We quite often receive typescripts and print-ready PDF files where the order of the front and end matter appears to be rather random. If you’re submitting a typescript to us or any other publisher the publisher will sort it out but if you are submitting print ready PDF files to a self-publishing service you may find that the self-publishing service won’t bother to correct this. That won’t happen with us but sometimes these corrections can be difficult to do or introduce new complications, for example with an index, so it’s better to try and get it right from the start.
Why does the order matter? Well, it matters because there is a logical order that readers expect. Like many aspects of book production the reader may only be aware they expected something different when they notice it doesn’t look right and “doesn’t look right” means they start to identify the book as not professionally produced. The more you do to make your book look professional the more likely a reader is to recommend it.
Here is a typical layout of front matter and you’ll notice these pages have roman numerals. This is so that any additions or reductions you make to the preliminary pages doesn’t affect the page numbering throughout the book. Remember too that a right hand page is always an odd numbered page.
Page i - half title, (the title set smaller than the main title page – nothing else on the page)
Page ii - a blank page often listing previous works by the author, or books in same series
Page iii - title page
Page iv - copyright notice (with other publishing notices)
Page v - dedication
Page vi - blank
Page vii - table of contents. Avoid referring to this as the index as it causes no end of confusion!
Hereafter the page numbers will depend on the length of the previous section
List of illustrations
List of tables
Page 1 – the beginning of the text. A right hand page numbered with Arabic numerals