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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Front matter, back matter, does it matter?.....

I just read an article stating that four Smashwords e-books were listed on the New York Times best seller list--http://www.teleread.com/smashwords/four-smashwords-authors-make-the-new-york-times-bestseller-list/ Only two weeks or so ago I read another article saying that Indie authors would never be listed there. Things are changing in the publishing world and they're changing fast! Very good news for all indie authors!

I'm still not on the e-reader bandwagon. I am not capable of sitting at my computer to read a book and I'm too cheap to buy a Kindle, Nook or Ipad. Because of this I'm passing on books I would really like to read. There are two books languishing on my Kindle app right waiting to be read and reviewed..

On another subject, there have been several posts on one of my FB groups asking about where to put the acknowledgements page. When I published 'The Moonstone' I found a link on the Createspace website to Joel Friedlander who has much needed information on front matter and back matter. http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2012/02/self-publishing-basics-how-to-organize-your-books-front-matter/
I wrote about this in a previous post called "Let the Uploading Begin!"  but I thought I might revisit the topic since it seems a confusing issue.

If you open a traditionally published book, you will come upon several things organized in a somewhat routine fashion..
1. Title page--just the name of the book
2. Other books by the author
3. Possibly another title page with a listing of publisher and author
4. copyright page
5. dedication
6. acknowledgements
7. prologue

There is a fair amount of variation in these seven items. There may be a dedication and no acknowledgments or acknowledgements and no dedication. Their order may be reversed. I have seen acknowledgments listed at the end of the book. I put mine in the front because it seemed proper to give thanks to those who helped me along the way.

Working on my first book, front and back matter came as an unpleasant realization after I'd uploaded my manuscript to Createspace. I checked through the novels in my bookshelf and then followed Joel's instructions. Part of my front matter was a short pithy blurb from a reviewer, (one I managed to obtain by sending the manuscript out before it was published) raving about the book. In traditionally pubbed books, reviews can be on the back page, on the inside flap or on the first pages. And there are usually more than one. Hard to get for those of us going the self-publishing route. For back matter, I had the first chapter of the next book in the series and my bio, but there can be a glossary or translations or any number of things at the end of the book.

I wrote about Prologues in a former post, entitled strangely enough, "Writing Prologues". Other information on this topic can be found here: http://www.foremostpress.com/authors/articles/prologue.html 

A lot to think about and organize for those of us who have chosen to do this on our own. But the pay-off is control and satisfaction, even if the monetary reward takes a while.


  1. Your growing experience in this field is of great value, Nikki. I sense this may be the way to go but - for me - not yet.

    1. Thanks for reading, Mike. Maybe by the third one I'll have it down?

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