Is Your Book Complete? Welcome to the World of Front and End Matter

If you’re a writer, chances are you’ve been working away evenings and weekends to write, rewrite, and review all the chapters in your book. You’ve agonized over wording and character development and tension points along the way. Now that you’re ready to hand your work over to an editor to polish up, there’s still one more task left to do—write the front matter and end matter for your book.

Here’s a test for you. Grab a book from around your house and flip through it. As you do, notice all the pages that come before the first chapter and after the last chapter. This beginning material is called the front matter, and the material found at the back of the book is called the end matter (or back matter). It’s important content to have in your book, so make sure to leave some time in your production schedule to write it and review it.

Front Matter

Here are some pages that you might find in the front matter of a book:

  • half title page containing the book title and the author’s name
  • copyright page containing an ISBN book identifier
  • dedication page (e.g., For my mom)
  • foreword page containing an introductory note that is not written by the author
  • preface page containing an introductory note that is written by the author and usually gives brief acknowledgements
  • An epigraph (quote) at the beginning of a book (or chapters) to express a feeling about the work
  • Endorsements or blurbs from notable people

End Matter

Here are some pages that you might find in the end matter: 

  • An author bio with your website address
  • An epilogue, of afterword, to summarize what happens after the story is over—a conclusion
  • glossary with a list of key terms and their definitions
  • End notes as references and research, listed numerically and linking to specific sentences in your book, usually found in certain nonfiction books
  • An acknowledgement page where you thank family and friends
  • An appendix for additional information that didn’t make the cut to be in the book
  • An index to provide readers with an alphabetical list of key terms—good for business books, cookbook, etc.
  • bibliography for listing all the books referenced when writing your book


So there you have it. While your chapters are off to the editor for fine tuning, take the downtime to start assembling your front and end matter. This way, when your editor returns your chapters for your final review, you will have this extra content ready to send her for review.

This blog is based on content in the How to Publish a Book online course.

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