back matter of a book

What’s in the Back Matter of a Book?

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The back matter of a book is the last section and it is also sometimes called end matter. The back matter includes everything after the body of the book (i.e., the last chapter).

Independent publishers (self-published authors) can benefit from learning the different parts of the book to ensure they are on par with book industry standards, and learn how and when to best utilize each section in the back matter of a book. For self-published authors, the back matter is when you can really connect with your reader by sharing your social media platforms, website/blog, lead magnet/opt-in, and other books you have published. It’s a place where your business marketing materials can go.

What are the 3 Main Parts of a Book?

A book’s interior file is divided into three main parts:

-the body (or the main text)

-the back matter (or end matter)

In this blog post, we’ll be covering just the components of the back matter.

What Goes in the Back Matter? 

The back matter can include some or all of the following sections: bibliography/references, about the author, acknowledgements (if not included in front matter), appendix, endnotes, glossary, list of contributors, and index. Some additional pages you could add to your back matter include: thank you page with a review prompt, email/newsletter sign up, list to previous works, additional readings, additional resources, reading group guide, and discussion questions.

The first section of back matter starts of a right-hand page (recto).

What is the Order of the Back Matter of a Book? 

The suggested order of the back matter of a book is listed below, but this section can be arranged in any order (unlike the front matter, which has more of a standard flow). However, not all of these pages are required. It is recommended to at least feature an About the Author page in your back matter, as well as list of references, if applicable. The others depend on your preference, what type of book you are writing, and the page length you are striving for.

Acknowledgements

In this section, the author thanks those who helped with creating the book and bringing it to life. This section is usually found in the front matter, but it’s not uncommon to see it in the back matter of books as well. It’s your preference. Whichever you decide, this page is found on the right-hand page (recto).

About the Author

This is where the author gives a brief summary of their professional career, such as previous work, education, certifications, as well as a line or two about their personal life. It’s typically found in the back matter, however, some authors choose to put this in the front matter, or just on the back of a paperback, or dust jacket of a hardback book. This page is found on the right-hand page (recto).

Appendix

Endnotes

Endnotes should be organized by chapter and align with the numbers referenced within the text. On the other hand, footnotes appear at the bottom of the page where the work is cited, whereas Endnotes are placed at the end of the manuscript in the back matter. Most readers, writers, editors, and publishers prefer the use of endnotes over footnotes.

Glossary

glossary is a collection of terms from the book, typically listed in alphabetical order. The purpose of including a glossary in your book is to explain new, less common, or unique terms, providing clarity for the reader.

List of Contributors

This page is not necessary for most books; however, when only the editor’s name is listed on the title page, such as in a multi-author anthology (i.e., a collection of poems or other pieces of writings), the authors should be listed in the back matter.

Bibliography/References

A bibliography, or list of references or works cites, is a comprehensive list of books. research studies, or other sources that have been used in the book. For your reference citations, there are various style guides you can select from that best align with your book, such as APA style guide, Chicago style guide, MLA style guide, and more. This page is found on the right-hand page (recto).

Index

The purpose of an index is for the reader to quickly and easily be able to find specific terms within the text. This back matter is made up of an alphabetized list of keywords and terms, and indicates what pages in the text these terms can be found. This page is found on the right-hand page (recto).

Colophon

The colophon is a brief statement about the publisher (name, date, location), including the type (font) information. This section can sometimes be featured in the front matter, too, after the title page.

Paginating the Back Matter of a Book 

After the last page of the manuscript’s main text (i.e., the last chapter), the page numbers continues in numerical sequence right into the back matter, using Arabic numerals (i.e., 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105). And the specific elements that you decide to include in your back matter should be added to your Table of Contents in the front matter.


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