Establishing Front and Back Matter

Publishing 101This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.

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The front and back matter of a paperback and hardcover book is different from that found in eBooks. Sometimes it’s the same, just located in a different spot. For the purpose of this post, I’ll discuss the front and back matter for the paperback copy of Fowl Summer Nights.

If you are unsure about any of the items in a paper copy book or you’re wondering how to lay it out, just check out the books on your shelf or your local library’s shelf. Not all books display the information the same. I recommend finding books similar in subject to the one you are publishing and use them as examples.

You can check out other genres and types of books too, just in case you stumble upon a unique idea.

In general, most novels have the following items:

  • title page
  • copyright page
  • dedication
  • prologue
  • a short clip of an exciting scene
  • table of contents
  • biography
  • picture for biography

Title Page

The Title Page is the first page you’ll see when you open the book. It contains at least two items: the title of the book and the name(s) of the author(s). I also add three other lines in small font at the bottom of the page: my publishing company (Quarter Castle Publishing), location (Nova Scotia, Canada) and the month and year of publication (March 2014).

When applying for a CIP, you must submit a PDF of the title page, so it’s one of the tasks that must be completed early on in the production schedule.

Here’s what mine looked like.

title page

Copyright Page

Over the past three and a half years my copyright page has changed several times. The ideas for my first one and all those since then have come from what I see in other books. Sometimes I tweaked one sentence, and other times I changed entire paragraphs. Although it is bound to change as the seasons pass, the following is what currently appears on my copyright page.

First Page – Left Side

  • CIP Information
  • Text and Illustrations copyright@YEAR Name
  • ISBN (Paperback): NUMBER
  • ISBN (eBook): NUMBER
  • Cover Design: NAME
  • Edited by NAME
  • All rights reserved. Published by Quarter Castle Publishing, MONTH YEAR

Second Page – Right Side

  • Please note: This book was written using Canadian spelling.
  • This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
  • No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher. Any requests for photocopying, recording, taping or information storage and retrieval systems of any part of this book should be directed to Quarter Castle Publishing, 1787 Highway 2, Milford Station, NS, B0N 1Y0, Canada.
  • Quarter Castle Publishing bore the complete cost of publishing this book and received no financial assistance from outside sources.

Copyright Page


Not every book contains a dedication, but I like to include one. The dedication might contain a name only or a little quote or saying about the person. There is often a connection between the person I’m dedicating the book to and the book.

The dedication for Fowl Summer Nights reads:

To Mom who loves hens.


I included a prologue—an introduction, a preface—to Nova Scotia – Life Near Water—but Fowl Summer Nights does not require one, so I left it out.

Short Clip of an Exciting Scene

You’ve seen these before in books you’ve read. They’re only ten to twelve lines of text in the front of the book. Sometimes they are the first page you see instead of the title page. Sometimes they appear just before the first chapter. Wherever they are, their job is to give a wee glimpse into the exciting life of one of your characters and entice readers to continue.

Short Excerpt of Fowl Summer Nights

Mildred exited her car, extracted her bags and strode to the front door. To her surprise she found it unlocked. Her heart beat quickened and sweat gathered on the tiny dark hairs above her lip. A burglar had broken in. She had to escape, but her peeps were inside. A horrible image crossed her mind: roasted chicken, hot and spicy chicken wings, chicken nuggets! The queasiness grew too much to stomach.

She flung open the door, and with the steadiest voice she could muster called out. “I’m home, and I’ve brought five hefty friends. They’re with the special task force, heavily armed and thirsty for their first kill of the day!”

Table of contents

This is where you list your chapters, chapter titles (if you’ve used them) and page numbers. Usually I title a chapter, but I wrote Fowl Summer Nights with the intentions of it being a short story, so I didn’t create titles. Now I’m left with the decision: do I make them or not?

My decision is no, I won’t make chapter titles. I’ll leave it just as Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc.


Author biographies are written in the third person. Mine gets tweaked about twice a year as new titles are published or life changes.

For tips on how to write your own biography, check out this earlier post: Writing an Author Biography.

Here is my current biography for fiction.

Diane Lynn McGyver grew up along the wild shores of Nova Scotia, Canada, where she spent her summers running barefoot through the forest and sailing on the sea, and her winters building snow forts and skating. She began writing at an early age, filling Campfire Notebooks with tales based on her imagination and her adventures.

She currently dwells on a small homestead where she raises children, Toggenburg goats and heritage-breed chickens. Her work has appeared in more than a hundred publications since 1998. Her fiction credits include Shadows in the Stone (fantasy), Pockets of Wildflowers (romance) and Nova Scotia – Life Near Water (anthology).

To learn more about Diane and to keep up with her writing and book releases, visit her blog (

Picture for Biography

If you don’t have an author photo, get one. Readers will identify with you quicker, and who knows, they might spot you in a crowd and ask you about buying one of your books.

You can photographs professionally taken, or if you have a fairly good camera, you can do it yourself. I wrote a post a few years ago called Nailing a Picture for a Book Cover which provides pointers.

I’m going to use one taken during this photo shoot for Fowl Summer Nights. It’s the standard one I’ve been using for the past year and a half.

This completes this step in the Draft to Book in 30 Days challenge.

Next Post Publishing 101: Interior Design


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