The three main parts of a book are the front matter, body and back matter. These are often referred to as the book block. The block for our paperback contains all of the pages that fall between the front and back cover. It is important for authors to understand each of the three main parts.
Front matter is everything that comes before the story begins. For some books, this will only be the title and copyright pages. For other books the front matter might contain more information. Front matter gives the reader their first impression, so it’s important to make sure it is professional.
Title Page – The title page is exactly as it sounds. It is a page that lists the title. A title page also lists the author, illustrator, and often the publisher. This page often contains a full page illustration.
Copyright Page – A copyright page consists of the ISBN, copyright holders, edition, first date of publication and publisher. A copyright page does more than just assert an author’s rights. It also provides valuable information including how to get in touch with a publisher, any third-party copyrights or permissions, and any necessary disclaimers. The copyright page usually appears on the first left-hand page (page 2).
Dedication Page – The dedication page is the place where the author acknowledges one or more people they are dedicating their book to, and why. Our dedication is on its own page opposite the the copyright page (page 3).
Other Pages – Other pages might include a contents page. A contents page is a listing of all of the chapters or sections. The contents page would include a list of additional front matter, any back matter, including an index and /or glossary. Not all picture books have back matter, an index or glossary. Nonfiction books may have some or all of these pages.
The body consist of your story. There have been a few posts on this blog about writing your story, such as Character Development, Writing the Story, and Grab Your Readers Attention. If you are interested in learning more about the writing the body of the story, I recommend reading those posts.
Back matter or end matter comes after the story ends. Some picture books have no back matter. Others include a section or two of back matter. Back matter can including an index, a glossary, or an appendix. Authors use back matter to offer additional information about the book, about the topic, or some fun and interesting facts. Both of my books have back matter for children to extend their learning. Discussion questions are also popular type of back matter. The questions are often intended for use in a classroom or book club setting.
About the author – The about the author section is the author’s chance to share a little about themselves. This may include their biography or information on the other books they have written. The about the author page may also include contact information for an author and/or illustrator including a website and social media information.
Book Back Cover
Last, but not least is the back cover. A book cover attracts a reader to pick up the book, the back cover is what convinces a reader to buy the book. A back cover is where the author shares a snippet of the story to make you as the reader want to read more. As you can see from the photo above, this is the back cover of Two Wins for Wiley. It includes the book summary, some positive reviews, the publisher imprint name, a barcode, and an ISBN and the price of the the book. With all these elements in place your book designer can begin their job.
Good luck, and remember, people do judge a book by the front cover and get hooked by the back cover.
Be sure to take your time and make all three parts of your book shine!
I am so glad you’re here and so grateful that I can share my writing journey with you.
I’m looking forward to helping you as a children’s book writer in any way that I can. Speaking of helping — please leave a comment below and let me know what questions you have about picture book writing. This will help me to tailor my posts to your needs.
If know someone who might be interested in this content, please forward this blog post to them and encourage them to subscribe to the website. My website has many FREE resources for children, parents and teachers.
I am now booking author visits for 2022 – 2023. Please book early as availability will become limited as the school year progresses.
Now it is our turn to ask you to Save the Date! Two Wins for Wiley will be launched on October 18th! We hope you will join us on that day and help us to spread the word.