The parts of a book include the front matter, the body, and the back matter. The body is the most significant portion, containing the main narrative. The front matter and back matter are the non-story pages that come before and after the story is told.
No matter what kind of book you’re writing, you need to visualize the finished product to bring it to life. There are a lot of book parts we barely think about as readers. As the writer, you need to know where all of it goes.
Understanding the book design and the basic parts of a book helps you create a better book that contains everything readers (and publishers) expect.
As I detail each of these, I’ll let you know if it’s optional or required. I’ll also provide bonus resources for you to learn more about each part of the book.
Important: Most sources do not consider the front cover and back cover of your book (including the synopsis on the back) to be front matter or back matter. The terms “front matter” and “back matter” are usually reserved for the book’s pages, not the outside covers.
The front matter includes all the pages that come before the story. The body is the story: the beginning, middle, and end of your plot. The back matter is all the pages after the story.
Each area should (or should not) contain certain information. For example, you should place the Table of Contents before the body of the book but after the title page. Putting these in reverse order would lead to a very hectic reading experience.
Now, this is an extreme example, but many similar situations are less obvious.
What is structure in a book? The structure of the book is how information is presented to the reader. Not to be confused with the plot (story, characters, settings, etc.), the structure (form) is how the book is physically organized.
So let’s take a look at the three focus areas and explore what parts of a book go in what section.