There are many things that can go into a book. The things that go into them can depend on the book type. Non-fiction will have more formatting to do than fiction. We’ll start with fiction then go into non fiction.

The Fiction Book

A fiction book doesn’t need much. The basic elements are:

  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • A Dedication Page (optional)
  • Table of Contents (Some fiction books skip this, but if you have chapter names and/or sections don’t. Most readers want a table of contents. Even if you don’t have chapter names most like it, but again, it is optional)
  • Break the main contents into it’s sections, parts, and chapters. (Most books just do chapters, but if you do more than that, make sure to break it up.)
  • About the Author
  • Links to websites (optional, but I wouldn’t skip this. It helps you get more readers and more sales)

All of this seems pretty simple, but can get complicated with what you choose to add and not add. For example, someone with a preface or prologue and epilogue will need to put them into their proper place.

Each of these sections have their own rules you can look up. If any of these sections have a link light on them, you can click on them to take you to a article about how each one these works. Most are self explained. The hardest is the copyright, but a link is provided for that.

Non-Fiction

This is much harder. The type of non-fiction book will have different things than the others. The basic lay out is much the same as a fiction book, but other information may need to be added. For example, you may need to add things like:

  • Works Cited, Bibliography, or Reference Page
  • Glossary
  • Introductions
  • Index
  • Footnotes
  • Pronunciation Guides

And there are many other things you may or may not need to add. Though it is a lot more work, at least these pieces are more flexible. Traditionally, most of this goes at the end expect for the introduction.

Another thing that makes this easier, is you can go by a style guide. Most fiction books use Chigaco style for their rules. However, you are the author. You get to pick what style you use. You can pick MLA, APA, or any other style.

You may want to pick your style by the kind of work you are writing. Ir you don’t know what style goes with your kind of work you can look it up easily. Those style guides will help you know the best format for your book.

General Tips

Formatting is a hard think to tackle with many ins and outs, many different options and lots of confusion to a beginner. One of the best things you can do is look at other books. Get five-eight books that are similar to yours from a book store or get their ebooks. Then flip through them to see how they lay out their books. You will find they vary a lot. So find which ones you like and go with those.

In the end, its your book. You can do what you like. Just remember: readers expect the book to follow some standard. A book that breaks all those rules will not be as credible to them. So keep the basic format, but also remember a lot is variable. Just play around. You’ll find your style in no time.

(If you have any questions, please post them in the comments and we will try to answer them as quick as we can.)

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