By Bobbi Linkemer, from her book How to Write a Nonfiction Book: From planning to promotion in 6 simple steps (used by permission)
There are six parts of a nonfiction book. What follows is a list of those parts in order of their appearance and what each one contains if you choose to include it.1. Front cover: title, author’s name, illustration or type, and perhaps an endorsement or line from a favorable review
2. Spine: title, author’s name, publisher
3. Front matter:
- Copyright page: (required) provided by the publisher; title, author’s name, copyright date, copyright rules, country of publication, ISBN, Library of Congress number, publisher and location, and contact information.
- Foreword: written by an expert in the field; may be mentioned on the cover
- Preface: explains why and how you wrote the book; can tell your story in a personal way
- Introduction: practical guide to using the book; explains what the book is about, why it was written, and how it should be read
- Acknowledgments: recognizes people who provided assistance in some aspect of the book
4. Chapters: (required) content—research, narrative, quotes from interviewees, resource materials, graphics—separated into sections and labeled with main headings and subheads; bulk of the writing
5. Back matter:
- Bibliography: acknowledges sources; provides list of references to dig more deeply into the subject
- Appendices: background information or detail; scientific data, charts, reports, and detailed explanations without ruining the flow of main text
- Glossary: optional, alphabetically arranged dictionary of terms peculiar to the subject of the book
- Epilogue: one last thought
- Index: two types—subject-matter and analytical; should be written by professional indexer
5. Back cover: description of main features, category, brief bio and photo of author, publisher, ISBN, bar code, and price
What you need; what you don’t
This list encompasses every section you could write if you wish to; but other than the copyright page, the chapters, and (according to many experts) an index, they are all optional. This is particularly true of the back matter. A bibliography is only necessary if you consult resources. If you are able to include all relevant material in your chapters, you won’t need one or more appendices. If you don’t feel it necessary to define terms or did so in the copy, there is no need for a glossary. Chances are slim you will need an epilogue for the “one last thought” you did not fit in your last chapter.
In the front matter, you write the preface in first person (I, my, mine) and the introduction in third person (he, she, his, hers). A foreword lends credibility, and acknowledgments show good manners.
Bobbi Linkemer is a ghostwriter, editor, and the author of 17 books under her own name. She has been a professional writer for 45 years, a magazine editor and journalist, and a book-writing teacher. http://www.WriteANonfictionBook.com