Friday, July 22, 2016

Front Matter

   The information that appears at the very front of the book--before the text begins--is called front matter. The amount of front matter included in a book is usually chosen by the author and can consist of as little or as much as he/she thinks is necessary. Front matter can include the title pages (half-title page and title page), copyright page, dedication, epigraph, table of contents, list of illustrations or tables, maps, foreword, preface, acknowledgments, prologue or introduction, list of abbreviations, and publisher's, translator's, and editor's notes.
   "What are all of those things, and are they necessary for my book?"
   As you would expect, the answer to that question is: it depends. Different kinds of books require different information for the reader prior to his/her indulgence. Most well-published books begin with a recto half-title page. This contains only the actual title, not any subtitle, not the author's name, and not the publisher or edition. There is also no folio on this page. The verso following the half-title page is usually blank, though it may contain the series title and volume number of the series. It may also show an illustration, called a frontispiece. (NOTE: For explanations of the terms "recto," "verso," and "folio" go to the blog from 7/15/16 titled "An Introduction to Printing Terminology.") 
   Next comes the title page, recto, which includes the full title of the book, the subtitle (if any), the author's name (or authors' names), editor, translator (if any), and the name and location of the publisher (the publisher's logo may also appear here). The verso of the title page is the copyright page, which may include any number of items but nearly always has, in addition to the copyright symbol and year of copyright, copyright dates of previous editions (if any) and indication of copyright renewal or other changes, followed by the phrase "All rights reserved," the country of printing, the ISBN (International Standard Book Number), ISSN if applicable (International Standard Serial Number), original language title (if previously published in a different language), and any CIP (Cataloging-in-Publication) data. A biographical note on the author may also be included, as well as the Publisher's address, publishing history, impression line (indicates number and year of current printing), acknowledgments, permissions, and other credits (including acknowledgment of grants), and a paper durability statement (though this may alternatively be included in the back matter). All of these things can be explained by your publisher, and many of them may not apply to your book. None of the pages up to this point show folios, though they are considered in the page count. NOTE: The front matter is always indicated by using small case Roman numerals; the text begins on recto page 1 and is the first page using an Arabic numeral.
   The next recto page--the first one that shows a folio--is for the dedication and epigraph. The choice of whether to include these is entirely up to the author. The dedication is by you, the author, and dedicates your book to someone who has been influential in your life (not just your neighbor or your Aunt Polly because you couldn't think of anyone else!) An epigraph is a quotation that is pertinent to, but not integral to the text. The source of the epigraph should appear on a line following the quotation.
   The next verso page is usually blank, and the table of contents starts on the next recto page. It lists the title and beginning folio of each section of the book. It should include all preliminary material that comes after it but exclude anything that precedes it. It also includes an entry that guides readers to lists of illustrations, tables, plates, drawings, and/or maps. It is not necessary to include this if there are very few illustrations or tables, or if they are very closely tied to the text where they appear within the body of text.
   A foreword contains remarks written by someone other than the author. The title and affiliation of the person writing the foreword appears under the person's name and is often in smaller type. A statement by the book's author is called a preface and includes reasons for undertaking the work, methods of research, and sometimes permissions granted for the use of previously published material. The author lists acknowledgments in a separate section following the preface and usually appears on a separate page.
   The last section included in the front matter is the publisher's, translator's, and editor's notes. They are usually treated in the same manner as a preface or foreword. They have become less prominent in today's books, but their purpose is to explain something that cannot logically be included anywhere else within the book. They are often necessary, however, in scholarly editions, as they discuss such subjects as variant texts, explanations of an editor's method, brief remarks about modernized spelling and capitalization, etc.
   There are certain portions of a book that appear before the text begins but are not considered front matter. For instance, a prologue, also referred to as an introduction, is actually part of the text. It is pertinent to the story in that it gives an indication of what is to come and what has led up to the action that is about to take place. Its position should be at the beginning of the text and should be paginated with Arabic numerals as opposed to Roman numerals. In this case, the first chapter will not be page 1, though it will appear recto, as does the first page of each of the chapters.
   Whew! That's a lot to take in, isn't it? Never fear, an editor can help you decipher all of this. That's why it's important to work with someone who knows the publishing industry inside and out. But at the same time, it sure doesn't hurt to become familiar with the terminology and have a bit of an understanding of publishing jargon and what needs to happen before you try to publish.

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