The front matter of a book comprises all material that is to appear before the text proper. All books include a title page, a copyright page, a table of contents, and an introduction. Other material, such as a dedication, foreword, list of contributors, or preface, may be included if appropriate.
The title page carries the book’s full title and the names of all the authors. Type the title on one line if possible, in upper- and lowercase. If the book has a subtitle, it should appear below the title, not on the same line. Type your name below the title as you want it to appear on the book’s cover (if this differs from the author credit in your agreement, please advise your author relations manager immediately). If more than one author is involved, type the names on separate lines in the order in which they should appear. You may include affiliations below each name. If anyone else should be credited on the title page (e.g., illustrator, photographer, translator), his or her name should appear beneath the authors’. Do not include contributors’ names on a title page, and do not include any other information (e.g., copyright lines, dates).
The copyright page will be prepared by Morgan James. It includes the copyright notice registered in the name specified in your agreement. if there is any thing specific you need or disclosures required, this where they need to go, so let us know.
A dedication is optional. If one is included, it should be on a separate page by itself. It is not necessary to say “Dedicated to”; beginning with “To” will suffice.
Table of contents
The table of contents serves as a quick reference to the book. Think of it as sales headlines that will draw the reader in with every word.
Begin with “Contents” as the major heading, then list, in order of their appearance:
- All front-matter elements except title page, copyright page, and dedication
- Part numbers and titles, if applicable
- Chapter numbers, chapter titles, and all subheads through level C
- All back matter (e.g., appendices, glossary, bibliography, index, about the author)
Titles and headings on the contents page must be worded exactly as they appear in the text. You do not include page numbers.
List of contributors
If your manuscript is for a contributed volume, submit a list of contributors. Title this list “Contributors”. List each contributor’s name and affiliation as it should appear in the book.
List of illustrations
Occasionally, a list of illustrations (figures) in the front matter enhances a book. If you want us to consider including such a list in your book, submit one as part of the manuscript. Title the page (what else!) “Illustrations.” List, in order, each figure and a condensed version of its caption.
Note that the list of illustrations is not a substitute for the figure caption list.
List of tables
If the book contains many tables that are frequently referenced from elsewhere in the text, a listing will be of value. Submit one as part of your manuscript if you want us to consider including it. Type it and (we feel compelled to say this) title it “Tables.” List, in order, each table and its title or abridged title.
The list of tables, which is part of the front matter, might or might not be identical to the table title list, which shows each title as it will appear in the body of the book.
List of projects
If your book contains numerous projects (as in an electronics book), consider including a list in the front matter. Such a list is particularly useful if the projects are not readily apparent in the table of contents.
Title it “Projects.” List projects in the order they appear, by number (if applicable) and name or title.
List of abbreviations
A list of abbreviations might be useful. Alternatively, and more commonly, you can include abbreviations in the glossary with the full term. If a list is to be included in the front matter, title it “Abbreviations,” with each abbreviation flush left, in upper- and lowercase as it appears in the book, followed by a period. Do not use any ending punctuation after an entry. Although run over lines might be indented in the printed book, do not indent them in your manuscript.
Foreword (Not Forward)
A foreword is optional but potentially valuable. Because it is written by someone other than yourself, it enhances your credibility and substantiates the value and usefulness of the book. Ideally, the foreword should be written by a peer who is noted in the field or profession for expertise on the subject of your book, or by a well-known person or an official of a company associated with the subject of the book. Occasionally, the writer of a foreword will succumb to the temptation of expounding his or her own views on the subject at hand rather than speaking to the good qualities of the book being introduced. If you see this happening, try to coax your writer into sprinkling a few words of praise among the comments.
The preface states your purpose for writing the book. You may incorporate this information into your introduction, eliminating the need for a preface.
Acknowledgments recognize and express appreciation to those who helped you with the book. Acknowledgments precede the introduction and usually comprise no more than a paragraph or two. Don’t forget to acknowledge your ARM and your Publisher! (if we’ve earned it, of course)
You may mention sources of information and materials, illustrators, photographers, typists, and other people or organizations that helped make your book possible. Acknowledgments are optional.
The introduction should provide an overview and explanation of the contents and purpose of the book. The audience and scope of the book should be well defined from the outset. A detailed and explicit introduction should explain why your book is important and how the reader will benefit from it.
The introduction should contain the following elements:
- Your purpose in writing the book. (Unless this is covered in your preface instead.)
- Who should read the book, and what the reader will learn from it.
- A chapter-by-chapter summary of the contents and benefits of the book. Generally, the more technical your book, the more important it is to include this summary and the more thorough it should be. Include at least one sentence and no more than one paragraph of description per chapter.
- How to use the book; e.g., is the book organized into lessons?
- Special features of the book, or why the book is unique and valuable.
- Examples highlighting the special features.
- How the reader can further explore the subject after finishing your book.
- An explanation of the icons, if any, used in the book. This explanation should include an example of each icon and an explanation of its meaning. (In many cases, we won’t decide until we review your manuscript whether to use icons. When this happens, your ARM will consult with you about this part of the introduction.)
Keep in mind that the introduction delivers the first impression of your book to many readers, and will determine whether they select it over other books on the same subject. A successful introduction should be conversational, assuring readers that this is the best book on the topic for their wants and needs. Include any other factors that will help readers understand and use your book.
If you are revising a previously published book, please remember that an introduction to the new edition is essential to inform the reader of the scope and content of the revision. An introduction to a new edition should contain all the elements of a standard introduction, but must also include information about differences from the previous edition.