Blog to Book Project — Introduction

The introduction introduces the subject of the book. It may also be referred to as the prolegomenon. This section states the goals and purpose of the main text. It could provide a brief summary or explain aspects that should be understood before reading the text. 

The introduction can be included as part of the front matter or the first section of the main body. If it is part of the front matter, it uses lowercase Roman numerals for pagination. If it is included in the main body, standard pagination applies. 

Don’t skimp on the quality of your introduction. Amazon allows readers to have a “sneak peek” of your book with the Look Inside option. Providing this little tidbit in the form of a stellar introduction can be the difference between a sale and no sale.

Consider answering these questions directly in your introduction:

  • What problem does your book solve?

There are so many competitors out there. If your book can solve any issue for your reader, highlight it. 

  • How does your book solve that problem?

Tell readers what type of information they will find that will help them resolve that issue.

  • Why are you qualified to provide this information?

Perhaps this problem was something you studied or learned through experience. Tell your readers why you are an “expert.”

  • How will your book improve your readers’ lives?

Make your book part of a bigger picture for your readers. Not only will you be able to do X but with this skill, you can finally achieve Y. 

  • What proof can you give readers that their problem will be solved by reading your book?

This would be a great place to include brief testimonials. 

  • What does your book promise to provide?

Include something of a disclaimer here. While everyone’s situation is unique, learning X can help you do Z. 

  • Encourage readers to begin reading RIGHT NOW!

Here is the call to action. Readers should feel inspired to begin your book (or purchase it if they are reading this with the Look Inside feature.)

Be sure to proofread this section carefully. Spelling and grammar errors will turn off potential readers. Remember to keep this section to about two pages as well. 

Assignment: Write your introduction. Proofread it. Does it inspire action?

Blog to Book Project — Front Matter

Front Matter

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 publically 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.

Assignment:

Decide which Front Matter sections you will include in your Blog to Book Project.