Deciding on Front Matter for your novel
This post is the forty-second in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.
Now that your cover and book description are complete, it is time to think about what else you want to include in your book because you need to include more than just your story. Everything that goes before your story is called the Front Matter.
It comprises at a minimum the book’s title and copyright information, but can include other things such as a preface, dedication, or table of contents.
What you include is up to you but don’t want to have a lot of front matter as this is just more pages your reader has to flip/scroll through to reach the start of your book. Also, if you put in too much at the front, it will decrease the number of pages your reader can download or view online as part of a sample of your book.
Title Page (*a must)
This page is pretty obvious. You list the title of your book (and series) and who wrote it. This looks best if you center it.
Book Two of The Elemental
By Susan Leigh Noble
Copyright Page (*a must)
On the copyright page, you list the copyright notice which will contain the name of the copyright owner and the publication year. This page may also list the permissions and disclaimers. Keep the information to this page to a minimum.
Here is the copyright page from Quietus.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination. Any resemblances to persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2011 by Susan Leigh Noble
Published by Susan Leigh Noble
Cover design by Donna Casey (www.digitaldonna.com)
Photos used to create the cover were obtained from dreamtime.com.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or retransmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system — except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a magazine, newspaper, or on the web — without expressed written permission from Susan Leigh Noble.
If you would like to dedicate your book to someone, it is done in the front of the book. It is located after the copyright page but before any table of contents or start of the actual book. Again, keep this short – one or two people.
My dedication from Summoned:
To my husband,
Without you, this book would not exist.
Acknowledgments are to thank those people who have helped in the creation of your novel – the police officer you interviewed, your editor, your spouse for their support and so on.
List of other books (optional)
This is where you list other books that you have written. This can be listed in the front OR the back of the book. I personally like it at the back of the book when publishing an e-book.
Here is what could be listed in the third book of my trilogy.
Discover other titles by Susan Leigh Noble
The Search (short story prequel to The Elemental trilogy)
Summoned: Book 1 of The Elemental
Quietus: Book 2 of The Elemental
This piece written by the author often tells why the book was written, your research methods and perhaps some acknowledgements if they are not listed separately. This is more common in non-fiction.
This is a short piece written by someone other than the author and may provide a context for the main work. If this is a work of non-fiction, a forward by an expert can lend authority to your book. The forward is usually signed with its author’s name, place and date.
Table of Contents (optional)
A table of contents (TOC) is most often added to non-fiction books. It also could be used for a collection of stories whether an anthology, short stories or a “box set” of your trilogy to aid the reader in finding the story or section they want to read.
Now whether your fiction book needs a TOC is a matter of preference. Some authors and readers prefer a TOC. If you have given names to each of your chapter, a TOC might make more sense. Otherwise it will be just a list of chapters (Chapter One, Chapter Two and so on.) If you do include a TOC, it should be right before your first chapter or prologue.
Next week we will look at Back Matter which is all the stuff that comes after your story.