Including Front and Back Matter In Your Book

Front and back matter is extremely important to a book - why? Because you want your book to look professional. Look at any traditionally published book and notice that they all have title pages, copyright as well as acknowledgements. In this article, we'll explore the different types of front and back matter, where they can go and how to insert and format your front and back matter.

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What is front and back matter?

Front and back matter are the components that do not represent your story/novel and are merely there for visual, promotional or informative purposes. There are some aspects of front matter that are compulsory, such as your copyright information, and others that are good to include, such as acknowledgements

What types of front and back matter are there?

There are many different types of front and back matter, here's a list:

  • Title page (front) - I would consider this as mandatory, at least it is in traditional publishing. A title page is what it says, a page with the title of your book. Some books have these designed in beautiful, illustrated pages however it's more common to just have your title on the page without any illustrations. Make sure you're using the same font that you've used on the cover here. Essentially the title on this page should be the exact same (same font and positioning) on the front cover.

  • Copyright (front) - Technically this isn't set-in-stone mandatory, but it should be. Although your work is copyrighted from the moment you create it, it's best to still let the reader know that as this discourages infringement. Not only that, but your ISBN's are how others can search for your book online, or how librarians/book retailers can find other editions of your book.

  • Dedications (front) - Dedications are in most books, as writing your book for someone else is incredibly rewarding and is incredibly special to the person you wrote the book for. Your dedication is not where you thank those who helped, this is in the acknowledgements, and should instead be a line or two with names of who you are dedicating the book to. Your book doesn't even have to be dedicated to someone you know personally. When I wrote Cloaked Shadows, I dedicated the book to my younger self, as this was my debut novel and something that I had dreamed of completing as a child.

  • Map (front) - Common in fantasy novels, a map is great for providing a visual to your readers.Visuals are incredibly important in books, which is why I prioritise this. Visuals help your reader imagine the world easier and help them feel more involved in your world. Visuals can help turn a reader into a dedicated fan. For example, I wanted sigils for each Class of Magic in the Cloaked Shadows duology to help readers feel dedicated to this world. Users could 'collect them all' and this helped my users feel dedicated to the book as they had merchandise for it. I spend at least five minutes looking at the map when I order a book, and it gets me even more excited to read the book.

  • Character drawings (front or back) - With the same ideas mentioned above, one way to increase a books visualisation is to have character drawings made. This not only helps the readers to visualise the characters, but it also gives them something to work from if they wanted to draw their own versions of your characters. In the same way, it also prompts them to draw their own versions of your characters.

  • Information relating to your story (front or back) - This could be anything from army formations to magical ranks. At the start of Leigh Bardugo's Grisha books, she lists the different types of magical orders, which is common in fantasy.

  • Glossary (back) - Glossaries are helpful for books that use languages that are made up, or not a native language and serves as a reminder when a reader comes across a word later on in the story that they may have forgotten the meaning to.

  • Pronunciation guide (front or back) - It can difficult for readers to feel immersed in the story if character and place names are incredibly difficult to pronounce. To get past this, provide a pronunciation guide to help.

  • Bonus material (back) - I love bonus material and always try and include something in my books. This could be excerpts or chapters from the next book in the series, author Q&A, letters, behind the scenes, author note or anything else, be creative!

  • Acknowledgements (back) - Another common piece to include in your book is an acknowledgement section. Writing your book wouldn't have been easy, and there may have been people who helped support you whether it's your family, friends, publisher, editor, marketing team, designer, beta readers or launch team.

  • About the author (back) - This is great to have at the back of your book and gives the reader insight into who you are as an author. You can include things such as when you first started writing, where you live (country or town), hobbies, favourite books and more.

  • Promotional pages (back) - I would suggest limiting these to only one or two pages, as you don't want to bombard the reader. If your next book is available to preorder, you can add this in, or maybe you have a writing or book club that others can join, or a book blog.

  • Social media share (back) - I like to include my social share on the 'about the author' page, but you can have this as its own separate page if you'd like.

Things to note

Here are a few things worth mentioning:

  • Front and back matter should not have page numbers on them. In word, to add a page without a page number, have your cursor at the end of your page, then go to Layout - Breaks - Next Page.

  • Typically, the order for front matter would be title page first (on the right side of the page), then copyright (on the left side of the page), then dedication. Anything else you want to include in the front of your book should go after this, always remember that typically the first page of your story (chapter one or prologue) commonly starts on the right-side of the page.

  • Typically, the order for back matter would be bonus material first, then acknowledgements, then about the author. Anything else you want to include should go after this.