Baby got back matter

Elaborate frontispiece.
Elaborate frontispiece.

When I first assembled The Guest Room of the Heart for publication several years ago, I was startled by how much more I had to write besides the manuscript. It was like the 67 moons of the planet Jupiter — I’d get one piece done, then the planet (the manuscript, or bulk of the words) would roll through on its orbit, and another moon would come into view, and I’d have to address that.

As I prepare two written works for distribution, I’m discovering this all over again. Not every book will include every piece…but every book will include more pieces than I anticipate.

Here are things writers often have to write, acquire or generate besides the manuscript itself.

More stuff

  • The title of the book
  • Blurb(s) for front of book
  • Back cover text
  • Author bio for amazon.com, smashwords or other distributor’s author page
  • Blurb or copy for the author’s own website
  • Blurb for the listing on the distributor’s pages
  • Review excerpts to use on covers or inside front / back pages
  • Design, photo or illustrations for the front cover, the back cover, and the interior
  • Author photo (book jacket photo)
  • Tweets, Facebook text, blog posts, announcements and other verbiage to use in social media and promotions

Front matter (stuff in the front of the book)

  • Dedication
  • Copyright
  • Preface
  • Table of contents
  • Maps
  • Title page
  • Book half title
  • Series title, frontispiece or blank
  • Epigraph
  • (List of) Illustrations
  • (List of) Tables
  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgments (if not part of preface)
  • Introduction (if not part of text)
  • Sneak preview of the book (similar to back jacket copy)
  • Abbreviations (if not in back matter)
  • Chronology (if not in back matter)

Back matter (stuff in the back of the book)

  • About the Author
  • About the Publisher
  • Acknowledgements
  • Afterword
  • Appendix
  • Author’s Note
  • Back of Book Ad
  • Bibliography
  • Biographical Note
  • Colophon
  • Conclusion
  • Credits
  • Epilogue
  • Glossary
  • Index
  • Notes
  • Other Books by Author
  • Permissions
  • Reading Group Guide
  • Resources
  • Sources
  • Suggested Reading

Whew! Sometimes I feel like I’m behind the curve because I’m not working on the manuscript itself…but I remind myself that every piece has its own gravitational pull, no matter how small, that helps keep the manuscript on track rotating through its orbit.