters . Those items are a must.

One caveat: in your query to agents and publishers, it’s a good idea to mention you have a more detailed fiction proposal—one that looks at the marketing and promotion aspects of your book—and ask if they would like to see it.

They may decline. It’s best to only send the extended proposal upon request.

Showing you’ve done your homework by analyzing the markets and competition for your book—fiction or nonfiction—demonstrates your seriousness about your career as an author, as well as your professionalism.

A book proposal may sound like a lot of work, and it is.

But, you put a great deal of time and effort into your book idea—and the writing—so far. This is your opportunity to make the argument for why readers will be drawn to your story.

Make it shine!

how to write an annotated table of contents

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how to write an annotated table of contents

How to Write the "Table of Contents" Section

Of your book proposal.

  • book proposals
  • book proposal examples
  • literary agents
  • query letters
  • writing styles

Your Book's "Table of Contents"

  • Competing Books
  • About the Author
  • List of Chapters
  • Chapter-by-chapter Summaries
  • Sample Chapters

Notice that item number 6 is the "List of Chapters," which is the table of contents for your book. Editors realize that your chapter list may change as you work on the book; they may even suggest changes themselves. At this point all the editor really wants to see is that you have a plan in mind. One of the best ways to demonstrate planfulness is to write one chapter on each topic you'll cover in the book. The following is a sample table of contents for a book about vitamins.

  • The history of Supplements
  • The B Vitamins
  • Other Vitamins
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Lipoic Acid
  • Other recommended herbs and supplements
  • Appendix A — How to Calculate Dosages
  • Appendix B — Where to Buy Supplements
  • Appendix C — Exercise and Supplements
  • List of Charts

Notice that this table of contents follows an orderly pattern, dealing with the vitamins in alphabetical order, then dealing with various other supplements, and finally listing appendices and charts to be included with the book.

The key point about writing the table of contents for your book, which will be included in your book proposal , is to show that you're organized and that you'll cover all the essential aspects of your topic. If you structure this table of contents appropriately at the outset, you'll also find that when you do get that book contract, writing the book is relatively easy -- sometimes even easier than putting together the book proposal.

Final bit of advice: look at the tables of contents of some of your favorite books for ideas on how to structure yours. You might be surprised at how simple some authors keep their tables of contents.

How to Get Published

Get YOUR BOOK TITLE in print with this helpful advice.

How to Write a Book Proposal

The most important thing you can do to further your writing career is to write a solid book proposal.

How to Query a Literary Agent

Playwright Tennessee Williams used one agent throughout most of his long career, Audrey Wood, whose agency is now ICM.

How to Find a Literary Agent

Finding a literary agent can be fun when you use my approach .

On page 220 of The Mosquito Coast Paul Theroux has his protagonist announce to his son, "They keep white slaves!" This propels the reader into a state of curiosity and suspense. Is it true? Can it be true? The height of craft!

What Should My Book Proposal Contain?

Book proposals that sell contain a standard group of sections.

Your Book Proposal's "Overview"

Your book proposal needs an Overview to hook readers .

Your Book Proposal's "Marketing" Section

Your book proposal needs a marketing section.

Your Book Proposal's "Promotion" Section

All about the promotion section of your book proposal.

Your Book Proposal's "Competing Books" Section

Learn exactly how to deal with competing books in your book proposal .

Your Book Proposal's "About the Author" Section

Here's where you blow your own horn in your book proposal .

Your Book Proposal's Table of Contents

How to structure the table of contents for your book.

Your Book Proposal's Sample Chapters

How to write sample chapters for a book proposal .

Book Proposals

  • Why should we read your book proposal?
  • Do you discuss markets in your book proposal?
  • Does your book proposal say you'll be on TV and radio?
  • Do you knock competitors in your book proposal?
  • Are your credentials listed in your book proposal?
  • Do you list your chapters in your book proposal?
  • Are chapter summaries in your book proposal?
  • Which sample chapters are in your book proposal?

Book Proposal Examples

  • Example of a book proposal overview.
  • Example of a book proposal marketing section.
  • Example of a book proposal promotion section.
  • Example of a book proposal competing books section.
  • Example of a book proposal about the author section.
  • Book proposal sample tables of contents.
  • Book proposal sample chapter summaries.
  • Book proposal sample chapters.

Book Proposal Samples

  • Start your book proposal right.
  • Sell your book proposal to publishers.
  • Promote yourself in your book proposal.
  • Say your book is great in your book proposal.
  • Talk about yourself in your book proposal.
  • List your chapters in your book proposal.
  • Summarize your chapters in your book proposal.
  • Include sample chapters in your book proposal.

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  • Finding Sources
  • Writing the Annotations
  • Formatting the Annotated Bibliography
  • Citation This link opens in a new window

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources in proper citation format, each with a descriptive paragraph. The description may critique, analyze or just summarize the content of the item. For this assignment,  you will write a critical/evaluative annotation for each source, critically appraising the evidence that addresses your practice problem. 

A good annotated bibliography:

  • Encourages you to think critically about the content of the works you are using, the importance of the works within the field of study, and the relation of the works to your own research and ideas
  • Proves you have read and understand your sources
  • Establishes your work as a valid source and you as a competent researcher
  • Provides a way for others to decide whether a source will be helpful to their research if they read it

*Excerpted from The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill .

The Annotated Bibliography should be the final result after a thorough review of the literature on your topic. Different databases should be searched to get different perspectives. If 8-10 sources are required, you should be reviewing many more sources (20-25), in detail,  before making final selections.

Steps to Writing an Annotated Bibliography

No matter which course or discipline you're researching in, the steps of writing an annotated bibliography should be similar:

  • Research, identify, locate and read scholarly and professional articles, books, and documents for your bibliography
  • Critically screen, analyze and evaluate the sources
  • organize the sources in a logical order
  • Create citations in proper APA format (see APA tab)
  • Compose annotations

Resources on the Web

For more information on annotated bibliographies, visit these pages:

  • Writing an Annotated Bibliography Dena Taylor, Health Sciences Writing Centre, University of Toronto
  • Annotated Bibliographies The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Next: Finding Sources >>
  • Last Updated: May 7, 2024 6:08 PM
  • URL: https://stevenson.libguides.com/annotatedbib

IMAGES

  1. 20 Table of Contents Templates and Examples

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  2. how to write an annotated table of contents

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  3. How to Write Chapter Summaries for Your Book Proposal

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  4. Sample Annotated Bibliography in MLA Style

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  5. 20 Table of Contents Templates and Examples ᐅ TemplateLab

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  4. 11/18 CREATE REFERENCE AND TABLE OF CONTENTS in Microsoft Word 2019/365

  5. How to write an annotated bibliography

  6. Create a Table of Contents With Pages (#1129)

COMMENTS

  1. How to Write an Annotated Table of Contents

    Step 1. List all chapters or sections in order. Much like the table of contents inside a book, the information contained in your proposal should be an easy-to-reference pattern. This will also establish a sense of flow for your manuscript. If your chapter is named, label them here. Also, be sure to make distinctions between different parts of ...

  2. How to Create an APA Table of Contents

    Generating the table of contents. Now you can generate your table of contents. First write the title "Contents" (in the style of a level 1 heading). Then place your cursor two lines below this and go to the References tab. Click on Table of Contents and select Custom Table of Contents…. In the popup window, select how many levels of ...

  3. Book Proposals: The Nonfiction Annotated Outline

    Start with the Table of Contents. The nonfiction proposal should include a table of contents (TOC). (A novel proposal does not need a TOC. Yes, I've seen fiction TOC's that are just a list of sequential numbers…) A simple method would be to write one paragraph about each chapter describing its core message. A chapter-by-chapter analysis.

  4. How to Write Chapter Summaries for Your Book Proposal

    One of the key elements required by most publishers when you're submitting a book proposal is an annotated table of contents, also known as a set of chapter summaries or abstracts for each chapter that will appear in your proposed book. You might also want to create a set of chapter summaries as a map of your book that you include in your ...

  5. Table of Contents

    The table of contents will be inserted into your document. Update the table of contents: If you make changes to your document, such as adding or deleting sections, you'll need to update the table of contents. In Microsoft Word, right-click on the table of contents and select Update Field.

  6. Dissertation Table of Contents in Word

    In the references section in the ribbon, locate the Table of Contents group. Click the arrow next to the Table of Contents icon and select Custom Table of Contents. Select which levels of headings you would like to include in the table of contents. Click OK. Make sure to update your table of contents if you move text or change headings.

  7. APA Table of Contents Writing Guide (+ Example)

    Create Table of Contents in APA Formats. One more step and our APA paper with table of contents is as good as ready. From the very beginning, type the page name, keep it centered and aligned to the top. Remember about 1-inch long indents. Make the heading bold to increase readability and navigation.

  8. PDF TIPS FOR BOOK PROPOSALS

    Address letter to an editor by name (and make sure the name matches the publisher). Do not send your proposal to a general mailbox. Follow the guidelines on the publisher website and do not send an attachment if the press asks you not to do so. Give title of your work and a succinct description. If you've met or been in contact with the ...

  9. Annotated Samples

    Table of Contents. Including a Table of Contents is required. The Table of Contents shows the reader the organization of the document as well as displays the correct page numbers. The bulleted items explain various heading styles for you to follow. They also demonstrate various preliminary pages' formats.

  10. 4 Ways to Write a Table of Contents

    Make a table with two columns. Then, place the headings and subheadings in the first column in order. Put the applicable page numbers in the second column. Check that the subheadings are located underneath the correct headings, indented to the right. Make sure there are page numbers for the subheadings listed as well.

  11. Book Proposals: The Nonfiction Annotated Outline

    Since we recently discuss of played of a synopsis within a written proposal ME thought it important that we address what the non-fiction author needs into provide. To your one out the main differences between the fiction and the non-fiction book proposal. I've seen many contributing confuse the two furthermore create extra work for...

  12. How To Write a Table of Contents for Academic Papers

    A working table of contents should begin with a title. This title may change as you draft your text, but a working title will help you focus your thoughts as you devise the headings and plan the content for the main parts, chapters, sections and subsections that should be added beneath it. All headings, whether numbered or not, should be ...

  13. Reading Reconsidered-An Overview and Annotated Table of Contents

    Chapter 1: Text Selection. Module 1.1 The Decline of the Canon-A reflection on the fact that what gets read in schools is increasingly less consistent and what that means for teachers. We're not arguing for the rehabilitation of the canon, by the way. Just reflecting on a post-canon universe.

  14. How to Write a Table of Contents: Basic, MLA, and APA Styles

    Entries in your table of content should be written using capital letters, just like headlines in your paper. To make your table easy to read, line up page numbers. You can do it manually or use various programs that can format your text documents automatically. These programs can also help with spacing.

  15. How do I format a table of contents in MLA style?

    Tables of contents may be formatted in a number of ways. In our publications, we sometimes list chapter numbers before chapter titles and sometimes list the chapter titles alone. We also sometimes list section heads beneath the chapter titles. After each chapter or heading title, the page number on which the chapter or section begins is provided.

  16. Table of Contents in a Book Proposal

    In your Table of Contents for your book proposal you need to include in your outline this material. Pagination should be completed in lower case Roman numerals (i, ii, iii, iv, v and so on). The same is true for Back Matter. Some put the Acknowledgements in the front and others in the back of their books.

  17. What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

    MLA style. In an MLA style annotated bibliography, the Works Cited entry and the annotation are both double-spaced and left-aligned.. The Works Cited entry has a hanging indent. The annotation itself is indented 1 inch (twice as far as the hanging indent). If there are two or more paragraphs in the annotation, the first line of each paragraph is indented an additional half-inch, but not if ...

  18. How to Write a Book Proposal: A Comprehensive Guide For New Authors

    You'll need to discover that and include the information in your proposal. Your book proposal should feature a simple cover page that says, "A proposal for [title/subtitle] by [author name]". At the bottom of the page, include your contact information. Next is the table of contents for your proposal. (Not your book)

  19. How to Write the "Table of Contents" Section of Your Book Proposal

    Your book proposal 's table of contents should contain the following sections: Notice that item number 6 is the "List of Chapters," which is the table of contents for your book. Editors realize that your chapter list may change as you work on the book; they may even suggest changes themselves. At this point all the editor really wants to see is ...

  20. Create a Functional Table of Contents on Medium

    Image by the author; annotated with Canva. 11. Paste the value from step 8 that you just copied and press the Enter key. If you start with a value, say "8d9b", it should say "#8d9b" before ...

  21. SU Library: Writing an Annotated Bibliography: Home

    An annotated bibliography is a list of sources in proper citation format, each with a descriptive paragraph. The description may critique, analyze or just summarize the content of the item. For this assignment, you will write a critical/evaluative annotation for each source, critically appraising the evidence that addresses your practice problem.