The Inner Elements of Your Book: A Glossary

    You’ve written your manuscript and you’re preparing for publication. It’s time to think beyond the core of your book (your story) and start considering the other inner elements.

    Here’s a short glossary of the important “other parts” that complete the inside of your book:


     Title Page: This is different from the front cover and is, in fact, essential inside your book. The front cover may feature eye-catching elements like graphic design, brief reviews, awards, etc. However, the inner title page very clearly and concisely displays the title, subtitle, and author name.

     Copyright Page: You’ve heard, and it’s true to an extent, that your writing is copyrighted the minute it’s created. But for the best legal protection against would-be plagiarists and pilferers, it’s a good idea to register your work through the Copyright Office for your country. You can find out more about Copyright and other items to check off a legal checklist, as well as a sample copyright page, within this blog post.

     Table of Contents: This is a list of your book’s chapters/sections and the page numbers of each (and, with e-books, hyperlinks). Obviously, the easier it is for your reader to find what they’re looking for, the better.

     Dedication: Many authors write this — mentally, at least — even before writing the book. Who or what inspired this body of work, and why? A few sentences should suffice. Note: this is different from the list of acknowledgments.

     Foreword: An introduction to the book written by someone other than the author. The writer may be another author or a person with known expertise on the book’s topic and is hopefully someone who knows you and/or your story. It’s a sort of endorsement, or testimonial,  lending to your credibility as author of this book.

     Preface: Written by you, this is an introduction to your book and explains how/why it came into being and how the reader will benefit.

     Introduction: Often confused with the preface, the introduction is an explanation of the topics and ideas the reader can expect.  

     Prologue: While not mandatory, the prologue can be a way of “setting the scene” for the main story, providing context and/or arousing curiosity.

     Epigraph: This is a short bit of prose, such as a quotation or a question, displayed at the beginning of a chapter or section, indicating the subject matter of the following portion of content. It offers the reader a bit of a preview.

     Epilogue: “Where are they now?” “What has changed or evolved” since the last chapter in your book? The epilogue is one brief way to “tie loose ends,” offering readers a more satisfying conclusion.

     Acknowledgments::This is the list of “thank you notes” to those who contributed in various ways to the completion of your book. It can be as short or as long as you wish. Many authors include their acknowledgments at the front of the book, before the story begins. However, because online platforms like Amazon offer a downloadable sample before purchase (usually about 10% of your book), you don’t want the majority of that sample to be blank pages, title pages, a picture of you, or 10 pages of acknowledgments. You want the reader to dive right in so they see how amazing your book is and buy right away.

     Letter to the Readers: This is also referred to as an author’s note or afterword. Include this when you have additional notes to share about your research, inspiration, the experience of writing, etc.

     About the Author: It’s all about you! Write three wonderful paragraphs about yourself, in third person, highlighting all the things that you can spin to relate to the topic of your book. Make it the most exciting, contagious, thrilling biography of your life.

    Self-Promotion: Tell readers about your services or products and include links to your mailing list, all your social media, and your website. Write a letter to your readers and tell them what your future release plans are. Make the material fun and interactive, with the intention of capturing your audience so you can keep in touch and sell more books, products, or services. 

     Read More/Coming Soon: This includes a list of your past and future publications. 

    Careful and strategic planning of your book’s elements is critical. Read more about Why Your Book Front and Back Matter DOES Matter at this link:

    Free Mini Course! Book Design 101: Your Design Brief

    Design Your Book Cover Free Mini Course