Adding Front & Back Matter

Front and Back Matter - Formatting Professional Book Layouts with Atticus tutorial featured Image

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. 

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 that Atticus provides for every new book. Ready to get started? Let’s dive in.

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 or introduction that give context to the book. 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 acknowledgment of those who helped bring the book to fruition, or an author bio 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.

Atticus has a selection of preset layouts for the most common front and back matter pages. You can learn more about them and how best to use each in our tutorial, Preset Layouts.

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 does 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.”

Screenshot of the title page options showing the one click to Convert to Full Page image
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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.

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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.

screenshot of the copyright templates available within Atticus
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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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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: 07/17/2023

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