Front & Back Matter: Self-Publishing Know How

The most significantly overlooked area of your self-published book is? Front matter and back matter are essential aspects to your book that you cannot afford to ignore and underappreciate. Here is an article that walks you through the layout of both and explains why these two aspects of your book are so important. I will admit that I had to go back to my first two published works and fix these areas after I realized I had done a terrible job at implementing my front and back matter. You cannot let front and back matter fall by the wayside after you have spent so much time on actually writing your book.

Writing: Front and Back Matter for Your Self-Published Book

By Jessica Bell

Book promotion expert Ben Cameron always says “writing the blurb is the hardest 100 words you’ll ever write”, and many authors are also stumped when it comes to writing the front and back matter – another task that usually falls just when you’re feeling least like writing another word, after completing your book’s final edit. Coming to the rescue today is ALLi partner member Jessica Bell, also an author and book designer, with this handy summary.
The front and back matter in a book are one of the key factors to presenting a professional and quality product. If done haphazardly, it’s a sure sign in most people’s eyes that the book content will not be up to par. So please do take these things as seriously as your story.
First I’ll explain what to include, and how to order it in a paperback. Then I will tell you how to reorder the content for your ebook.
Front matter can be subjective as it varies from book to book, but I’m going to advise you based on what I would do. The order isn’t set in stone, but it’s what I think looks the best in a paperback.
Praise for Title of Book
The amount of praise is going to differ depending on the trim size of your book, and the type and size of the font used. So if you intend to put Praise in the front matter, make sure you collect enough. You can always trim the quotes down too. If you don’t have any quotes, or don’t want to get quotes from authors or media to put here, don’t worry about it, just start with the next step.
Tip: Here’s a great article on how to get quotes for the cover of your novel on (an excellent forum for writers).
About the Author
A short biography. Speaks for itself really. Many authors put these in the back, but I think they look nice at the front in a paperback. Just write something short and sweet, and make sure you include your website URL. Don’t include the http://www, though, as it looks messy. For example, instead of, put
Also by Author Name
List all other books you’ve written under category headings, i.e. Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry. If you haven’t published before, ignore this.
Title Page 1
Your title and author name. Centred and in a large font size preferably. That’s it.
Imprint Page (aka Credit Page)
The information on this page varies with different publishers and authors, but here is a simple template for you with all the necessary information (replace the bold text with your own):
Copyright © 2015 Jessica Bell
All rights reserved.
Published by Vine Leaves Press 2015
Melbourne, Vic, Australia
No parts of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. Under no circumstances may any part of this book be photocopied for resale.
This is a work of fiction. Any similarity between the characters and situations within its pages and places or persons, living or dead, is unintentional and co-incidental. [Remove this bit if your book is nonfiction. If it’s a memoir, you may like to insert: Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.]

[Insert additional credits here, if applicable, such as permission to reprint copyrighted material.]
Note: You’ll notice that there is no ISBN included here. If you are using Createspace they will include their assigned ISBN in the barcode on the back cover (which they will also provide). However, if you are using IngramSpark and purchase your own ISBNs, do include it under All rights reserved. You can find out more information about distributors, retailers, and places to obtain ISBNs in my latest book, Self-Publish Your Book.
This can be something as simple as For John, or it could be a little more detailed and include a reason why. Some people include quotes from other authors that are symbolically relevant to their story. Whatever you do choose to put here, make sure it is centred and the only thing on the page. It’s special.

Arrange the front matter as follows and be sure to separate each one with a Page Break:
Page 1: Praise (or About the Author)
Page 2: Blank
Page 3: Also by Author Name
Page 4: Credits Page (Imprint information)
Page 5: Title page
Page 6: Blank
Page 7: Dedication
Page 8: Blank
Page 9: Start first chapter
Note: Make sure your first chapter starts on an odd-numbered page if you aren’t able to include everything in this list.
Tip: I usually make the font size of front matter a lot smaller than the main body. You will notice the same thing in traditionally published books too. My size of choice for the Praise, About the Author, and Also by Author Name sections is 10 pt, and the size for the Credits Page is either 8pt or 9pt.

There are a lot of things you can include in the back of your book.
Here are some common things:
• Acknowledgements
• Adverts for your backlist or upcoming titles
• Sample excerpts from your forthcoming titles
• A call to post a review
• A call to connect with you on your website or other social media platforms
• A suggestion to sign up to your author newsletter
• An author interview
• Book club discussion questions
There is no standard way to set any of these things out. Just be creative and do what feels right for you. However, the Acknowledgements page generally comes straight after the end of the story.
• Title page
• Dedication
• Start first chapter
Note: There is no Praise here. I believe it is useless in an eBook because most eReaders skip to the beginning of the first chapter when the book is opened. Also, the reason we need less at the front of the eBook is so that people get more story content if they download a free sample.
Back (Necessities)
• Acknowledgements
• About the Author
• Also by Author Name
• A call to connect with you on your website or other social media platforms, and/or sign up to your newsletter.
• Credits Page (Imprint information)
Back (Optional)
• A call to post a review
• Adverts for your backlist or upcoming titles
• Sample excerpts from your forthcoming titles
• An author interview
• Book club discussion questions
If your book is nonfiction or short stories it will also need a TOC (table of contents) in the front of the paperback and in the back of the eBook.
And that’s about it!


Original Article:


Write Fearlessly

About G.Edward Smith

A stranger in a strange land...
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