What’s The Matter with Your Book?
So you finally finished your manuscript but have you begun to think about the other aspects of your book? For example, have you crafted your author bio? What about your index? Your introduction? Acknowledgments? Outside of your manuscript there are other areas of your book you need to consider. If it’s found between the cover of your book and it’s not a part of the main text, it is considered front and back matter. You can probably guess but anything found before the main text is called front matter and anything found after, the back matter. So what is contained in the front and back matter and what do you need to include in your book?
Front and Back Matter
Let’s first take a look at the different sections you may want to include in your book. It is important to understand some, but not all sections are required to publish a book. So what’s what?
- Title Page: Lists the title, author, and publisher.
- Copyright Page: Includes information about the copyright and other legal and identifying information.
- Dedication: Usually to a family member or other important person, i.e. mentor. Usually short, only a few words long.
- Acknowledgments: For those who have worked on and helped write and publish the book; can be in the front matter or the back matter.
- Preface: Personal note from the author, usually about the context of the book. May be used to provide some relevant information to the audience. Usually a page or so in length, at most.
- Foreword: Written by someone other than the author. Written to brag about the author, usually a close friend or colleague and they usually have some name recognition. It is a way to endorse the book and the author; may be written by a copywriter or ghost writer with the endorsing person signing their name.
- Table of Contents: Lists the chapters and other sections of text in order, usually with page numbers.
- Introduction: Gives the reader a basic understanding of what to expect within the book; a brief summary.
- Conclusion/Afterword/Epilogue: Sums up the book, sometimes within the story itself or sometimes with the author speaking as well. Depending on the book and style it may be named differently.
- Acknowledgments: For those who have worked on and helped write and publish the book, can be in the front matter or the back matter.
- Appendix(ices): Where to place additional or supplementary material; may include research reports, letters, correspondence, etc. to give better context to the information in the book.
- Bibliography/Resources: Where to list your resources and where you found your research, different methods to keep track of your resources.
- Glossary: Where you can explain and define words or phrases used within your book.
- Index: Where the reader can find specific information about a topic. Lists the topic and specific page numbers where the information can be found.
- About the Author: A biography of the author.
- Order Form: Where people can order your book or other products.
Necessities for Your Book
As I mentioned above, not every book requires every section but there are some sections which every book does require. When you are looking to professionally publish your book you will want to include the following sections:
- Title Page
- Copyright Page
- About the Author
These three sections show readers you know what you are doing and in terms of the copyright page, can provide protections for you and your book.
The use of other sections depends on author preference or specifics for each genre. For example, a fiction book will not have a bibliography section while a textbook or educational book will more than likely have an index or appendix.
Take some time to discuss what is needed in your book and what you would like to see with your typesetter and your author assistant. Your front and back matter could be the difference between a good book and a great book!