The front matter in a book refers to everything that appears just before the first chapter. While it may seem that this material is not as important as the contents of your actual chapters, a glowing foreword, well-thought-out preface, and detailed table of contents can mean the difference between a book that becomes a bestseller and one that languishes. In this section, you’ll find a brief description of each of the components that appear in the front matter of a typical Corwin book. Where relevant, we’ve also included excerpts from the front matter of what we feel are some of the best-developed Corwin titles.
This is an optional section of the front matter. A book’s dedication is usually more personal than the acknowledgments, and might include the names of relatives, friends, colleagues or others to whom you wish to dedicate the book.
Please discuss possible suggestions and arrangements for a foreword with your acquisitions editor. A foreword is written by someone other than the author and, in some cases, may be written by a specific individual suggested by your editorial team. It is an evaluative statement about your book and perhaps about your expertise—a prepublication review, in a sense—that highlights your book’s strengths and contributions. An ideal foreword serves as an endorsement—it’s written by someone who is well-respected in the field and provides a positive but objective view of your book.
In general, the foreword should range from two to five double-spaced manuscript pages, and the writer’s name, title, and affiliation should be included at the end of the statement. The foreword should be placed immediately after the table of contents and before the preface. Possible points to be addressed in the foreword include the following:
- The author’s qualifications for writing the book
- Special contributions the book makes to the field
- Who will be interested in the book, and why
- Ultimate significance of the book
The preface is an important selling tool that gives your readers an at-a-glance understanding of your book and explains exactly how it will help them in their practice. Your preface should contain the essential elements listed below. They should be covered in the order that makes the most sense to you and preferably be called out with subheadings so that the purpose and content of the book are easily discernible to our sales reps and to your potential readers. Subheadings chunk information for readers and help break up text.
Key elements to include in the preface:
- The origins of your book project – How did you come up with the idea for your book? Is there a related personal or professional anecdote associated with your book idea?
- An overview of how your book fits into a larger context – How is your book situated within or related to a particular historical context or an emerging trend?
- The rationale for writing your book and the reasons why readers should buy this book – Why did you write this book and why do people need it? Highlight (boldface or bullet) the 3 main reasons why readers should buy your book rather than other, similar books on the market. How will this book help their practice?
- The goals of the book – If people read your book, what will they be left with? What do you hope to instill in your readers and how will your book ultimately have an impact on schools, teachers, students, or others?
- The intended audience(s) and anticipated uses – Who is your book for and how exactly do you envision the book being used? If there are multiple audiences and uses, please explain this in as much detail as possible, as this will allow readers to imagine how they would use the book and how they might use it in conjunction with others.
- The overall approach and organization of your book – If your book takes a particular theoretical approach or follows a certain framework or model, this should be explained in this section. Ideally this section should also include a brief description of each part and/or chapter of the book, so readers get a sense of how the narrative will unfold and what they can expect to read about.
- A description of any special features and tools, including their purpose and location in the book – In this section, please describe the special features and practical tools you have in your book—both those that are reoccurring elements in each chapter and those that may appear in certain chapters or at the front or back of the book. Some examples of special features and tools include reflective questions and other pedagogy, templates, vignettes, boxed examples, organizers, matrices, rubrics, and correlation grids.
Special Note: If your book is a revision, please also include a “new to this edition” section that provides a brief narrative summary of the key changes to the new edition, along with a bulleted list of the more specific changes that readers will encounter throughout the book. Not only will this persuade readers to purchase the latest edition of a book, but it will ensure compliance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act, which requires publishers to describe the major differences or revisions between the current and previous editions of their books.
The preface may also include additional information you would like readers to have before they begin reading the introduction or first chapter.
You may wish to mention people who have contributed to your research or helped you with writing or revising your text. Acknowledgments can be a public thank you to those who have made a difference: associates, staff, family, students, peer reviewers, editors, or others. If you prefer, a short acknowledgments section can be added to the end of the Preface, instead of being set off on a separate page. Corwin will also add a list of your peer reviewers and their affiliations to this section.
About the Author(s)
Along with your manuscript, please send us a brief biographical sketch. Biographical sketches should be approximately 250 words and should be included for each individual author working on a project. A biographical sketch should begin with your current position and should contain your title, affiliation, the focus of professional pursuits, and other relevant information you wish to share with your readers.
Please provide a color photo for each author. The photos will be printed in the front matter of the book alongside the author bio(s), and will also be placed on the website. Basic guidelines for author photos are as follows:
- The image should be high quality (at least 1000 x 1000 pixels in dimension with a minimum resolution of 300 ppi)
- The author should be the primary subject and should occupy most of the image
- The background should be simple, without any distractions or shadows
- The author’s clothing should contrast with the background, so the author will stand out
An introduction is an optional component of your book, and it may vary in length and coverage depending on your preferences. In many cases, authors have a long introduction that also serves as the first chapter of their book; in other instances, a very short introduction is included just before the first chapter. In general, an introduction provides the reader with information that should be read before the rest of the book and explains to the reader how they can get the most from the chapters that follow. The introduction should not include material already covered in other sections of the front matter, although some authors prefer to explain the organization and overall flow of the book in the introduction instead of in the preface.
Table of Contents
The table of contents is one of the most important sections of your book. If readers are unable to quickly skim your table of contents and grasp the overall content coverage, they will be less likely to delve into the book, confused about how it may differ from other books on the market, and skeptical about what they will really gain from purchasing it. For the online version of your book (the ebook), the table of contents is an important tool that readers use to click through chapters and specific subsections within the book. Finally, the table of contents also provides our sales reps with a quick-reference roadmap, so that they can easily walk customers through all of the sections and chapters.
With that in mind, please provide us with a detailed table of contents that not only includes a listing of all parts, chapter titles, and front and back matter components, but that also includes the main headings, subheadings, and the titles of any special features that appear within the chapters. If the detailed table of contents becomes very long, consider also submitting an additional, brief table of contents that simply lists the chapter titles. Your acquisitions editor may consider including both the brief and detailed table of contents in your book.
Note: Do not include page numbers in your table of contents, as this will be handled by the Corwin Production team.