What is Front Matter Anyway?


Self-Publishing Basics: How to Organize Your Book’s

Many writers who think about self-publishing are taken aback when they start to put their book together for publication. It’s one thing to work on a manuscript, sometimes for years, getting the ideas right, the words to flow, the overall thematic arc to shine through for attentive readers.
But how do you turn that manuscript into a book? After all, there are lots of things in books that you’ll never see in a manuscript. Things like running heads, page numbers, half-title pages, indexes… stuff like that.
And the part of a book that most confuses new independent authors, in my experience, is the front matter.
What is Front Matter Anyway?
Books are divided into three basic parts:
1. front matter
2. body of the book
3. back matter
What you’ve been working on, the manuscript you’ve sweated and struggled over, will form the body of the book.
Back matter is reserved for things like an index, a glossary, notes and other material that doesn’t belong in the body of the book itself, but which you’d want to include for the convenience of readers or to make the book complete.
That leaves the front matter. Here are the elements you can find in the front matter of books, and a brief description of each. You probably won’t include all of these, but pick and choose which work best for your unique title.
· Half title—This page contains only the title of the book and is typically the first page you see when opening the cover. This page and its verso (the back, or left-hand reverse of the page) are often eliminated in an attempt to control the length of the finished book.
· Frontispiece—An illustration on the verso facing the title page.
· Title page—Announces the title, subtitle, author and publisher of the book. Other information that may be found on the title page can include the publisher’s location, the year of publication, or descriptive text about the book. Illustrations are also common on title pages.

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