What’s the “Matter”?

whatsthematterA book–regardless of ebook or print–is divided into three main sections.

  1. Front Matter
  2. Body of the Book
  3. Back Matter

Until you publish, you concentrate primarily on the body of the book–the manuscript, which becomes the body of the book. When you’re getting ready to publish is when  you get to start worrying about the front and back matter.

You will find that different publishers (traditional and indie) are very consistent with certain elements. For example, the title page is always front matter. But publishers are also inconsistent with certain elements. For example, the author’s acknowledgments might show up in the front matter OR the back matter.

As a self-published author, when deciding what to include in your front/back matter, we recommend you open up a couple of the print books and eBooks in your genre, from several different publishers, and see how they do it (what they  include, what order, etc.). Decide what you like best and borrow with pride.

To get you started we have a quick list with recommendations for both. Let’s examine the different elements that you could put in the front and back matter below.


Title Page

Should include the title of the book, subtitle (if any), series name (if any), and author’s name. Some traditional publishers include the publishing house on this page.


A short (one page) excerpt from the book. Make it one which will hook a reader. Often placed before the title page.

Praise for the Author

Include early praise from ARC readers if you have it. Or, include praise for any similar books such as the same genre or series. Also, a good page to include any awards or other accolades.

Copyright Page

Tecnically the only elements required are the copyright symbol, your pen name, and the year. However, publishers may also include things like disclaimers, cover designer, editor, ISBN #, and more.


Could just be a name, or you might write a paragraph. Author’s perogative.

Table of Contents



There are other elements which are more common to non-fiction, but we wanted to list them for your information:

  • List of Tables
  • List of Figures
  • Forward
  • Preface
  • Introduction


Author Acknowledgements

Your chance to thank all those folks who helped and supported you through the process.

Author Biography

Info about you, the author. Usually a good place to include links to where to follow you. Remember to type them out so they show properly in the print version!

Marketing Blurb

A blurb hyping up your next book. A list of available books. A list of where to follow you. You name it.

Excerpts from Upcoming Titles

If you’ve got an excerpt available for an upcoming release–especially for the same series–always good to include!


There are other mostly marketing related things you can put in the back, which I wanted to list for your information:

  • Call to Post a Review
  • Call to sign up for your newsletter
  • Call to connect with the author via social media
  • Book Club Questions


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