It’s important to know that there’s a set order in the elements that make up a book. Books have standards that one should follow in order to have them published via the traditional or self-publishing route.
You’ll need to prepare the different parts of a book in an acceptable structure. The basic anatomy of a book is as follows- the Front Matter, the Body Matter, and the End or Back Matter.
- Front Matter is put before readers get access to the core content of your book.
- Body Matter is the core content of your book.
- End or Back Matter may contain optional content or materials, all of which may be optional.
Order Of The Parts Of A Book
The Front, Body, and End Matter make up the “essential bits” of an official book recognized by publishers around the world. Each of the following major elements may be made up of its smaller components, which are as follows:
Front Matter should be included in all books. This is the part where the author puts some preliminaries before the actual book content is revealed, and where the book’s nuts and bolts and publication details such as the ISBN, publisher name, author name, and Library of Congress are contained.
Typically, the front matter has about nine different parts, but it should be noted that not all books must have nine parts. The first three elements are the Half Title, the Frontispiece, and the Title Page. Then, a Copyright page takes form, and a Table Of Contents is added in if it’s necessary.
Pages that make up the Front Matter are counted but they aren’t numbered (you can see this when you look at the Copyright or Title page). If the publisher decides to put in a track of some sort, then they’ll number it with Roman numerals.
The Half Title Page (Optional).
- The Half Title part is shown after the cover of your book, and this reveals the title of the book. This section got its name as your title will be printed right in the middle, or the “halfway point” in the page.
The Blank , Ad Card, or Other Works (optional).
- The Other Works page shows other books written by the author, or if the book is part of a series.
The Frontispiece (Optional).
- The Frontispiece may be placed on the left-hand side of the book’s page after the half-title and usually contains a picture or an image. Frontispieces are usually employed in fiction books as they call up a scene in the story. The artwork will be shown on the left page (known as Verso), directly opposite the right page that has the Title (known as Recto).
The Title Page.
- Your Title Page should show the full title of your book, along with subtitles, the author’s name, and any affiliations, i.e., publishers or the company who printed your book. Title pages are normally put on the recto side, facing the Frontispiece.
Copyright is an essential part of any book. This part of the book will outline legal information about who has the rights to the content contained in the book. The Declaration of Copyright will state the name of the person(s) who own the book’s content (the author). Additionally, this is the part where the author gives credit to illustrators, indexers, and the editorial staff who have helped illustrate, edit or publish the book.
The Copyright may have copyright acknowledgments and publisher notes if the author has made some mentions of references, i.e., excerpts, quotes, song lyrics, and reprinted material.
The book’s edition can be found at the Copyright page. You’ll be able to see the Edition Number and Printing details, i.e., if the book is listed as First Edition, then it means that it’s the first time that that particular content was published and made into a book. This is optional, as authors and publishers may or may not disclose the fact that the content is in First Edition. In other cases, the Edition Number may be a graphical representation, and a First Edition can be shown as 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 in the Copyright page, while a Second Edition can be shown as 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2.
If the book was published in the United States, then it will contain a Library of Congress Catalog Number.
Copyright Acknowledgments (If not at Back Matter). This is mainly for books that have permission or reprinted material. Authors must cite their sources and give credit to extracts from books, artwork or song lyrics.
This page shows you who the author wrote the content for. The writer honors a special individual or a group of people, usually writing “To (Name of Close Friends, Loved Ones or Colleagues).
Epigraph (Optional and If not in Body Matter).
Is an inspiration or summarizing concept phrase, poem or quotation.
The Table Of Contents
One of the most recognized and vital parts of any book, the Table Of Contents serve the main purpose of outlying the map for the reader. This Front Matter section shows the reader what’s included in the book, i.e., the chapters, the sections and headings and part listings where appropriate. Textbook and non-fictions normally list the primary heads per chapter, which is called 1-heads or A-heads.
The Foreword is a preliminary setup for the book, written by a colleague, a field expert or someone who has written similar content. Forewords mostly serve as a marketing ploy where an eminent or well-established author gives the writer added credibility when pitching the book to shops and stores.
May contain the following elements:
- The Editor’s Preface
- The Author’s Preface
- The Forward, Preface and Acknowledgments
A Preface is a part of the book where the author explains why he or she wrote the book and how the content came to be. Prefaces may be used to solidify an author’s credibility to the subject matter on hand by sharing professional indications or experiences they used to create the said book.
Forewords and Prefaces
Forewords and Prefaces are optional parts in a book and may come in separate pages in the Front Matter, labeled with Roman numerals i, ii, iii, etc. beginning with the opening page leading to the Body Matter.
Acknowledgments (Optional, can be part of the book’s Preface)
Acknowledgments are a Front Matter section where the author gives thanks to people who gave their talent, resources and time in relation to completing the book. Individuals who helped the writer or gave him or her inspiration may be cited here as well.
Most acknowledgments are placed in the Back Matter to preserve interest. Prefaces can contain both Old and New content, and if this happens, the New Preface is listed first.
The Introduction section reveals the contents of the material. The author can choose to simply show what’s covered in the book or go to great lengths in setting the book’s tone by establishing preferred methodologies and definitions that the reader should follow once they get to the body.
Writers of scholarly fields can use an Introduction as a guide to readers within their own profession on how the book should be consumed (within or as part of a discipline).
Other Parts of the Front Matter
List of Illustrations (Optional).
This part can be divided into different types such as maps, figures, etc.
List of Tables (Optional).
May include family trees or genealogical parts for reference. Placement may either be on the front or at the end.
Abbreviations (Optional, or in the Back Matter)
Chronology (Optional, or in the Back Matter)
Contains a list of events that help the reader.
Body Matter should consist of the core content, sometimes referred to as the Core content. Core content may be divided into their respective sub-fields called Chapters. Authors may divide bigger pieces of core content by using Parts, then Sections and finally Chapters, and in that order.
Introduction (Optional and if important to the succeeding text).
In many books, the core content will have an introduction.
Most commonly found in plays but are quite rare in non-fiction genres. Novels can contain lengthy prologues before the actual story begins.
Prologues show events, scenes or acts that precede the main content in the book. It could serve as a transitional act to the main act on hand; it can also start in the midst of a hectic turn of events. Writers can create prologues that serve as pivotal moments. One rule of having a prologue is that if the author has included a prologue, then the book should have an epilogue as well.
Epigraph (Optional, on the Copyright page, Title or Chapter Titles).
This part may contain poem excerpts, short quotations, and phrases that set the tone and the atmosphere of the book.
Core Content or Body of Book
The Core Content or body of the book is the core writing and content of a book and may be segmented with Parts, Sections, and Chapters.
Parts, Sections, and Chapters
Parts, Sections, and Chapters serve as breaks that divide up the book’s content by topic. For the reader, these elements make for the digestible division of content.
Body Matter is divided by Arabic numerals starting with Number 1 at the first page of Chapter 1. Each chapter will have its own headings which are about 2-3 levels deep. Chapters that have similar content are usually grouped under a Section or Part. Sections may contain several Chapters that have relations with each other. Parts will have Sections that contain related content. When authors organize their manuscripts, they must have a loose outline from where they can arrange the ideas and writings to guide the reader seamlessly from start to end.
Epilogue (More common in plays and fiction books)
Epilogues are the closing stories in fiction books. They can serve as the final chapter and reveal what happened after the core content has concluded. Here, the author can tie up loose ends or hint at the next story or sequel.
This part can include comments that provide additional insight into the book’s events. Readers may want to know what happened after the story concluded. Authors can throw a sort of follow-up into the Epilogue to satisfy their readers or leave them wanting more.
A short note on how the book came to be or how the story was written based on an idea.
Additional information about the content after the story ends.
The author sums up the concept and the ideas presented in the book. Found in non-fiction genre more than fictional ones.
End-Matter / Back-Matter
End Matter is content that can be found after the main content. All Back-Matter content is Optional. Some books may have the following Back Matter:
Contains a list of terms that were used in the book. The terms are arranged in alphabetical order and given meanings or definitions to help the reader. Glossary entries may be characters or places and are best suited for long-form fiction.
Bibliography or Reference List
Non-fiction books can put a Bibliography at the Back Matter to state the sources used in the completion of the book.
This part lists all major references that were used in the book, including major topics and key influences, and shows on what page they could be found.
Acknowledgments (Before or After the Bibliography part, which may have additional credits)
Appendices or Addendum. Extra or updated information can be found within the Body.
Chronology (If not placed at the Front Matter).
Contains a list of events that help the reader. This part is sometimes added to the Appendix.
Notes or Endnotes.
Material that’s organized per chapter and presented in a progressive manner throughout the stage of book writing.
Abbreviations (If not found at the Front Matter)
List Of Contributors.
People who have helped the author in creating and finishing the book.
Illustration Credits (If not located in Captions).
Generally, a notice of correction to previously published content.
Notes regarding general information, typography, or design in regard to book production.
About the author and, usually, found at the back flap or the last page of the book. Here, any blacklist or upcoming titles are mentioned. May also have a call to action to visit the author’s social network or website.