Similar to front matter, back matter includes the things that are found at the end of the book. The sections in the back matter are often supplementary to the main book. Which sections are found there often depends on the type of the book and what, if any, additional information a reader might need.
You might these sections in the following order:
Epilogue or Conclusion
An epilogue is found mostly in fiction books. This is a short section that concludes the end of the story. It might take immediately after the events of the story or there could be a leap of years or decades. It can also be used to segue into another series of events that are covered in a sequel to the book.
This section could be called a conclusion. A conclusion is an epilogue for mostly non-fiction books. It wraps up any loose ends the book doesn’t address. It might talk about what happened to the people mentioned in the book later or if the events in the book predated or caused other historically significant occurrences.
Afterword or Postscript
An afterword can be a discussion on how the book came to be written It might talk about a specific event that triggered the author to begin writing or the inspiration behind the topic, or even how the information was researched.
If the book has had previous editions, the afterword might be a commentary on why the book is being reissued. There might also be commentary about the cultural or historical impact this book made, especially if this is a public domain book.
A postscript is an informal afterword, often directly addressing the reader. Similar to a P.S. in a letter, a postscript will give just a little bit of information that wasn’t included in the main body of the text. This term comes from the Latin post scriptum which means “written after.” This section might also be called an Author’s Note.
Acknowledgements or List of Contributors
If the acknowledgments are not at the beginning of a book, they may be found at the end in the back matter. Here’s where the author can sincerely thank anyone who helped, inspired, or financially assisted the writing and publishing of the book.
If anyone contributed to the book, this is where their information would be listed in a section entitled List of Contributors. This section is more than a simple thank you. Professional information about the contributor should be included, such as books or professional articles authored as well as educational or professional experience.
Permissions or Credits
If permission was needed to include, song lyrics, poems, quotations or even entire chapters, this is the section where an author gives credit where credit is due.
Discussion or Reading Group Guide
If the book was designed for use in high school or college courses, the author may choose to include a section that lists questions about the book for group discussion. This might include questions about the theme, historical significance, characters or symbology.
If the author believes that certain articles or texts should be read in their entirety by the reader, then he or she might include a list of suggested reading. The order may be alphabetical or thematic. It should list at least the full title and author of the text being recommended. It may list a link to the article or a way to purchase the book.
Appendix or Addendum
Additional information about the book might be contained in the appendix, also known as addendum. Updates to information, corrections to earlier material and references for further reading could be found here.
Notes or End Notes
If there were references in the book marked by a superscript or number in parenthesis, the additional information is found in the end notes section. These are arranged by chapter in the order they appear.
The glossary is a collection of terms from the book. It is sort of like a small dictionary designed specifically for the book that it is in. The words are alphabetized and defined. This section is sometimes called an idioticon, vocabulary or clavis.
A bibliography can also be called works cited, resources, sources or references. This is a list of books, articles, web sites or other sources that have been consulted in the creation of the book. An annotated bibliography gives publishing information, a text description, and how it is relevant to the book. A bibliography can be alphabetized or organized by theme, topic, or chapter.
The index is also an alphabetized list of terms, similar to the glossary. However, instead of giving a definition, the location of the words in the main text is indicated. This is especially useful in reference books since it provides a single spot that lists every place the specific term is used in the text.
About the Author or Biographical Note
Written in the third person, About the Author highlights information about the writer that readers would find interesting. It is usually just a paragraph or two. It can be serious and establish the credibility of the author on the book’s topic or it can be whimsical and make a personal connection to the reader.
If the book is a reissued version of a public domain book, this section could be entitled Biographical Note. Here there would be information about the life and work of the original author, not the person republishing it.
Other Books by the Author
In this section, books by the same author under the same name and those written under pen names can be mentioned. This section could be done in list format or could include a synopsis of each book.
The colophon appears at the very end of the book. It gives information about the printing and publishing process. It might mention the type of paper, ink or binding used to create the book. The section Note on the Type could be included in this section or separately. It gives information about the font/typeface used in the book, possibly mentioning its characteristics and history.
Assignment: Determine which back matter sections your Blog to Book project needs.