Anatomy of a Book

If you’re publishing print and ebook, what do you have to include outside of the actual book content? It’s called front matter and back matter, and here’s a list of things you can (and in some cases, should) include.

PRINT

Front matter is everything that comes before Chapter 1. So here’s a list of things you may find in a print book front matter. The requirements? The copyright page. Anything else you can play fast and loose with.

Title Page – So the title page contains (wait for it … ) the title of your book. Hardcovers often include two title pages – one with just the book title and the second with the book title, author name and imprint/publisher logo and/or name. Paperbacks may also do the double title pages, but it’s more common to see a single one.

Copyright – The copyright page often resides on the back of the title page. It will contain information on the publisher (name, address etc), copyright year, and often the Cataloguing in Publication data block (something self publishers will not be able to get). Fiction books usually have a “this book is a work of fiction” disclaimer as well.

Sin City’s copyright page with disclaimer. I use a very simple copyright page and credit my cover designer/photographer.

Dedication – If you’re dedicating your book, it should appear in the front matter in italics.

Other Books By – It’s often on the back of the Dedication page. If a dedication isn’t being used, you can include it in the back matter or as part of the copyright page. You can also do it as a separate page with a blank reverse.

Author’s Notes – If you have to warn your reader about anything or explain something, this is the place to do it. It may include explaining about historical portrayals (like language that is considered racist now, but was the polite usage then), recapping a previous book that affects this one or anything you need your reader to know before they start reading.

That’s it! Next up is Chapter 1. You make your way through the book and hit The End … then what? The back matter, that’s what.

Acknowledgements – The place where you can thank your editor, agent, beta readers, proofreader, cover designer, cat, dog, family etc. Anyone who helped you with your book. I, personally, LOVE this section. I don’t know why, but I always read them.

Book Sample – Include a sample of your next book. Usually a chapter or part of a chapter. This is usually done most often with series books.

Author Bio – Hardcovers often put this on the book flap, but paperbacks will have it in the back matter. You may or may not include a photo. Many readers love to know something about who wrote the book they just finished.

Resources – If your book deals with heavy issues, you may want to give out a list of resources for readers. For example, a book dealing with rape may want to list some organizations that help rape survivors. This is seen most often in young adult books.

Other Books By – Another place you can list your other books. You can also list ways to contact you or a mailing list link.

EBOOK

In general ebooks contain all of the same information as print books. But there are a few differences in ebooks, primarily:

Table of Contents – Ebooks are required to have a clickable/tappable ToC that will take readers to each chapter/section of your book. Many ebooks include them at the front AND the back for ease of navigation.

Metadata – You won’t see this in the ebook, but embedded in the epub file is metadata – information on the book, sort of like the print cataloguing in publication block. It will have the title, author name, categories for shelving, publisher, series info, a summary etc. Programs like Calibre and Sigil will allow you to edit the epub to include metadata.

My best advice is to find a book you like a mimic the layout. Make sure the pages fall on the correct side in print books. Title pages are always on the right hand side, copyright the left, and Chapter 1 always begins on a right hand page. Laying it out like published books you see will make your self published book look more professional.

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