Including all of the necessary parts of a book and putting them in the right order is the first step to making your book credible and professional. The inside of your book, which we call the book block, is divided into three main sections: the front matter, book block text, and back matter. See a detailed explanation and breakdown of all parts of your book below, followed by a checklist to help you ensure your book includes all the necessary sections.
Front matter introduces your book to your readers. The front-matter section, which appears before the main text, comprises a few pages that include the book's title, the author's name, the copyright information and perhaps even a preface or a foreword. Use the list of common front matter pages below to identify those pages that are suitable for your book.
Half Title Page
The half title page is the first page of your book and contains your title only. This page does not include a byline or subtitle. The designer will add this to your book layout.
Series Title Page
Use the second page of your book to list any of your previously published books by title. It is customary to list the books chronologically from first to most recently published. Listing the title only is standard, but in nonfiction works, you may also list the subtitle if you feel it is essential. A common way to begin this page is, "Also by [author's name] ..."
The title page is the part of your book that shows your full book title and subtitle, your name, and any co-writer or translator. The designer will add this to your book layout, although if you have a specific idea of how you want this to look, you may include it.
The copyright page contains the copyright notice, which consists of the year of publication and the name of the copyright owner. The copyright owner is usually the author but may be an organization or corporation. This page may also list the book's publishing history, permissions, acknowledgments and disclaimers.
(Table of) Contents
A table of contents is the part of a book that is usually used only in nonfiction works that have parts and chapters. A contents page is less common in fiction works but may be used if your work includes unique chapter titles. A table of contents is never used if your chapters are numbered only (e.g., Chapter One, Chapter Two). If your book requires a contents page, please make sure it lists all the chapters or other divisions (such as poems or short stories) in your manuscript. Chapter listings must be worded exactly as they are in the book itself.
List of Illustrations
If your book includes several key illustrations that provide information or enhance the text in some way, consider creating a page that lists them. If this material is included simply for comic relief or as a visual aid, a page listing may not be necessary. Just as with the table of contents, you won't need to list the page numbers.
List of Tables
If your book includes several key tables that provide information or enhance the text in some way, consider creating a page that lists them. If this material is included simply as a visual aid, a page listing may not be necessary. Just as with the table of contents, you won't need to list the page numbers.
The foreword contains a statement about the book and is usually written by someone other than the author who is an expert or is widely known in the field of the book's topic. A foreword lends authority to your book and may increase its potential for sales. If you plan to include a foreword, please arrange to have it written and included in your submitted manuscript. A foreword is most commonly found in nonfiction works.
The preface usually describes why you wrote the book, your research methods and perhaps some acknowledgments if they have not been included in a separate section. It may also establish your qualifications and expertise as an authority in the field in which you're writing. Again, a preface is far more common in nonfiction titles and should be used only if necessary in fiction works.
An acknowledgments page includes your notes of appreciation to people who provided you with support or help during the writing process or in your writing career in general. This section may also include any credits for illustrations or excerpts if not included on the copyright page. If the information is lengthy, you may choose to put the section in the back matter before or after the bibliography.
The introduction describes something about the main text that your reader should know before proceeding to read the book. Unlike a preface, which usually addresses the qualifications of the author, an introduction refers to the main body of the work itself. For example, if there are questions at the conclusion of each chapter, here is where you might prepare the reader and give tips on how best to use them. The introduction may also describe, in more detail than a preface, the research, methods and overall concept of the book.
List of Abbreviations or Chronology
If many abbreviations are used or if a few are used frequently, a list is useful. Its location should always be given in the table of contents. Alphabetize terms by the abbreviation, not by the spelled-out form.
Your book submission is not complete unless it includes the information that goes into the back of your book, or back matter. Does your book require notes? An index? A resource list? To help you decide, we've provided the following descriptions for each of the common back matter sections.
An appendix includes any data that might help clarify the text for the reader but would have disrupted the flow of the main text had it been included in an earlier part of the book. Some items included here might be a list of references, tables, reports, background research and sources, if not extensive enough to be included in a separate section.
If your main text requires notes to amplify or document certain passages throughout the text, please arrange the notes by chapter in a notes section. Footnotes would more likely be included in the references section, described below.
A glossary comprises alphabetically arranged words and their definitions. Be sure to include one if you use terminology that is not generally known to the average reader or if you coin new words or phrases to explain your ideas.
Bibliography or References
Both the bibliography and reference sections list the sources for works used in your book. Be sure to arrange the sources alphabetically by the author's last name. For samples and guidelines on proper layout, refer to the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, or consult the notes provided by the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
List of Contributors
A list of contributors is useful for a multiauthor work where only the volume editor’s name appears on the title page. You should arrange entries alphabetically by last name, but do not invert them (“John H. Doe,” not “Doe, John H.”). If it’s necessary, you may also add brief biographical notes and academic affiliations for each entry.
The index is an alphabetically ordered list of words and terms used for referencing your text. Please keep in mind that the computer-generated keyword index that lists a page number for a key term every time it occurs in your book tends to be overly long and has no logical organization other than alphabetization. On the other hand, a professional indexer analyzes your entire book, anticipates subject items your reader will most likely want to find and lists them in an intuitive, accessible manner.
Often, readers want to buy products or join organizations in the field in which you've written. A list of organizations and associations, manufacturers and distributors, Web sites and other sources are invaluable to your readers.