The table of contents is a vital section in the front matter of your book. You may also hear this section simply called Contents or abbreviated as TOC. In a digital book, the table of contents lists the chapters which are hyperlinked to the corresponding area of the book.
In a print book, the table of contents has the page number on which each chapter begins listed after the chapter title. When there is significant space between the chapter title and the page number, there may be leaders, usually in the form of dots, that connect the two components. Sometimes the page number is on the left before the chapter title.
Chapters are sometimes grouped into sections, which are also listed in the table of contents. If the book has several authors, each responsible for a chapter or story in the book, the authors’ name also appear in the table of contents.
Any front matter before the table of contents is not listed on the table of contents but is included in the page count. All back matter sections are included on the table of contents. The TOC should begin on a right hand page unless it is exactly two pages. In that case, it should start on the left side.
Creating a Contents page is not necessarily difficult. If you use a template like Pressbooks, your exported book will already have a hyperlinked or paginated table of contents. Kindle Create will also format it for you.
You can find step-by-step instructions to create a TOC in Word and Google Docs as well. If you’d like to be a bit more creative, Canva has table of contents templates you can edit and download as an image to include in your book.