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Front matter, body, and back matter
Front matter, body, and back matter

A run-through of the parts of a book.

Ash Davies avatar
Written by Ash Davies
Updated over a week ago

A professionally made book has various parts — including front and back matter. Below we'll walk through what to include, and the order to put them in. Skip to the end to find out how Tablo assembles these for you.

Front matter

The basic information that appears at the very beginning of a book.

1. Half-title page

2. Title page

3. Copyright page

4. Dedication

5. Epigraph (quotation)

6. Table of Contents

7. Preface/Foreword

Half-title page

  • The first right-hand page of a book.

  • Contains the title of the book only, with no subtitle.

Title page

  • Contains the title, subtitle (if any), author's name, and publisher's name and logo.

  • Other information, such as a foreword author or illustrator, can be here too.

Copyright page

  • Appears on the reverse of the title page.

  • It contains the bibliographic information, notes from the publisher, and other details that do not appear on the title page — such as a copyright notice, a statement of author's rights, and the publisher's name and contact details,

Dedication page

  • A page to name someone or some people who the book is dedicated to.

  • A dedication is usually short — one or two sentences.

  • It comes right after the copyright page.


  • A phrase, quotation, or poem. It suggests the theme of the book.

  • It is on the next right-hand page after the dedication, with a blank facing page.

Table of Contents

  • A list of chapter headings and the page numbers they start on.

  • Novels and books to be read end to end do not need a table of contents.

  • Include a table of content for nonfiction, memoir, and books that are collections of smaller works — such as poetry and short stories.


  • A preface is an introduction to the book, written by the author.

  • It may give the origin to the story, or the author's reasons for writing.

  • A foreword is an introduction to the book, not written by the author.

  • It is usually written by the author's friend, colleague or mentor.

Body Matter

Body matter is the main text of your book, including all chapters and parts. Page numbers are shown, starting with 1.

Prologue (fiction)

  • A section of the story set before the main action.

  • It sets up what will happen, or foreshadows later plot events.

Introduction (nonfiction)

  • A brief explanation of the topic that sets up what the book will be about.

  • It can define the scope of the book — what it will and will not delve into.


  • The units used to divide up a story. Nearly all books have chapters.

  • Your first chapter begins on a right-hand page. As a common standard, chapters after the first begin on right-hand pages as well.

  • If you write your book on Tablo, we will start your chapters on right-hand pages by adding blank pages when needed.


  • In longer books, chapters may be grouped into parts. A part title page announces the start of each new part.

  • Each part will start on a right-hand page, with a blank reverse page.

Epilogue (fiction)

  • A section that comments on what has happened, wraps up the story, lays hints for a sequel, or lets the main character speak their own thoughts for the first time.

  • It may take place a long time into the future, or describe a scene that's only loosely related to the topic of the story.

Back matter

Back matter is where readers can find more context or further information. It can be very simple — such as a single acknowledgements page.

Acknowledgements (if not in front matter)

  • A section for the author to mention and thank everyone who supported their writing of the book, or contributed to it in some way.

  • It appears after the last page of the last chapter.


  • A place for material that relates to your topic but is too detailed or large to fit comfortably inside chapters.


  • A list of notes, numbered and arranged in a way that the reader can connect them to where they are mentioned inside your chapters.

  • Notes can be a particular source for your claims, or an explanatory comment that gives greater context.


  • Definitions of words or special terms that appear in the chapters.

  • If your glossary is short, consider explaining the meanings in the text instead.


  • A detailed list of the sources for your research.

  • References is all the sources you mention in your chapters.

  • A bibliography is longer. It is all the sources you mention, plus any you turned to but didn't mention.


  • A list of terms or phrases that appear in each chapter, and the page number they appear on. It is presented alphabetically, and in a multi-column format.

  • It is different to a table of contents, which lists the chapters your book is divided into. An index lists all the information within each chapter.

About the author

  • A brief summary of the author's previous works, and details about their personal life or professional achievements.

  • It is usually on the last page of a book, on the left-hand side.

How to build the parts of your book with Tablo

If you write on Tablo, it's easy to assemble all the parts of your book. Here's how.

Front matter in the editor

  • When you create a new book, our platform automatically generates a title page and a copyright page.

  • Your table of contents is created for you too. Every chapter you add to your book can appear in your table of contents. We generate it later, after you submit,

  • You can write a dedication, preface or foreword by adding a new chapter and moving it to the front of your book.

  • Chapters can have no title. This is useful for a dedication.

Body in the editor

  • Click New Chapter at the left each time you'd like to create a new chapter.

  • If your book has parts, you can create a separate chapter for your part title pages.

  • How? Create a new chapter and add "Part 1" inside it. Then create another chapter to be the first chapter in this part.

Back matter in the editor

  • Add a new chapter to create acknowledgements, about the author, endnotes or other types of back matter.

  • For back matter that uses a list format — such as endnotes or a reference list — you may wish to create a new line with no indent or no line spacing after.

  • To do this, press shift + return/enter. This ends the line early, but does not start a new paragraph.

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