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The Front Matter: A Breakdown

May 21, 2018 (Last Updated August 11, 2020)

48 Hr Books


The “front matter” of a book includes the title page, copyright page, dedication, table of contents, foreword or preface, and introduction. Your book can contain as much or as little preliminary information as you want. Depending on the genre, you may only choose to include a few of these pages, or even just a title page. It’s your book, so it’s up to you!  


Here’s a breakdown of the standard information found on each page:


Title page: This is normally the first official page of your book. It includes the title, subtitle if applicable, and the author’s name. If there were any major collaborators, such as an illustrator, this person’s name would be listed as well.


Copyright page: This page will contain your copyright information, which includes the book title, year of publication, the author or publisher, disclaimers, and ISBN number.  Here is an example of how this page is displayed:



Dedication/Acknowledgements: The dedication lists who you are dedicating your book to and why. You can opt to keep this page simple, without elaborating on the reasons for your dedications. Many authors have written as little as, “For Mom.”

An acknowledgments page is similar to a dedication, but purely acknowledges the people who have aided in the publication process.


Table of Contents: Novels may not require a Table of Contents, but reference books should always have one. This page lists your chapters or sections, and their corresponding page numbers. Here’s an example of how this page is set up:



*If your book contains multiple headings and useful material to reference, this information should be listed in the index (or indices) in the back matter of your book. For example, if you were writing a history book, the Index would list significant events, terms, dates, etc.

**You’ll notice that the title page, copyright page, and dedication are not included in this example.  These pages are often not numbered, therefore not listed in the contents.


Foreword: A foreword is written by someone other than the author, who has a personal connection to the author or the contents of the book. The Foreword usually reads like a short essay.


Preface: The preface is similar to the foreword, but is written by the author.  Your book can contain both a foreword and preface. The preface sheds light on the conception of the book and its journey to publication. 


Introduction: This page outlines the purpose or goals of your book. What do you hope the reader will take away from your writing?


A common question we get asked is how to send us the front matter pages.  These pages should be included in your final PDF of the inside pages, as they are part of your complete book.  They should be positioned in the order you want them printed. 


Need help getting started? Here is a link to our free book templates, which automate some of the set-up and formatting tasks, including the front matter pages. 








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