Front Matter is one of the last sections of a book manuscript for an author to complete. But it’s the first thing a reader sees. Before page 1, there are several items that appear in the front pages of any book. Some pages are mandatory: title, copyright, and table of contents. Others are optional, upon the discretion of the author and publisher. Every page before the first one in Chapter 1 is paginated using lower case roman numerals beginning with the Title Page is i.
Except for the Copyright Page, all sections of the front matter begin on a recto page. Verso pages are those on the left hand side of an open book; recto pages are on the right. In the body of the book manuscript, every new chapter begins on a recto page. This means if your chapter ends on an odd-numbered page, you will have one blank page between the end of the chapter and the start of the next one.
Because printed books are bound together in signatures – 32 pages constitutes a signature – the total number of book pages is always divisible by eight. This is why you often find blank pages or additional front matter at the beginning or end of a book.
Title Page – [required] The title and author’s name and appears centered on the page. This is always the first printed page.
Copyright Page – [required] This page contains copyright information (title, subtitle, author, publisher, date of publication, subject headings, Library of Congress and/or Dewey decimal designation, ISBN number, and Library of Congress Cataloging Information).
Dedication Page -[optional] A personal consecration by the author appears on a single page, centered.
Epigraph – [optional] A quote or saying to suggest the theme of the book.
Foreword – [optional] A short essay typically written by someone other than the author. An opening statement by a well-known author or expert lends credibility and a stamp of approval.
Preface – [optional] Written by the author, a Preface explains to the reader why the author wrote the book or how they came to write it. It is an essay written about the writing of the book.
Author’s Introduction – [optional] Provides an overview of what will be covered in the book. Sometimes it establishes definitions or methodologies that are used throughout the book. This short essay should convey to a reader how to use this book.
Note to Readers or Author’s Note – [optional] Inform your readers at the outset of what they need to know about how to read what you have written. It may involve an explanation of how the author attributes sources, took literary liberties, referenced materials, or organized the content.
Prologue – The story before the story is offered to a reader to establish setting and provides necessary background information.
Acknowledgements – This is the opportunity for an author to acknowledge those who contributed to your publication efforts and show your appreciation for their assistance and support. Some put the Acknowledgements before the Table of Contents and others put it after. Or it may appear in the back matter.
Table of Contents – This outline of chapters usually is the last item of front matter before page 1 of the manuscript. Pagination is included.
The preparation of front matter is the author’s responsibility when submitting the final digital version of a manuscript for publication.
Next Friday, find out what goes into the back matter of a book.