Book Anatomy: Revisiting Your Book’s Back Matter

by | May 6, 2019

I’ve recently been writing a series on Book Anatomy for the BookWorks site, and the most recent article just went live last week.

In taking the opportunity to revise my own work of about 10 years ago on the Parts of a Book I found a number of places where the list could be updated or made more practical for indie authors.

In the coming weeks I’ll be incorporating this updated material into The Book Blueprint and other writings on how books are constructed.

But why wait? Here’s the beginning of the new article with a link to the rest. Enjoy.

Book Anatomy 101, Know Your Parts: Back Matter

In the previous two posts in our Book Anatomy 101 series, we looked at the range and organization of your book’s front matter, and the main body of the book. We’ll wrap up the lesson with a review of back matter, everything that comes after the book itself is finished.

All the Information You Want the Reader to Know

Authors and publishers have found lots of uses for this part of the book. It’s the default location for the kinds of information authors would like to provide for readers, but which doesn’t fit in easily anywhere else in the book.

For instance, sections of back matter can be created to provide the reader with definitions of important terms used the book, to offer resources for readers who would like to research further, or for a variety of other reasons.

In some books, the back matter can become a bit like a basement storage locker: the place we throw things we know we might need, but can’t figure out what else to do with them.

In any event, savvy book publishers know that there are specific kinds of information readers, buyers, librarians, and others will look for in your back matter.

Any larger work of scholarship, for instance, should contain a human-generated, multi-level subject index, and the book will seem incomplete without it.Book anatomy 101 Back Matter by Joel Friedlander for

So review this list in light of what your own book might need, and go from there.

Back Matter Menu of Sections


tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Writer's Resist

    I have not written a book yet so this is interesting to read your thoughts. Do you think there is a direct correlation between the quality of a book and the amount of time you take to write it? (Ex: taking 10 years to write, edit, revise, etc. your book is better than only 5 years)

    • Sharon Goldinger


      No, I don’t think there is a direct correlation. I’ve seen books that are good and bad that took many years and other books written in 60 days that were terrific. It all has to do with the writing–not time.

  2. michael n, marcus

    Online sales of pbooks (and of course ebooks) may motivate authors to move some items from front matter to the back of the book.

    When I had written just two previous books it was logical to put them in a list up front in book number three. Now that my total is over 40, the list (with some cover photos) is in the back. I don’t want online browsers to be distracted or delayed from reading words that might convince them to buy the book they are considering.

    I’ve also moved thank-yous rearward.



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