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The Front Matter: Use Add-Ons to Add Legitimacy

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

Do not add to his words. (Proverbs 30:6, NLT) 

A Word For Writers

The Front Matter: a #devotional for #writers based on Prov 30:6 with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #WritingTips #WritingABook

Books are divided into three parts—front matter, the body, and back matter. 

  • The body is the guts of the book.
  • A book’s front matter is everything between the cover and page one: title page, copyright page, testimonials, dedication, epigraph, list of figures, forward, preface, acknowledgments, introduction, and table of contents. 
  • A book's back matter can include the epilogue, discussion questions, appendix (or appendices), glossary, bibliography (or works cited), and index.

Why does your book need front matter? Because it sets up the book by giving readers information they need, such as what the book will cover (the table of contents) or the inspiration behind the story (the epigraph). 

There’s also a more calculated approach to the purpose of front matter – “to make sure your book looks as professional as possible,” according to the good folks at self-publishing platform PublishDrive

Basic publishing information – the title page, the copyright page, and the table of contents – give your book legitimacy. Without them, potential readers may pass over your content because in their minds it’s bogus or at least signals a “poor reading experience.”

The books in the Bible have no need for front matter. They avoid preamble and jump into the good stuff right out the gate, starting in the Old Testament with, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1, NLT). The New Testament follows suit: “This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of David and of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1, NLT). 

As for added legitimacy … God admonishes us not to add to his words. He doesn’t need to “look like a pro.”

Yet you and I? We’re mere mortals. If you’re writing a book, choose front matter elements that demonstrate your authenticity and that set the context for your reader.

A Wise Word

A book’s front matter sets context for your reader.

A Word To Pray

Heavenly Father,

Your Word is complete. Help me to give my readers a complete experience as they read my book. Show me what helps to include to set context for them.

In Jesus’s name, Amen. 

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