There are several parts that comprise the section known as the Front Matter of your book. Not all books have every part however. The front matter uses Roman numerals to number the pages rather than cardinal numbers setting this section apart from the main text.
An optional half title page only has the title of the book. It’s the first page you see when opening the book.
A frontispiece is an illustration that is printed on the side facing the title page. It’s not required.
The title page has the title of the book and the author’s name as they appear on the cover and the spine (if it is a print book).
Your copyright page is also known as a colophon. It is on the reverse side of the title page. Here you’ll find copyrights information, ISBN, publisher, and disclaimer. (See Copyright).
A dedication page is another optional section. On this page, the author customarily names a person or people to whom the book is dedicated.
The epigraph is a page where a poem, quotation, excerpt or phrase is included as a sort of introduction to the book or theme of the book. This is also not required.
The all-essential table of contents lists the section and chapter headings and any back matter sections. In a print book, each heading is followed by the page number where that section begins. In an ebook, the heading itself is a hyperlink to that section.
You might have a list of figures/illustrations or list of tables section after the table of contents. The list of figures page has an inventory of illustrations or figures included in the book, their titles and their page numbers. The list of tables does the same for any tables included in the book.
Similarly, you may include a list of abbreviations or characters. If you use a substantial number of abbreviations throughout your book, then you might want to include a page that lists them. A list of characters page, although typically found in fiction works, also could be appended in a non-fiction book. The list would name the characters and provide a little background information about them, possibly including relationships among the characters.
Books where the order of events is of paramount importance, could include a chronology or timeline. Memoirs might have a genealogy or family tree page instead.
The foreword is a written by someone other than the author. It may provide an introduction to the book or to the author him/herself. The foreword is always signed, usually with its author’s name, place, and date. It’s optional.
A preface is another introduction, this time written by the author. It might talk about the inspiration behind the book or background material that the reader needs to know to understand the book. It’s not a requirement.
In the acknowledgements section the author publicly thanks anyone who contributed to the creation of the book including editors, Beta readers, supportive family and friends, fans, cover designers, and sometimes God himself. It’s a very personal but optional section.
Along the same lines, a list of contributors page is a recital of those who have contributed to the book, sometimes with public gratitude from the author. If a contributors page is not in the front matter, it should be positioned right before the index in the back matter. Names should be listed alphabetically by last name, but be listed first name last name. After each contributor, there may be short biographical notes, academic honors or other publications by the contributor.
In the introduction, the author talks about the goals of the book or discusses the organization and scope of the work. It’s not required. Prologues are found in fiction books. Here the story scene is set through the eyes of a character in the book, not the author.
If the front matter section is extensive, there might be a second half title page, identical to the first. It appears before the beginning of the text. The page following the second half title page may be blank or may have an epigraph.
Who knew that the Front Matter section was so substantial? Take heart, we’ll talk about each of these segments in time.
Decide which Front Matter sections you will include in your Blog to Book Project.
4 thoughts on “Blog to Book Project — Front Matter”
This is great information. I look forward to reading the whole A to Z series. I had to learn so much of this the hard way. You’ve done a wonderful job of laying it all out for potential authors.
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The alphabetical order is making the process a little confusing. I hope to have a blog to book project with this material available in a more logical order by June.
That was so intersting. These are all part that, as readers, we hav eencountered, but not often we know the real meaning of the name and the purpose of that part of book.
Thanks for sharing.
I recently read a book that had way too many front matter parts. I felt like it took forever to actually get to the book. So that’s something I will keep in mind with my books!