Standard Order of Pages for your Book
All books have a standard order of pages- most that you will be familiar with. In this post I will review what each of these sections encompass- the not-so-necessary ones and the must-haves.
Now, think back to grade school and your first language arts writing class. Your teacher most likely taught you that you must always include a beginning, middle, and end in your writing. Well, it's the same structure for a book. These main sections in a book are called: the preliminary matter, the main text, and the back matter.
Below is a comprehensive list of all sections making up these three, over-arching sections of a book. I will offer detail on each and also tell you whether they are necessary to include in your book or not and why.
Standard Order of Pages in a Book
Series title page
Table of Contents
About the Author
The Half-Title Page
The half-title page is very simple. It is where your title is with mostly white space around it. It is not necessarily required for your book, but it is definitely a nice-to-have. In some cases, the cover of the book has limited space, so this page can also include a little blurb about the author or is often a nice space for authors to sign his/her signature to their readers.
Series Title Page
This page is not at all required and only recommended for authors with more than one book or a series of books. This is where you would list the different titles of your series.
This page is simple and customary. It includes both the title and subtitle (if you have one) of the book. It will also include the publisher at the bottom of the page.
This page contains all of the book's publisher information, the copyright notice from the U.S. Copyright Office, the Library of Congress number and cataloging block, the year of publication and the ISBN (International Standard Book Number).
A prologue is only necessary if the rest of your story cannot stand alone without it. It offers readers some back story that is necessary to understanding the rest of the book.
Most people are familiar with a dedication page. It is where you give thanks and devotion to something or someone for inspiring you to write the book.
The foreword can be more than a couple pages long and is written by someone other than the author. It is not an absolute, but highly recommended as it garners credibility for the author early on in the book. This piece of your book establishes authority for the author and also tells them why it's necessary to read this particular book.
The preface tells your readers 'why you are writing this book'. This part of your book should be emotionally evoking, depending on the subject of your book, but really needs to give a glimpse into the mind of the author and how the book even came to be.
I would consider this a must-have for any book, as it is the place where you attribute all others who made it possible to bring your story and book to life. Yes, you don't have to have one, but it's a very nice tribute.
Table of Contents
This table allows readers to quickly reference which chapter titles begin on which page.
This is the main text and body of your book broken up into sections called chapters. Typically, each have their own title referenced in your table of contents.
An appendix is only necessary if you have tables, reports and other source references that need referencing to.
End Notes help provide the reader with additional information and context, but are not essential to the main text and would otherwise disrupt the main body of text.
A bibliography is the overall source reference for your book in alphabetical order and gives credit to all external sources, books, websites, and persons referenced in the book. There are many different styles in which to format your bibliography, so do your homework here.
An index is typically only in non-fiction books and lists all terms and topics in alphabetical order.
About the Author
Julia Maldonado is the Lead Designer & Founder for InTandem Digital Consulting. She has over 20 years of experience in Marketing, Advertising and Customer Experience spanning across different industries. 10+ years in website design, content writing and social media influencing.
To learn more about Julia, visit her on LinkedIn.
InTandem Digital Consulting provides various digital solutions to small and mid-size businesses. Our portfolio includes: Website Design, Social Media Management and Customer Experience Strategy. Our CX workshops are offered both in-person and virtually.
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