Friday, July 29, 2016

Back Matter

   Since we discussed front matter last week, it only makes sense to discuss back matter this week. Simply stated, back matter is what comes after the text...after "the end." Back matter can include appendixes, a chronology, endnotes, a glossary, a bibliography or reference list, a list of contributors, an index, a colophon, and an errata page. Just as with front matter, not all of these will apply to every book. All folios of back matter continue the Arabic numerals used in the text.
   Let's start with an appendix (pl. appendixes or appendices). When you need to elaborate on something within the text but such an elaboration will slow down the action, you need to put the explanation in an appendix. The explanation is not an essential part of the text, but it is helpful to the reader by providing clarification in some instances. Appendixes consist of texts of documents, long lists, survey questionnaires, charts or tables, etc. But BEWARE: an appendix is not a repository for "odds and ends" that you could not work into the text. An appendix will usually follow the last chapter of the book. When two or more appendixes are required, they should be designated by either numbers (Appendix 1, Appendix 2...) or letters (Appendix A, Appendix B...), and each should be given a title. They can appear in either the same type size as the text or in smaller type.
   Next comes a chronology, which is a chronological list of events that may be useful in certain books. If your story requires flashbacks, for instance, you may want to include a chronology. The same can apply to flash-forwards, such as in some aspects of sci-fi. If circumstances of your story happen at the same time for various characters in different places, you may need to clarify this in a chronology. WARNING: These techniques can be confusing to readers, so use them sparingly.
   Endnotes are most often used when books are created by multiple authors. In technical texts, the endnotes may have to be placed at the ends of the chapters instead of in the back matter. They generally appear in type that is smaller than the text but larger than footnotes.
   In order to make your book easier to understand, especially if it contains many foreign words or phrases or unfamiliar words, a glossary is a great tool for a reader. Words being defined should be arranged in alphabetical order, each on a separate line, followed by their definition. In some instances, especially with foreign words or words that have become obsolete in more recent speech (e.g., Old Norse), a pronunciation guide that precedes the glossary is a big help (considering that most people are not familiar with phonetic spellings and symbols).
   Then we have bibliographies and reference lists. Entire books have been published about the methods for writing these, so we won't be covering them in any depth here. In general, they appear in a smaller type size than the text, and they are usually presented in the flush-and-hang style (i.e., the first line of an entry is flush left, but each of the other lines in that entry is indented below the first line). Your publisher will give you the particulars about the chosen method(s) used by his/her publishing company.
   You may be only one of a group of multiple authors for your book, so a list of contributors will be a necessity in the back matter. Often only the volume editor's name appears on the title page, so the other authors are listed in the back matter (usually titled "Contributors") that appears immediately before the index. The authors' names are arranged alphabetically by last name, but the names are not inverted (e.g., "John James Doe" not "Doe, John James"). Following the names is usually a brief biographical note and academic affiliations. If only a small handful of authors exists, their names may appear on the title page, and a list of contributors will not be necessary. Their biographical data can be included on the copyright page.
   The index (pl. indexes or indices), or multiple indexes in a printed book, is usually set in two columns to a page and begins recto. It appears in smaller type size than the text. In a book with both name and subject indexes (e.g., a cookbook will often contain an index of the names of the dishes, and a second index will contain the ingredients used in all recipes), the name index should precede the subject index. Subsequent indexes begin either verso or recto. As with bibliographies and reference lists, there are way too many methods of creating indexes for us to cover them all here.
  An inscription, including the facts of the production of a book, is called a colophon. It is found on the last page of a printed book and is specifically designed and produced by the publisher. A logo is a representation of a colophon and is often used on the spine of a book where there is not enough room to include the publisher's entire name.
   Errata is a rarely used page, only appearing in extreme cases where misunderstandings can be caused and things within your work can be misconstrued due to a severe error(s) that is detected too late to correct in the normal way before the printed book is distributed. For instance, let's say you hired someone to contribute technical drawings for your book. Just before the book goes to print you discover that one of the drawings needs to be altered, but the artist unexpectedly died just days ago, and you cannot make the necessary changes. Therefore, you must relay to your readers that such an error exists and that the book was printed in a "bound-in-errata" state. The errata page must also appear if part of your book is photographically reproduced from an earlier publication and contains something that is capable of being misinterpreted by readers. The page should be included in the table of contents. There are certain rules that cover the setup of this page, and your publisher will be able to help you with this if the situation arises.
   So that's an overview of what needs to go into your book in addition to the actual text. Be aware that not all books will require such information, but if you book does need to include any of these items, it's important for you to ask your editor to fill you in on the particulars of your case(s). Don't allow your book to go to print without the necessary information for your readers. They will thank you over and over again for the info, and they will continue to buy your books because they recognize your expertise. Your readers deserve the best you can give them, and you deserve the kudos you'll get for publishing a book that meets all of the industry requirements.

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