It may seem that readers skip on the first pages of the book but that doesn’t mean that authors should cut corners on that. The front pages, commonly known as the “front matter” of the book, should be well-organized. A well-organized front matter can give a positive impression to the readers. Organizing the front matter should not be a difficult task to authors and publishers nowadays. Aside from available tutorials online, Paperclips Magazine also provides you with a guide to organizing a manuscript.

Overview of the “Front Matter”

When it comes to books, whatever you find inside it can be divided into three basic parts. They are as follows:

  • Front matter
  • Body of the book
  • Back matter

What you’ve written – basically, the manuscript – is considered to be the body of the book. The back matter, on the other hand, is the space allocated for the index, glossary, and other materials.

Parts of the Front Matter

The front matter is composed of several elements. Here are the elements that you would mostly find as parts of the front matter as well as a brief description of each of them:

Half title. This is a page in the book that contains the title, typically the first one the readers see upon opening the cover.

Frontispiece. This refers to the illustration facing the title page of the book.

Title page. With this page, the readers get to read the title, subtitle, book publisher, and author. Readers can also read other information such as the publisher’s main office, short book description, and publication year.

Copyright page. In this page, readers get to read the edition information, copyright notice, cataloging data, publication information, legal notices, identification number, or the ISBN. There may also be details for the credits for the production, design, illustration, and editing.

Dedication. Not all books have a dedication page. But if there is one, it will always be right after the copyright page.

Epigraph. There are times when the author wants to include a short quotation that has an impact on the book. This should be in the epigraph page and should be placed near the front of the book.

Table of Contents. This is the listing of all the major chapters/divisions of the book. Proper listing can help the readers navigate the book with ease.

List of Figures. For books that has a lot of figures and illustrations, it can be helpful for the readers to have a list of all of them in one place. This is the purpose of this page.

List of Tables. This page is a highly recommended addition if your book has numerous tables included.

Foreword. This refers tot he short piece that is written to provide the context of the main work. This piece is written by someone other than the author.

Preface. This one is written by the author. The author will tell you through this page how the masterpiece came into being.

Acknowledgements. There is a page dedicated for the author to express his or her gratitude for any individual/company/entity that provided help in the creation of the book.

Introduction. With the introduction page, the author explains the objectives, goals, and purpose of the book.

Prologue. This sets the scene for the book and prepares the readers for the actual story itself. Readers can mostly read prologues in fiction books.