Blog to Book Project — Preface

The preface is written by the author and addressed to the readers directly. It is more often found in non-fiction books. 

You could tell the readers why you wrote the book. Does it fill a need? Were you inspired by a particular incident? What is the purpose of this book?  

You could also talk about the writing process. Why did you decide to turn your blog into a book? What were the challenges you overcame? How did you change or what did you learn in the process of writing this book? How did you research it? How long did it take you to write this book?

Yet another aspect you could write about is reader assistance. What will the reader gain by reading it? Should it be read in a specific manner?

Finally, you could summarize the material contained in the book. What are the major themes? What are the steps to the final goal? What are the highlights of each chapter?

Choose one of these viewpoints in order to keep the preface short, less than two pages is ideal. 

This section is also paginated with lowercase Roman numerals as part of the front matter. If there are two prefaces, one written by the author and the other by the editor, the editor’s preface comes first.  If there is both a preface and a foreword, the foreword is first. 

Assignment: Decide which aspect you would like to discuss in your preface. 

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 — Prologue

A prologue is a scene or event that occurs prior to the point in which the book begins. This section is most often found in fiction. As a rule of thumb, if you have a prologue, you should also have an epilogue. 

The prologue should set the stage as it were. It provides information that helps the reader understand the following book. It can be written in character or as a direct address to the reader. 

A prologue could:

  • Provide the backstory to the events in the book. These might include historical events or dramatic moments that caused or influenced later actions. 
  • Intrigue the reader so that he or she continues reading. Consider how to make the information in the prologue arouse the interest of the reader. Can you make it suspenseful or mysterious? Does it trigger strong emotions? Do the characters find themselves in desperate situations in need of resolution?
  • Be told from a completely different point of view. Perhaps the villain imparts some useful information in the prologue while the main story is told through the eyes of the heroine.

Keep it short! A page or two at most should be enough. The idea is to pique a reader’s interest, not reveal information that is contained later in the book. 


Assignment: If you plan to include this section, write your prologue.

Blog to Book Project — List of Contributors

If anyone contributed to your book, this is also where their information would be listed under the heading entitled List of Contributors. 

This section is not the same as the acknowledgments page although you are acknowledging the contributions of these people. It is more than a simple thank you

The List of Contributors includes relevant biographical information, like membership in certain organizations, current position demonstrating expertise in an area, academic affiliations or published works.

Contributors are listed in alphabetical order by last name but written in standard order. So Henry S. Pingleton is not written Pingleton, Henry S. but as Henry S. Pingleton and comes before Johnny Quimby and after Yori Oliver.

You might include editors, translators, publishers, agents, professional proofreaders, or professors in this section. Librarians and research assistants deserve their due as well. Don’t feel as if you have to include every publication each contributor wrote in this list. Instead, include the one or two most relevant to your book topic. 

Assignment: Consider whether you need a formal List of Contributors or can get by with the more formal Acknowledgements.

Blog to Book Project — Colophon

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.

Most self-published books do not have a colophon or a page dedicated to the typeface. However, they are worth some consideration. I’m sure you’ve read at least one book where the font changes from one chapter to another. That’s an example of an author (or editor) who did not take the time to look at his or her font.

Assignment: Imagine you are going to add a Colophon or Note on the Type to the end of your book. Check your book for font use consistency.

Blog to Book Project — Timeline

If your book is historical, you may want to include a chronology or timeline. Memoirs are other types of literature that benefit from the inclusion of a timeline. 

A timeline provides the reader a way to keep track of certain important dates as the story progresses. 

A chronology can be placed either in the front matter or back matter. If knowing the order of events is essential to understanding the story, include the timeline in the front matter. 

Even if you don’t plan on including a timeline in your book, creating one often helps you organize your material better. There are many free templates available online or you could create one on Canva. Don’t be afraid to be creative!

Assignment: Make a chronology for your book.

Blog to Book Project – Lists

You may want to include some very specific lists in the front matter of your blog to book project. All of these are optional.  

If your book includes a number of unfamiliar abbreviations, a list would help your reader make sense of the text. The list should be alphabetized by the abbreviation, not the full meaning. Thus U.S.A. instead of the United States of America would determine where the abbreviation falls in the list.

A list of contributors is where you can include the names and a brief bio about the people who contributed to your blog to book project. This is not the same as the acknowledgments page although you are acknowledging the contributions of these people. A list of contributors includes relevant biographical information, like membership in certain organizations, current position demonstrating expertise in an area, academic affiliations or published works. Contributors are listed in alphabetical order by last name but written in standard order. So Henry S. Pingleton is not written Pingleton, Henry S. in the contributor list and comes before Johnny Quimby and after Yori Oliver.

If your text has a multitude of visuals including figures, diagrams, drawings, photos, charts, tables, or maps, you might want to include a list of figures, list of tables or list of illustrations.  Capitalize the figure titles in the list. Use a highly descriptive title. Table 3 is not as informative as Table of Live Birth Rates in Mexico from 1887 – 1997.

Throughout your text, the figures should be numbered in Arabic numbers consecutively as they appear.  Otherwise, you can use a chapter – number system to keep track. For instance Figure 8-2 would be the second visual in chapter 8.

In your ebook, you will hyperlink the figure title to the figure in the text. In a print book, listing the page number is sufficient.

Although most often found in fiction books, you may also want to include a list of characters in your blog to book project if it would be hard for the reader to keep track of the people and relationships in your story without a guide. You can organize the list by order of appearance or family groups or overlapping relationships, whichever would be most useful for the reader.

A reference list is found at the end of each chapter in an ebook. Here you would include all works that are cited in the chapter. This list may also be called endnotes. List the entries alphabetically unless you are using a numbered citation system in the chapter.

Assignment:

Decide if your blog to book project needs any lists. If so, make it so.

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.