So 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:
- Publisher’s name and address
- Copyright information
- Edition notice
- Date of publication
- Number of printings
- 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.
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