So I’ve written about what you should put at the back of your ebook. Over on LinkedIn, Denise Wakeman raised the issue, sparking an excellent discussion. (She suggested a great possibility that I hadn’t thought of: an opt-in link for your newsletter/mailing list.)
The discussion then turned to what should go at the front of an ebook.
You know those pages at the front of a print book that get lowercase roman numerals instead of regular arabic page numbers — the boring stuff that you usually flip through so you can start reading? That’s called the book’s front matter.
Now, tradition has set the front matter of print books fairly rigidly for a while now. According to my trusty Chicago Manual of Style, it runs something like this, with each item given a separate page or section: half-title page, series title or frontispiece, title page, copyright page, dedication, epigraph, table of contents (TOC), list of illustrations, list of tables, foreword, preface, acknowledgements, introduction (unless it’s part of the body of the book). Then you get, you know, the book. (Except for the title page and copyright page, these are all optional, by the way.)
In an ebook, where navigation can be non-linear, we often move some of the less essential, bulkier bits (i.e., TOC, lists of illustrations and tables) to the back, trusting that the reader will be able to find them easily using the Contents button. (I often link to the appropriate entry in the list of illustrations from the image’s caption.) The half-title page (the one often signed by authors and gift-givers) has been jettisoned. Not too many ebook signings.
You’ll notice, however, that there’s a commonly used section that’s missing from that list, and it became a major topic of debate in the LinkedIn discussion: blurbs. Continue reading 1 Thing That SHOULDN’T Go at the Front of Your Ebook