Formatting

Front and Back Matter Preset Page Layouts

Atticus is designed to give you as much control over the format of your book as possible, while still adhering to industry standards and keeping the learning curve as simple as possible. This includes quick presets you can use to create special page types for your front and back matter.

You may not have the type of minute control over detail that a program like InDesign offers, but you will be able to create unique pages within your manuscript to suit as many common book formatting needs as possible. 

Whether you’re a seasoned author or a beginner, understanding the significance of front and back matter and how to format these pages properly is crucial for creating professional, ready-to-publish books. The front and back matter not only give the reader context and supplementary information about your book but also lend it a professional look and feel, enhancing its credibility. 

We have dedicated tutorials to help you learn how to format your book as a whole, and how to customize your theme design, but this post will focus specifically on the different presets available in Atticus, so you can choose the one(s) that best suit your needs. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of front and back matter, show you how to position and move pages in Atticus, and discuss the auto-generated pages and preset layouts that Atticus provides for every new book. 

Basics of Front and Back Matter

In the context of a book, ‘Front Matter’ and ‘Back Matter’ refer to the information presented before and after the main content of the book, respectively.

Front Matter is the section of the book that appears before the main body of text. It primarily provides essential details about the book, its author, and its publication, but can also offer some preliminary content that readers may find helpful in understanding the book.

It sets the stage for the book. In addition to key publication information, it can also include elements such as a preface, acknowledgments, or introduction that give context to the book or acknowledge those who helped bring the book to fruition. In short, the Front Matter prepares the reader for what’s to come and offers a formal introduction to the book.

The Back Matter, on the other hand, offers additional information that complements or supplements the main content of the book. This might include endnotes or footnotes, an index for easy navigation, a glossary for understanding key terms, or an author biography for readers who want to learn more about the author. The Back Matter enhances the reader’s understanding and often encourages further exploration of the book’s content or themes, and helps encourage readers to follow the author beyond the pages of the individual book.

Separation of Front Matter, Body, and Back Matter

In Atticus, you’ll find the Front Matter section is separated from the Body by a line in the left navigation panel. This is primarily because industry standards require standard pagination to begin on the first page of the Body section. To do so, the body must be separated from the front matter. 

Any pages in your book that appear before the Table of Contents, such as the Title page or Copyright page, will not have a page number. Any page that appears after the Table of Contents but remains in the Front Matter section, before the body content, will be numbered with Roman numerals.

The Back Matter pages will continue with the standard pagination and do not need to be separated from the body content.

Moving Pages within Atticus

When you import a manuscript from a .docx file, all your content will automatically be added to the Body section, including any pages you want to be in the Front Matter. 

Moving them into place is as easy as clicking on the page title from the left navigation panel, dragging it to where you want it to be located, and dropping it there. 

You can move pages whenever and wherever necessary, and Atticus will automatically update the page numbers, automated chapter numbers and, of course, the Table of Contents. 

Automatically Generated Pages

Atticus automatically includes certain pages with each book: a Title page, Copyright page, and Table of Contents. 

Title Page

The Title page is created based on the details you input for your book. While this is fully functional, it may or may not reflect the style you want for your book. If you prefer, you can design a title page to match the cover or other aesthetics of your book instead. Be sure to size the image to match the trim settings of your print book before importing into Atticus. 

From the Title Page, click the link at the top that says “Convert to Full Page Image.”

From here, you can upload your title page image and choose either to extend the image to the margins of your book, or to full bleed.

Copyright Page

Next, let’s look at the copyright page. This is automatically generated by Atticus with every new or imported book. You can simply adjust a few details for your book, or you can copy and paste your own copyright information into this page to maintain the industry standard formatting.

NOTE: Pasting from other programs will often bring foreign coding with it, causing the odd formatting issues. Whenever you’re pasting into Atticus we recommend pasting without formatting by pressing CTRL or CMD + SHIFT + V or right clicking and choosing “paste as plain text”

This should clear up and prevent formatting issues but you will have to go back and reapply any special formatting you may want, such as URLs, italicized or bolded text, etc.

The template that is automatically generated is a “Simple Copyright.” If you click the three dots beside the Add Chapter button at the bottom of the left navigation panel, you will see that Atticus also offers advanced Copyright template options, including:

  1. General Fiction Copyright
  2. General Nonfiction Copyright
  3. Public Domain Copyright

NOTE:  The copyright templates within Atticus should not be taken as legal advice. They serve as a basic guide for authors to start from, but may not cover specific legal needs for every unique situation. If your book includes sensitive or potentially contentious content, it’s always wise to consult with a professional copyright lawyer or legal professional to ensure you are fully protected.

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Table of Contents

The Table of Contents is not directly editable, though you can choose certain aspects to include or not include, based on the content of your book. 

If you are working on a single volume book, you will have the option to show or hide the following Settings:

  1. Show Subtitles
  2. List Subheads
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If you are creating a box set or a book with multiple Parts or Volumes, you will see additional options appear as you add sections to your book. You will need to check the boxes in order to see additional options, as applicable.

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If you have any specific pages or chapters that you would like to hide in the TOC, click on that specific page in your book to open it in Atticus. Near the title of the page you’ll see a gear icon. Click to reveal page setting options. At the bottom you’ll find the option to “Hide in Table of Contents.”

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Preset Layouts

You can adjust any regular chapter using the Chapter menu options, but Atticus also has a variety of preset layouts that will help you match general industry standards for different page types. 

If you click the three dots beside the Add Chapter button, you’ll find a menu listing for Preset Layouts with your options. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

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Standard Chapter Formatting

Certain page types are treated the same as chapters, but authors like to apply specific type-setting to the pages for internal references. The following page presets use the same formatting as a standard chapter:

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Prologue

This section of your novel is considered outside the main plot story, but will always be closely related to it.

You might use a prologue to introduce a character or setting, or provide relevant background information for the main event to come.

Similar to an introduction, a prologue is typically placed in the main body content of a book, before the first chapter, and is therefore not technically front matter.

Epilogue

An epilogue is very similar to a prologue, but it occurs at the end of your story, though usually separate from the main plot. It might offer a glimpse of the future to share a sense of closure with your readers, or entice them to read the next in a series or collection.

Similar to the prologue, the epilogue should be placed in the main body content of your book and is therefore not technically back matter.

Simplified Chapter Formatting

Certain page types are best displayed with simplicity, but otherwise using standard page type formatting. The following page presets use a simple chapter title (title only, no other decorations), and remove the first sentence formatting from the body content. 

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Blurbs

A blurb is typically a 1-2 line endorsement provided by a celebrity or well-known authority. You can also use this specially formatted page to share an editorial review.

When publishing through KDP, the first few pages of your book can be seen using the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon, and blurbs are a great way to capture interest and show social proof for your book.

Foreword

A foreword is a section of a book written by someone other than the author, often to provide context on the book itself or to share unique insight. It is much more common in non-fiction books, and frequently written by a subject matter authority.

Forewords are also common if the book is being published post-mortem or if it is an improved or expanded upon edition. 

If your book includes both a foreword and a preface, the foreword should come first.

Preface

A preface is most commonly found in non-fiction books. It’s an opportunity for the author to share a personal story, build credibility as a subject matter expert, or otherwise begin the relationship with each reader. 

A preface can also be used to explain why the book was written, or what the author’s connection to the subject matter might be.

Introduction:

An introduction is designed to prepare your readers for what to expect in the main body of the book.

Introductions are most commonly used in non-fiction and are a great space to explain who you are, why you are writing the book, and what readers should expect to gain from reading the book.

Introductions are often placed in the body of the book, before the first chapter, and are therefore not strictly considered front matter.

Afterword

The afterword is an opportunity for the author to offer any final explanations about the book, and is most common in non-fiction. Some books include this as part of the body content whereas others will place it in the back matter.

Acknowledgements

The acknowledgements page is a place to say thank you to anyone or anything who has helped make the book possible. Being a part of the back matter, authors will often use acknowledgements to recognize a number of sources, or offer more detail about why the source is being recognized.

About the Author

This page is for authors to share their bio with their readers. How it is written will depend on the genre you write as well as your desired relationship with your audience.

The Author bio page is usually written in third person and shares information about the author such as where they are from, what their hobbies and sources of inspiration are, how and why they became an author, or why they write the type of content they write.

Dedication

Not all books include dedications, but many authors choose to share a special thank you to someone(s) who have made an impact on the writing of the book. This may be on a personal or professional level and can range from heartfelt to comedic and anything in between.

Dedication text is traditionally center aligned.

Formatting:

  • No chapter title
  • Text is center aligned
  • Text begins at the very top of the page
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Epigraph

Epigraphs are sometimes included at the beginning of books. They’re typically a quote, poem, or verse that acts as an intriguing segue or set up for the content to come and are typically formatted as a block quote.

Formatting:

  • No chapter title
  • Text is formatted as a block quote 
  • Text begins at the very top of the page
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Also By

Some books include the Also By information on the same page as the author bio, but many have a separate page dedicated to sharing more works by the same author or publishing house that the reader might be interested in. This page can be a very powerful marketing tool. 

The text on this page is typically center aligned.

Formatting:

  • Simple chapter title (title only, no other decorations)
  • Text is centered on the page
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Conclusion

By now, you should have a good understanding of the importance of front and back matter and how to incorporate them seamlessly into your book using Atticus. From arranging the order of pages to making the most of automatically generated pages like the Title and Copyright pages, you’ve mastered the essential elements that bring polish to your finished book. 

Remember, the front and back matter of your book are more than just bookends to your main content. They’re valuable tools that provide context, clarify your content, and invite your readers to explore more of your work. So don’t overlook these details; use what you’ve learned in this tutorial to make every page of your book count.

Last Updated: 02/14/2024

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