The Order of a Book
I recently had a self-published author contact me about how to do book signings in his local city. He had reached out to several locally owned Mom-and-Pop bookstores, as well as to a local Barnes and Noble. Each one had turned him down and he couldn’t figure out why. He sent me a PDF of his book, and I immediately listed at least 6 reasons why his book was not “professional” enough to be in any bookstore.
There are several ways to prevent your book from looking self-published. One is to follow the traditional order of book content. Familiarize yourself with “Front Matter” and “Back Matter” and know when to use each element (or not). Front Matter is everything in FRONT of your first chapter. Back Matter is everything behind your BACK (or LAST) chapter.
Here’s a quick guide to help . . .
Endorsements/Testimonials: Promotional statement by someone recommending a book, often found on the dust cover or near the front of the book.
Title Page: Odd-numbered right-hand (or “recto”) page that lists the book’s title, subtitle, author’s name, publishers, and city where it was published.
Verso Page/Copyright Page: A page toward the front of the book which indicates that the book is protected by copyright and that permission must be obtained to reproduce all or part of the book. Typically, this page also includes cataloging data for libraries.
Dedication: An author’s statement of appreciation or compliments to a specific person or group of people to whom the book is dedicated.
Acknowledgements (you have the option to place in either the front- or back-matter): Recognition or honor given to people who have influenced the book being published or who have made a difference in the life of the author. (Can also go at the back of the book, behind the author’s bio in non-fiction books.)
Epigraph: A short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme.
Table of Contents: A listing of the topics covered in the book as arranged by chapter and/or section, including the corresponding page numbers.
List of Illustrations: May be subdivided into types of illustrations, such as figures, illustrations, maps, etc.
List of Tables: Including genealogical charts and family trees.
Foreword: An introduction to a book, usually written by someone other than the author of the book.
Preface: Introductory section of a book, usually written by the author. May contain information on why the book was written or how to use the book.
Introduction: To provide a framework for what’s to follow — the hooks on which to hang the pegs of story details.
Body of the Book:
Main Text: The text forming the main content of a book.
Epilogue : A section of a book that serves as a comment on or a conclusion to what has happened.
Afterword: Closing remarks on the topic of the book or the process of writing the book. This material can be written by someone other than the author.
Conclusion: The final part of the book.
Author Bio and Contact Info – Personal information and accomplishments of the author and/or illustrator. Can also include contact info (social media, email address).
Appendix: Supplementary information at the end of a book, which can include tables and statistical information.
Endnotes: A place for notes at the back of the book, used instead of footnotes or chapter endnotes.
Chapter Endnotes: A place for notes at the back of the chapter, used instead of footnotes or endnotes.
Footnotes: A short bit of extra information that’s printed at the bottom of a book’s page, used instead of endnotes or chapter endnotes. Some footnotes cite the authors and titles of the sources the author consulted while researching and writing.
Glossary: A list of terms and definitions specifically pertaining to the subject of the book.
Bibliography: A list of books or articles cited as resources by the author.
List of Contributors or Acknowledgements: Recognition or honor given to people who have influenced the book being published or who have made a difference in the life of the author.
Index: An alphabetical listing of specific topics and key words in a book (especially names, places, and events) and the pages on which they are mentioned.
If you are still looking for guidance on how to publish your book so it DOES NOT LOOK self-published, reach out . . . give us a call at 888-598-0886, or email [email protected].
After all, it’s our job to make you look like the experienced professional expert that you ARE!