While a lot of the questions are about illustrations, what’s been coming up more and more is about the pages that come before the story text begins. The pages before the story are called the front matter.
Just this week, someone asked me about a Dedication Page.
So, here is a list (in order of appearance) of the pages that will or may come before the first page of your story. Some examples are included.
1. Half title page – this is a page at the very beginning of the book that has ONLY the title of the book. It’s usually only used if pages are needed to thicken the book.
2. Frontispiece – this is a page that is an informative or decorative illustration that faces the book’s title page. It appears on the opposite page of the title page. This page is optional.
3. Title page – this is the page that lists the title, subtitle, author, and publisher. I may include the publisher’s location, year of publication, a description of the book, and either the cover illustration or other illustration.
4. Copyright page – this is the page that lists the copyright notice and the “All rights reserved” warning. It should also include the publisher’s name and address; printing details; the edition of the book; and the ISBN(s).
It may also include ordering information, your website URL, disclaimers, and the CIP Data Block from the Library of Congress.
In regard to the CIP Data Block, Kindlepreneur.com explains:
The Library of Congress issues a CIP data block to you. It is not something you can create for yourself. However, if you’re a self-publisher, you are not even eligible to have a CIP data issued to you by the Library of Congress.
You can, however, pay to have a P-CIP (Publisher’s Catalog-in-Publication) data block generated for you, if you truly desire. Having P-CIP data can make your book look more professional. It costs anywhere from $60-$100, and can be done by Quality Books, Inc. or CIPblock.com. (1)
5. Dedication – this is a page that explains the author’s source of inspiration and/or who she is dedication the book to. It can be a single name or it can be a paragraph or two. This page is optional.
6. Epigraph – this is a page that includes a quotation, sentence, or poem. It can face the Table of Contents or the first page of the text.
I’m currently working on a 10 book series that will have an epigraph in each book.
Epigraphs can also be used at the beginning of chapters, on the same page the chapter begins or on a separate page opposite the beginning of each chapter.
According to LiteraryDevices.com:
An epigraph can serve different purposes such as it can be used as a summary, introduction, an example, or an association with some famous literary works, so as to draw comparison or to generate a specific context to be presented in the piece. (2)
This page is optional.
7. Contents Page, also known as the Table of Contents – this page lists each section and/or chapters within the book. It helps the reader navigate the book in longer works, like middle grade and young adult stories.
You would not use a Contents Page in a picture book.
8. Foreword – this page has a short piece written by someone other than the author. Its purpose is to introduce the author and the book. It most often includes the writer’s name and signature.
Usually, the writer of the foreword is noteworthy.
This page is optional.
9. Preface – this page is written by the author and usually tells about how and why the book came to be and the process. It may also include what the book is about and why you think it’s important. This page is optional.
10. Acknowledgments – this page lists the people or entities the author is grateful to for help in the creation of the book. This page is optional.
11. Introduction – this page discusses the purpose and goals of the book. This page is optional.
12. Prologue – this page sets the scene for the fiction story. It can include backstory and should be told in the protagonist’s voice. This page is optional.
13. Second half title – this page helps set off or end an extensive front matter. As the name implies, it’s identical to the first half title page and is added before the beginning of the story text. It is used when needed.
Other pages in the front matter that you may find in some books are: List of Figures and List of Tables. But, for the majority of authors self-publishing children’s books they aren’t needed.
I just want to note here that most of the front matter isn’t necessary until after the story is written. And, if you have a picture book, it won’t be needed until after the illustrations are done.
You’ll need it when you’re ready to upload your book to sites like CreateSpace or when you’re ready to hand it over to them to upload it for publication for you.
That’s about it for the front matter of your book. The story itself is considered the ‘body of the book.’ When I get the time, I’ll write about the ‘back matter’ of your book.
Hope this is helpful in your self-publishing journey.
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