Parts of a Book: The Essential Elements for a Bestseller
Looking into the right design for your book can be one of the toughest parts of self-publishing. You don’t know if you can trust your creative ideas or rely on a professional’s suggestions.
Book design includes the graphic design of the front and back cover and the book layout and typographic design of every page link within your book. Every element needs to come together in synchrony so that your book feels complete.
What Should be Included in a Book?
Once you have finished your book and refined all the chapters, the first hurdle is crossed. But you still have to get the book ready for publication. Therefore, you need to understand the basics of a book before you get your manuscript ready for publishing.
Having the text ready is not sufficient. You need to have a front and back cover, a title page, and more to get the whole manuscript in order. Hence, understanding the various parts of a book will help you create a good one.
The parts of a book include:
- The Front Matter
- The Body
- The Back Matter
Now, let us have a look at what constitutes these parts.
The Front Matter
The front matter is the beginning pages of a book. The very first pages include the title page, copyright page, acknowledgments, and more. In addition, it includes important information about the author and publishers.
The front matter invariably becomes the most significant part of a book. It is the first glimpse of the book that the readers have. Since it is the first thing any reader will notice, it is vital to look intriguing.
The front matter includes the following:
It is the most significant part of a book that includes the book’s title and the author’s name as it appears on the book’s cover.
Hands down, the title of your book is the first thing that will attract readers. Think of it as a reader and not the author. So give a title that best describes your book in a few words. Furthermore, you also need to choose a font that fits with the theme of the book. Finally, the title of your book should be legible.
Illustrations or Frontispiece
A frontispiece in a book is an illustration that faces a book’s title page. The illustration is often decorative or informative.
It is a page included in the majority of books. In addition, it has quotes or reviews from reputed writers and publishers in praise of the book. A few quotes of appreciation are also seen on the back cover of a book.
It contains the copyright notice, year of publication, and the name of the copyright owner (can be author or organization/corporation). Also, it contains typefaces and ISBN, the book’s publishing history, permissions, acknowledgments, and disclaimers.
Dedication page (optional)
It is an optional page where the author mentions the names of the people or the special someone who made this book a reality. A writer can be creative and personal on this page.
Table of contents (optional)
List of chapter headings its respective page numbers. A table of contents is never used if the chapter is numbered like Chapter One, Chapter Two.
If your book includes several key illustrations/tables that provide information or enhance your content, try creating a page that lists them. If the illustration is just for fun or acts as a visual aid, the illustration list will not be necessary.
It often serves as a preface and consists of a phrase, quotation, or excerpt from a poem.
It contains a statement about the book and is usually written by someone who is an expert in the book’s field. Thus, it helps increase potential sales for your book.
It talks about why you wrote the book, the methods are taken to research, and acknowledgments not included separately. In addition, it talks about how the book came to life and provided context for the book’s current edition. A preface is more common in non-fiction titles.
An acknowledgment page consists of notes of appreciation to people who supported you during your writing process and your writing career in general. If this section is lengthy, you can have this section in the back matter before or after the bibliography.
The Body Matter
It is the actual text of the book. Here is where it all begins. The main text always starts at the right hand side of the book. The body of a book consists of:
Prologue (for Fiction)
It is the section before the story of the book begins. It gives context for the readers and sets the tone to engage the readers into the story. It might be personal for the author stating the reasons as to why they wrote the book and the process behind it.
Introduction (for Non-fiction)
The introduction is where you write about what you want your reader to know before reading the book. For example, if there are any instructions at the end of each chapter, the introduction can be used to tell your readers how to use them.
Your story begins here. It consists of all your chapters. The font must match the style, content, and the target audience for your book. Some of the most popular fonts are Crimson text and Adobe Garamond Pro. Spacing and font size of the words in your book will differ with the size and genre of the book.
It is usually found in non-fiction books, the author sums up the core ideas here.
It also serves as a final chapter. It reveals what happens to your characters and provides closure. You can also hint at a sequel here.
It includes author’s note on how the idea of the book developed and how the journey to write the book started.
New information or final comments about the story is added after the narrative comes to an end.
The Back Matter
The back matter, also known as end matter is the pages found at the end of the book. The elements that constitute this part are:
It is the place where the author has to write a brief summary or bio about themselves. It can include educational details, previous works, and details about their personal life and interests.You can mention your upcoming titles along with your personal information. Make sure to link your author website and social media handles here.
Appendix (for Non-fiction)
It is also called addendum. Appendix includes relevant additional details and information about the book. It includes the source document or resources cited in the text.
It is the list of events in sequential order. It helps the reader to refer while reading, and also to remember. It is sometimes included as a part of the appendix.
It can be organized by chapter and should be created while during the writing stage of the book. It is additional relevant notes on certain passages in the book. It is denoted within the body of the text by superscripts.
If you sought permission to use lyrics, artwork, etc., from other books, you need to give them credit in this section.
It is the definition of words and other elements present in your book. It must be in alphabetical order.
Bibliography & Reference list
It lists the books, journals, or other works that have been cited in the body of the book. It is be in alphabetical order.
List of contributors
People who aided you in researching/ writing your book should be acknowledged here.
List of words and terms used referencing your text. It is also usually listen in alphabetical order.
The front matter, body and end matter of any book always requires professional typesetting. A book with lousy font on uneven margins can provide an unpleasant experience for your readers.