The Back Matter of a Book: 17 Sections You Can Include

POSTED ON May 2, 2024

Shannon Clark

Written by Shannon Clark

Home > Blog > Book Design > The Back Matter of a Book: 17 Sections You Can Include

The back matter of a book, matters. Did you see what I did there?

Every part of a book’s design has a purpose, and the back of the book has a specific one. It is a beautifully formatted catch-all for the extras you want people to know about the book they just read, you as the author, or others who played a role in the book’s creation (directly or indirectly).

The back matter of a book is also an easy way to capture your reader’s attention about other products and services you offer while they still have your book in their hands. Once your book is put back on the shelf, you are no longer top-of-mind. Hook your reader with the extras while they can still be caught.

What you put in the back of your book can depend on whether your book is fiction or nonfiction, but some sections like the About the Author are universal. If you’re unsure what you should place in the back of your book, you’ll find a list below that includes the purpose for each section, what it includes, and when you should use it. 

1. Author Page (fiction and nonfiction) 

Usually written in the third person, the author page offers a short bio of the author. It’s a great place to tell the reader who you are, what qualifies you to write about the subject matter, and any additional details you’d like to include like where you live and write. Every author page should include:

Professional profile picture

Profile pictures are optional but creating a professional-looking one is not. Readers not only want to know what you look like but they will also judge your author brand by your photo. If you choose to add one to your author page, make sure it puts you in the best light. 


The opening statement is a synopsis of who you are and what you offer the reader.
Megan Streller is a #1 New York Times bestseller and the author of “Far from the Shadows and Light.” 


The interior content will build on your first sentence by giving the reader more details about your qualifications and other books you’ve written. 

She is the recipient of both the Literary Gold Award and World Fiction award and has written over 40 books, with five optioned for movies. 


A closing leaves your readers with something personal that you’d like to share.

She resides near the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains in Tennessee with her husband and two daughters.

back matter of the book - About the Author sample

2. Acknowledgments (fiction and nonfiction)

This is the section that allows you to show your appreciation to those who helped you with your book directly like editors, writing partners, and designers. It’s also a great idea to include those who’ve helped you indirectly like your family, mentors, friends, beta readers, and whoever else you want to include. 

3. Note from the Author (fiction and nonfiction)

A Note from the Author are the remarks found at the beginning or end of the book. It’s an opportunity to share insight about the writing process, the journey, the motivation behind the characters (fiction) or simply as a thank you note to readers. 

4. Bibliography (nonfiction)

All sources that you use for quotes and research must be cited in your book. A bibliography is a list in the back of your book that gives details about each resource used. Bibliographies are formatted according to style guide rules (e.g. Chicago Manual of Style, APA, AP).  

Any of the following details (and others) could be necessary:

  • Author’s name
  • Title
  • Date of publication
  • Place of publication
  • URL
  • Date of access (if online)

Depending on which style guide you use, there are several sites, like Scribbr, that automate your citations, so they are done correctly. 

back matter of a book - stack of books

5. Endnotes (nonfiction)

Endnotes are markers throughout the book that indicate that more details are available. Superscript numbers (sometimes letters) are added to the end of a sentence. A reader can search for the number in the back of the book to get more detailed information.

6. Index (nonfiction)

An index is a convenient list of words (or phrases) and associated pages that are referenced in the book. It’s a convenient way to find the information you need instead of relying solely on the limitations of the Table of Contents. 

7. Resource List (fiction and nonfiction)

Use a resource list when you want to suggest additional supportive material or tools to help deepen a reader’s knowledge about your book’s subject matter. The list can include website links, purchase information, or whatever they need to access the suggested material. 

8. Glossary (fiction and nonfiction)

If you have words in your book that readers may not be familiar with, you can create a glossary that includes the words you reference and their definitions. This is especially useful for highly technical books and books with a lot of industry jargon.

9. Excerpt from next book (fiction and nonfiction)

A great way to hook your readers and get them interested in your next book is to share a chapter or two right after they finish reading. Once they read it, you can include presale or sale information and a link to where they can make a purchase. 

10. Discussion Questions (fiction and nonfiction)

Discussion questions are usually found at the end of each chapter or in the back matter divided by chapters. Offering readers questions to consider helps them delve deeper into the content and get more out of their reading experience. Discussion questions are also a great way to spark conversations in book clubs. 

11. Contact information (fiction and nonfiction)

Contact information includes your website address, active social media platforms, contact email, and P.O. Box or business mailing address.

12. Permissions (nonfiction)

This is a list of use permissions gained for copyrighted material like images, illustrations, lyrics, and trademarks

Similar to the resources section, recommended reading includes suggested books to gain a deeper understanding of your book’s subject matter.

back matter of a book - book recommendations

14. Appendix (nonfiction)

An appendix combines many of the areas listed in this list like a recommended reading, resource list, and any additional information you want to share. Appendices provide a way to organize information and make it convenient for readers to access.  You can have multiple indexes that are categorized by theme and listed as A, B, C, etc. 

On rare occasions, you’ll find an appendix in fiction. (e.g., Lord of the Rings)

15. Epilogue (fiction)

This is the wrap-up of a fiction book that adds closure. Maybe you show what happens to a couple a year later in a romance novel. Epilogues are also found in memoirs to tell readers where the author is currently.

16. Marketing for Other Services (fiction and nonfiction)

If you offer additional services outside of book writing like public speaking, coaching,  or consulting, the back matter of a book offers ample space for you to encourage readers to sign up for your next program, book you for a talk, or set up a free consultation. 

17. Other Books (fiction and nonfiction)

These can be yours or other authors under your imprint. This is used for marketing purposes and is different from Recommended Reading

Other Books by the Author, is where you share thumbnails of your other books and links to where they can be purchased. You can also offer an “Other Books Under ‘Name of Imprint’ or “Other Cozy Mysteries to Explore” (or whatever genre you write in) where you would share other author books that you’ve collaborated with to support each other. 

Final Thoughts

Grab a stack of books (fiction or nonfiction) and flip to the back of each. You’ll notice that each one looks different. They’ll have similarities like an author page or a bibliography, but if done right, they’ll each be designed with the reader in mind.

Whatever you choose to include in the back matter of a book, remember to put your reader first. It’s all about enhancing their reading experience and offering additional resources so that they can learn more. 

In the end, offering robust back matter will benefit you as much as your reader. By taking the extra steps to ensure that they get more out of the book than expected, the end result will be a big spotlight shining on you as the author. Readers like the feeling of being taken care of. Who doesn’t? It might take more work, but it will elevate your author brand and create repeat buyers of your books.

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Shannon Clark

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Shannon Clark

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