Parts of a Book: The Essential Elements for a Bestseller
Looking into the right design for your book can be one of the most challenging 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 are the Major Parts of 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 basic parts 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 book cover, title page, copyright page, acknowledgment page, and more. In addition, it provides essential 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:
A book needs a professional cover that attracts the target audience. As far as self-publishing a book goes, the cover is the essential factor that attracts many readers.
Having a high-quality book cover ensures that your book sells well, especially if you are a self-publishing author. The front cover is the first thing a reader notices, and it helps form an opinion about the book in seconds. So, it is vital to have an attractive front cover.
It is invariably the first page of a book. The most significant part of a book includes the book’s title (including subtitles) 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.
A half-title page contains only the book title, not the author or publisher’s name. The page also doesn’t include the subtitle of the book. There is a second half-title page might be helpful if your front matter is lengthy. The author or the designer includes the second half-title page to announce that the book’s subject matter/ main story begins here.
Illustrations or Frontispiece
A frontispiece in a book is an illustration that faces a book’s title page. The image 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.
A copyright page is an essential aspect of parts 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, a copyright page includes typefaces and ISBN, the book’s publishing history, permissions, edition notice, edition dates, 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 dedication page. This page usually comes after the copyright page. and before the table of contents.
Table of contents (optional)
A table of contents (TOC) lists chapter headings/chapter titles with their respective page numbers. A table of contents is never used if the chapter is numbered like Chapter One, Chapter Two.
A table of contents is a helpful tool for any reader. It is an optional page if you are writing fiction. For a nonfiction book, a table of contents is essential. It helps readers track the pages from the first chapter to the last chapter.
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.
An epigraph usually comes right before the first chapter. It often serves as a preface and consists of a phrase, quotation, or excerpt from a poem. The quote, phrase, or excerpt on the epigraph indicates the book’s subject matter.
It contains a statement about the book and is usually written by an expert in the book’s field. Thus, it helps increase potential sales for your book.
A preface talks about why you wrote the book, the methods are taken to research, and acknowledgments not included separately. It is significant to add a well-written preface for your book. In addition, it talks about how the book came to life and provides context for the book’s current edition. A preface is more common in nonfiction books.
An acknowledgment page in a book consists of notes of appreciation to people who helped in the journey of writing a book. Like a family member or close friends 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 page of the book. The body of a book consists of:
Prologue (for Fiction Book)
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 in the story. It might be personal for the author to state 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 instructions at the end of each chapter, the introduction can be used to tell your readers how to use them.
Your actual story begins here. It consists of all your chapters. The font must match the style, content, and target audience for your book. Some of the most popular fonts are Crimson text and Adobe Garamond Pro. The spacing and font size of words in your book will differ from the size and book genre.
It is usually found in nonfiction books, and 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 the 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:
Author page/bio is where the author has to write a summary or bio about themselves. An author bio can include educational details, previous works, and personal life and interests. You can mention your upcoming titles along with your personal information. Make sure to link your author’s website and social media handles here.
Appendix (for Non-fiction)
It is also called an addendum. The appendix includes relevant additional details and information about the book. It consists of 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 specific passages in the book. It is denoted within the body of the text by superscripts.
It includes helpful information about the obtained permission. If you sought permission to use lyrics, artwork, etc., from other books, you need to credit them 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 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 listening in alphabetical order. The terms or phrases used in the book with the page number so that the reader can find them easily.
Coming Soon/ Read More
This part of a book isn’t necessary if you don’t have a book series or multiple books to your name. The coming soon page helps the reader buy and read more books of yours. Including this page is also a great way to sell more books.
The back cover acts as an important marketing tool. At the heart of the book cover, you have the book blurb. The book blurb narrates the story or premise of the book which piques the interest of the reader.
A blurb or synopsis of a book is crucial for both fiction and nonfiction books. Have the synopsis of the book without revealing the ending or giving away any surprises. You don’t want the reader to read the whole story right on the back cover itself!
The front matter, body, and end matter of any book always requires professional typesetting. A book with a lousy font on uneven margins can provide an unpleasant experience for your readers.
These basic parts of a book are crucial when you are trying to self-publish your book. The terms might sound confusing at the beginning but it is vital while creating a professional book.