Nonfiction book back matter

What is back matter

You’ve included all of the front matter at the beginning of your book, you’ve formatted the main body, set out your chapters and you’ve heard of back matter but do you really need it

Back matter  usually includes sections such as glossary, index, bibliography or resources. You will also want to include information about how people can work with you. This is particularly important for coaches, consultants and speakers who are using their book as a business card.

What to include in back matter

Appendices – if you researched material for the book and want to give the reader additional resources to further their understanding, add it as an appendix. This is also good for adding weight to your argument if it is a controversial topic.

Bibliography – To add credibility to your arguments, you can also add a list of citations for books used in your research. (You might find this is “overkill”, some authors like to add in a recommended reading list instead.

Glossary – If there are many technical or unfamiliar terms in your book, including a glossary will enhance the reader’s experience. You may wish to mention in your introduction that those new to the topic will benefit from reading the glossary first.

Index – If your book is a reference material, include an index to help readers find specific information quickly. Bear in mind indexing is a detailed and costly business.  A thorough table of contents might be a reasonable workaround, leaving more money for editing.

Tell your readers a little bit about yourself

Remember as a nonfiction author, one of the key reasons for writing your book is to get someone to know like and trust you.

This is a key part of getting them to work with you, join your programmes or buy your courses.

It’s important to tell the reader you will be there for them, to thelp them succeed. Even when people know how to do something, they still might want to call in a professional to complete something with them, or for them.

Make a start call to action, offering practical help, and it won’t come across as salesy.

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