Remember These in Your Book

Don’t leave out a section you need.IMG_8031 adj

by Andy Scheer

The nonfiction manuscript I just edited ran some 64,000 words. But as I first scanned the file, I saw the author had forgotten something important: a table of contents.

Don’t laugh. Of all the sections readers expect in the front of a book, it’s one that authors most often forget. (Perhaps they’re concerned they don’t know on which typeset page each section will begin. But it’s much easier for the typesetter to plug in those numbers if there’s already a Contents page in place with the names of the chapters.)

Some other sections to include in the front of your nonfiction manuscript: some expected, some optional:

  • Half title page: with just the book’s title
  • Title page: book title, subtitle, author name(s)
  • Copyright page: indicating primary Bible translation and date, plus any secondary translations
  • Contents page with chapter numbers and titles
  • Dedication page (optional)
  • Foreword page (optional)

At the end of your nonfiction manuscript, you might also want to include these:

  • Acknowledgments
  • Appendices
  • Endnotes

Every manuscript is different, and you’ll always find published exceptions. But if you want the element included in the final product, remember to insert it in the initial manuscript.

About Andy Scheer

With more than 30 years in publishing, Andy Scheer has provided freelance editorial services since 2010. He has edited fiction and nonfiction for publishers including Moody, WinePress, and BelieversPress, as well as for clients including Dirk Cussler, McNair Wilson, DiAnn Mills, Heather Day Gilbert, and Sammy Tippit.
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