Back Matter.Or Back to the Matter. Or Back, Back, Back (Matter) It Up

Did you know that, for some ebook formats, most of what has traditionally been referred to as “front matter,” including the copyright page and the foreword, has been making a move toward the back of the book?

Neither did I. And, to be frank, fuck that. Why would a foreword go in the back of a book?

Technological idiocy aside, I spent some time this last week working on constructing the (appropriate) back matter for Sanity’s Flaw, and also tossed around ideas for the front cover (more on that as-of-yet dismal project next week). While I also began work on outlining my third book (more on that later this year), adding the back matter to Sanity’s Flaw created an odd sense of closure to the project. It was rather comforting, really. Almost made me want to break out the publication party early.

There are a number of back matter items that can be included in any given book, from bibliographies and indexes to lists of published titles and advertisements for other authors. But, as Sanity’s Flaw is a work of fiction, independently published and my first novel, I chose to boil it down to only three pieces: Acknowledgements, About the Author and a teaser for The Nobodies.

Admittedly, what I composed for the Acknowledgements page was originally meant to be the latter half of a much longer afterword that partially detailed my writing experience during Sanity’s Flaw. I’ve read many books, including those from both Stephen King and Christopher Paolini, that included such “extras,” and so felt an overzealous joy in including the information for dedicated readers. However, after some disagreeable feedback (“You do not need to justify the piece of work you have written.” and "Maybe there're some things you just shouldn't tell people right now."), I boiled the entry down to only reflect my gratitude, both to those who personally assisted me throughout the book as well as those who merely provided some of the necessary background information, and will be saving the back-history of the book for another day.

While I won’t be reprinting the Acknowledgements here, the current draft clocks in at approximately six (short) paragraphs.

Next up was the About the Author page, which varies wildly between books and can include education, work experience, personal information, links for further reading and more. As a newly published author, I felt it was important to not only introduce myself as candidly and professionally as possible (after all, not everyone will have read my blog), but also to stress the fact that my writing is ongoing and a personal, long-term goal.

With this in mind, I wrote several drafts, using About the Author biographies from King, Frank Herbert, George R.R. Martin and others as reference. Unfortunately, most of these proved useless as they mostly focused on the other’s other titles, so I tried Paolini and Elizabetha Kostova’s biographies (they were the first newly-published first-time authors I could think of who wouldn’t have their biographies retroactively adjusted to reflect their success).

Ultimately, though, I wrote something far different than any of the others I had read, ending with something similar to the new biography on the left-hand side of this page. Not too bad, eh?

Of course, we’re still a few weeks away from my proposed publication date, so the biography could still change rather dramatically.

As a teaser, I floated between the idea of including an excerpt from The Nobodies or only including a brief summary, a trailer if you will. The former has its advantages, as it could easily demonstrate the style used in The Nobodies as well as briefly hint at the characters used within; but, should the text change or the scene be adjusted, the preview would be false. The summary, on the other hand, reflects the entire work rather than only a scene and, without providing specifics, describes precisely what the read can look forward to, though it, too, can change.

After sleeping and mulling it over, I opted for the excerpt. One that, after having read Sanity's Flaw, would heighten a reader's interest. I think it's bloody perfect.

Later this week: The Cover