Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Publishing as a Second Language: Front Matter and Back Matter—Does It Really Matter?

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

Once you finish the body of your manuscript, it’s time to add the extras. Most books will include endorsements, acknowledgements, dedication, table of contents, bio of the author or authors, previous books by the same author or authors, a Q & A with the author, a chapter of the next book. Some people include a preface, prologue, or forward. It is not necessary to have all of these, but they are all possibilities. 

What to Include
Endorsements are often at the very front of the book. Make sure to include some people who are some way connected to the subject of your book. The purpose of your endorsements is to entice others to buy and read your book. 

Your preface, prologue, and foreword usually go right before your manuscript begins. 

Acknowledgements thank those who have been especially helpful in the process of developing your book. 

Dedications are saved for those who you want to give special recognition. This may be a family member or a special friend.

Table of Contents provides a listing of the chapters in the book.

Bio of the author gives the reader more information about the author and hopefully provides new connecting points. Provide pertinent information but also include a fun fact or two that will bring the reader into your world and be memorable. This is different from the short bio that you find on the back cover of the book.

A page with your previous books lets your readers know what you have written before. 

A question-and-answer section is another way for your readers get to know more about you. Answer questions they might have that will support the message of your book.

If you are writing a fiction series, you may want to include a prologue or first chapter of your next book. This will help readers look forward to the next book.

Many books arrange their front and back matter a little differently and not all books include every item mentioned. In my last book, endorsements were first followed by the dedication and table of contents. The back matter began with the acknowledgements, a resource page, our bios. (This was a coauthored book with Linda Goldfarb, LINKED for Couples.) A page of other LINKED books in the series. We included an appendix for the Q & A and the assessment key to our personality assessment. If you have discussion questions, they will work best here.

This arrangement is a little different from some I have used. Sometimes the author has a preference as to where things go. Sometimes the publisher has a certain format they like to follow. Include items that will make your writing memorable and more valuable to your readers.

Does this really matter? Yes! You are sharing more of yourself with your readers and making new friends and fans as you go.


Linda Gilden is an award-winning writer, speaker, editor, certified writing and speaking coach, and personality consultant. Her passion is helping others discover the joy of communicating with excellence. In the midst of all the busyness, Linda’s favorite activity is floating in a pool with a good book surrounded by splashing grandchildren—a great source of writing material!

1 comment:

  1. Linda, thanks for the refresher course on the purpose of all these parts of a book. It does help dispel the confusion. Blessings!