Parts of a Book

by CJ McDaniel // June 26  

Have you ever wondered what parts of a book should be in your novel or non-fiction book other than the main body of your text? Below are some that you might decide to add to your book.

Title Page
What goes on your title page? Typically your title page consists of your title and subtitle, if there is one, and the author and publisher’s name.

Optionally on the title page you can choose to put the publisher’s location as well as the year of publication, but you can also leave those two off and include them on the copyright page.

Copyright Page
Your copyright page has all of your book’s legal language on it. The copyright page contains the copyright notice, which consists of the year of publication and the name of the copyright owner. The copyright owner is usually the author but could also be a company. This is also where you will include your  book’s publishing history, permissions, biographical note on author, publisher’s address, country of printing, impression line, ISBN, ISSN, original language information, Cataloging-in-Publication data, and important disclaimers.

Your dedication is similar to the acknowledgements page only more personal. So in your dedication you might dedicate your book to like your spouse, children or someone who’s important to you.

Your acknowledgements on the other hand, are for those who helped you with the book.

Other Books by This Author
Readers are loyal and your “Other Books by This Author” page is a great encouragement for them to buy your previous work. But, equally important is to limit the number of titles on this page to about two or three. This will help them have other options but reduce decision fatigue that can come from looking at a list of 20+ backlist titles.

Table of Contents
So why is the table of contents important? Do you even need a table of contents? And the answer is no. You don’t. You don’t have to have a table of contents in every kind of book. If you have a calendar or journal type book, then you definitely don’t need a table of contents for that. You just have each page and each entry and each quote that you’re putting in there. But on the other hand if you have a reference book or study guide of any kind you will need it because readers will want to go back to a certain part of the book. If you do have a reference or study guide then you want to get as detailed as possible with your table of contents because otherwise it’s not going to be as easy to find it normally as it would be with a detailed table of contents.

If you have a fiction book chapter titles then you most likely want to include a table of contents.

If you just have the chapter’s titled Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, then you can include a table of contents if you would like but it’s not required.

With your ebooks most vendors require a table of contents which is nice for the user because they are interactive with links that take them straight that part of the book.

Note, a common mistake authors make is by using the word “forward” instead of the correct word “foreword” which is the correct usage for the part of a book.

The forward is usually written by somebody other than the authors. It can be written by the author as well, and you can still label it a foreword, however it’s typically written by someone else. Something we have seen work well is to find someone who has more of a following or reputation than you do. And ask them if they would take the time to write a foreword for your book. This influence should  be relevant to their genre.

When it comes to a book, the introduction can be written either by someone else or by the author. If you are writing your own introduction for your book, you can use this to introduce either how you got inspired to write this book or why you are knowledgeable enough on the topic to write this book any anything else that you feel is important for the reader to know.

A preface is another front matter part of a book. This is where you give the readers specific information. So for example, if you have a journal style book or a, an adult coloring book you instead of naming it preface, you can name it how to use this book or something or anything else that makes sense.

Prologue is usually more present in fiction rather than nonfiction. And it’s basically a connected part of the story that is important but that doesn’t really fit in to the book as a whole. So if you have like something that the reader needs to know before they start reading the actual story and that is illustrated usually in a prologue.

The conclusion or a final thoughts section is typically associated with educational material or essays, and academia. So a conclusion is usually part of that, although you can also use a conclusion in any other,

While technically the same thing a closing section is typically a more official closing section.  Whereas the final thoughts section is a little more casual and a little less rigid in its requirements.

There are a few instances of books where you might need a glossary. Sometimes with certain books it is necessary to have a glossary of terms in the back. Some of the types of books that might want a glossary are:

  • science fiction books
  • fantasy books
  • religious books
  • books with foreign words throughout
  • technical or industry specific books

Epilogues are where you can add a piece to the end of your fiction story that needs to be told or is important for the rest but isn’t exactly connected to the main story. For example you might write an epilogue about an event that happens later on in the character’s life as a result of the actions of the book or it could be something

Author Bio
An author biography is typically one to three paragraphs. If you already have the “other books by this author” section in your book, then you don’t need to worry about citing all of your publishing credits or anything like that in your author bio. An author bio is more to humanize you to your reader. So you want to put at least one personal tidbit. Your author bio should be a little bit of fun and it should not be too long.

Normally author bios are written in third person perspective. However it’s recently becoming common to see first person bios as well.

Conclusion: Parts of a Book Summary

What we added to this list is what we consider to be the most important parts of a book. However this list is in no way exhaustive.

About the Author

CJ grew up admiring books. His family owned a small bookstore throughout his early childhood, and he would spend weekends flipping through book after book, always sure to read the ones that looked the most interesting. Not much has changed since then, except now some of those interesting books he picks off the shelf were designed by his company!