The DNA of a Manuscript: Part I Front Matter

alphabets-2518268_1920So you wrote  a book and now you have a manuscript. You are all done, right? Let me guess, you want  to turn it over to your publisher, your designer, your editor or whoever needs to get it, in order to move forward with the project.  Before you can move forward,  don’t forget the front matter that has to be present in your book .

What is front matter?

The front matter of a book is the first part of the book that precedes the content of the actual book.  It is usually the  smallest  portion of the book and it can also be called preliminary matter.   The front matter can be a single page or it can  multiple pages.  You’ll  notice that the page numbers used to number the front matter will be Roman numeral. Roman numerals signify the front matter of the book. The following elements make up the front matter: title page,  foreword,  dedication and much more. Let’s take a look at  and define some examples of the front matter.

Examples of front matter

  • Half title page: A half title is  the first page you see when you open the book. It houses the title only, not the subtitle, nor the author.
  • Title Page – The title page houses the name of the book, and author’s name as it appears on the cover and the spine.
  • Copyright (Legal) page(s):  I like to call this page  the “legal page” because there is so much  that has to be present on this page. It must have a the full title and subtitle  of the book , name of the author  and name of illustrator. Some of those legal items that should be present on this page are:
    1. Publisher’s name and address
    2. Copyright information
    3. ISBN
    4. LCCN
    5. Edition notice
    6. Date of publication
    7. Number of printings
    8. Disclaimers
    9. Warranties
    10. Safety notices
  • Dedication page:  A dedication page will not always be present. This page exists if the book was written for an  individual, a group or a specific audience. I always dedicate my books to my family,  friends and the prospective audience.
  • Epigraph: An epigraph is  usually a quote or poem that the author included. It may or may not have anything to do with  the book’s content.
  • Table of Contents:  The table of contents is  simply a guide or listing of the information in the book. It will list chapters, parts or sections. They can be simple or very detailed.
  • Foreword: The foreword is short writing piece written by someone other than the author.  It often explains the relationship between the writer of the foreword and the author or the content being delivered in the book.
  • Preface: A preface is an introduction  to the book, written by the author and tells how the book came to be.
  • Acknowledgements: Acknowledgements written by the author acknowledges who helped him/her with the project.

Those are basic front matter elements. In some instances, depending on the book type,  the front matter can also include a list of the figures, illustrations, tables or abbreviations.

An author does not need to be concerned with  the title or legal page those, as those will be written by the publisher. The author chooses which of the other  elements to include in the manuscript.

If you need help with the process please contact us. We offer  publishing solutions that can help you in your endeavors. alphabets-2518268_1920



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s