Thursday, 15 October 2015

35 Day Blog Challenge – Day 33: Does the Front Matter?

Photograph by Linzé
The front matter in a book is everything listed before the book starts at Chapter 1, excluding the cover. We will look at print books and ebooks separately since the front matter of these are not exactly the same.
Let’s start with the ever popular ebook. The first virtual page after the cover deals with copyright, publication info and details about the book itself: the title and the name of the author.
There is usually also a space to mention other books or a link to other books by the same author. This link is useful for your reader to see that there are more books on offer if he or she likes your book. If you added a link, make sure it is working correctly and the link takes the reader directly to a place where the books are. People don’t have the time or patience to go around clicking to find something they thought would be there at the first click.
Then follows the Table of Contents (ToC) with links to each chapter and the all important About the Author details. Your reader can skip things like a Dedication page, or Note from the Author at the start, and click the link to get reading immediately.
Make sure the links are all there, in case your reader are interested and would like to read your dedications or notes too. If you are using these pages, make sure they are spell and grammar checked. Just because they are not part of the story, doesn’t mean that they are not also a showcase for your writing.
In a printed book, there is an extra page in the front that usually only contains the title, the author’s name and the publisher’s name at the bottom of the page. This is the page where you as the author will autograph the book for a reader.
Printed fiction books do not have a ToC for a single story. Multiple stories published in a single book could have a ToC, but that is not a rule with all publishers.
Of course, printed books cannot have active links to other books by the same author, but it could be listed if it is not too long. Usually, a printed list of other books by the same author is included as part of the front matter, for information.
Often this list is accompanied by short reviews of each book to inform the reader on what other people thought about the stories, and tickle their interest in purchasing those books as well.
You can do the same for an ebook, but add a link in the ToC to Reviews so that the reader has a choice to skip them.

Tomorrow we will have a look at the Back Matter.