Authors often forget about their book front matter until the last minute. Don’t let that happen to you! You need to allow plenty of time to collect some of the data needed on these first several pages, particularly on your copyright page.
In this excerpt from Book Design Made Simple, we offer a list of possible book front matter pages and their proper order.
Book front matter includes some or all of these pages
- half title includes just the book title
- title page (mandatory) includes the book title, subtitle, author’s name, and (optional) publisher’s company, city, and logo
- copyright page (mandatory)
- quote or epigraph
- contents (table of contents)
- list of illustrations
- foreword (written by someone other than the author)
- preface (written by the author)
- acknowledgments (or they can go at the back of the book)
There are only two pages you must include in your front matter: a title page and a copyright page. The title page must go on a recto page, and the copyright page must go on the verso page immediately following the title page (in other words, the copyright page is printed on the back of the title page).
All other pages in the front matter are optional. The usual order of the front matter is shown above. It’s customary to begin each new item on a recto page (which may cause a few blank verso pages), or you may choose not to start each new item on a recto page, and that’s fine too. You may decide that a Contents requiring two pages looks nicer on a spread. You’ll see what suits your book when the time comes.
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