Get It Up Front!


This was me – or, perhaps, just a semblance of me – yesterday. I actually finished writing the second book of my Viking trilogy, Sons of Kings. I wrote the last sentence with a feeling akin to euphoria, as I’d been determined for weeks to get it finished by the end of November. (My personal version of NaNoWriMo, I think!) I’ve sent the last couple of chapters to my editor and – provided there are no massive amendments to be made – I hope to have the book on Amazon as soon as it’s been formatted. I’m aiming for Christmas, but I’ll see how things go.

Of course, I know only too well that I haven’t completely finished – and I’m not talking about all the promotion! I’ve now got to work on the ‘Front Matter’ (meaning, all the necessary information that goes at the front of the book before the actual story starts). And, of course, there’s the promotional blurb that goes on the Amazon sales page to do.

So, what does the Front Matter entail?

If you look at the front of any book – whether traditionally or digitally published – you’ll see several pages of details. Since my experience is only with ebooks, that’s obviously all I can talk about – and do remember that the front matter, and how it is organised, is down to individual authors.

With ebooks, after the cover design, there is usually a written title page, in large print, simply repeating what the cover says.

My book, Shadow of the Raven, says:



Millie Thom


I have this positioned in the middle of the page, but every author will choose his/her own style and where they want it on the page. I’ve seen some at the top, some similar to mine.

The Contents page that follows will link to all the chapters in your book. The links are simply so that readers can navigate their way easily around the book.

Next is often page with the Copyright © – plus related information. The ISBN if often included around here, if applicable. – Then comes a page with the dedication to the person(s) of your choice.

Some books have an ‘About The Book’ page, giving general information that the author wishes to be known. It could be background to the historical period, the book’s location – or whatever!  Other books have an Acknowledgements page.  Some books have neither.



Sometimes maps are put at the front and/or family trees. Both of these are familiar aspects of ‘otherworld’ fantasies and historical novels. Family trees are also common in family sagas. Finally, authors with previously published books may wish to add a good review or two, or other praise about the previous books. Of course, to be able to quote praise from fellow authors (preferably successful ones) is any writer’s dream!

So, here I am, about to sort out what I need for my Front Matter and get everything ready for formatting. I’ve already done a List of Characters, so that’s a start!

Pit of Vipers Final (Small)

Book Two of my trilogy is entitled Pit of Vipers and continues the story started in Book One, Shadow of the Raven. The three novels follow the lives and adventures of King Alfred of Wessex and Eadwulf of Mercia. I’ve had the cover for a while now and the designer is currently working on one to match it for Shadow of the Raven. I was never happy with the one you see in my side bar, and I want all three to be in the same style.

With my second book to be on Amazon soon I’d like to mention that if any bloggers out there would like a copy of Shadow of the Raven in exchange for an honest review, please contact me at Let me know whether you’d like a Mobi or ePub file.

To finish, here are a couple of quotes about self-publishing:

“Anyone who says it’s easy to self-publish a book is either lying or doing a shitty job.”  Nan  McCarthy

Authors today need a publisher as much as they need a tapeworm in their guts.”  

Rayne Hall

24 thoughts on “Get It Up Front!

    1. Thank you so very much. That means a lot to me. I feel as though I’ve neglected all the people whose posts I like to comment on for over a week now. I’ve been so wrapped up in my ‘ending’. Back to normal now, I hope. I really was determined not to be so stressed about things over Christmas! Now I’ve just got that thing called ‘Front Matter’ to sort out . . .

  1. Congratulations, Millie! I feel especially honored that you took a minute to stop by and comment on my coffee humor today. Thanks for that! 🙂 I enjoyed reading about your process in this post. I consider ‘process’ in everything ~ which often drives my husband crazy, I think, but I find it fascinating to know how things work, happen, are supposed to work or happen.. etc… Keep us updated!

    1. Thank you so much for the congrats, Robin! Yes, I’m rather like you in considering ‘process’. And self publishing needs a lot of thought – and time. I’ll certainly keep you updated, and I love reading your posts. They make me laugh, which I do appreciate. I love humour in everyday life. Writing a good ‘blurb’ for Amazon can be tricky, too – I mean, getting it just right. Better get back to it . . .!

    1. Thank you, Elsa. I’ve just got to finish off writing an Amazon blurb (more correctly, ‘product description’) and get the book formatted. I’m waiting to read yours, when you finish it!

  2. The self-publishing quotes are spot-on. Anyone who looks down on self-publishers clearly never tried it, and until they do, they’ve no right to make such offensive comments. Thanks for the information on this blog post! It’s really useful, as I’m about to get into formatting myself.

    I would love a review copy!

    1. Hi Mariella. Thank you for reading my post – and liking it! Self publishing is time consuming, to say the least, the promotion side of things being the most difficult. You certainly deserve congratulations for the books you’ve already got out there! It sounds as though you have a great future ahead of you in writing, so I wish you every success. Thanks for the email, too. I’m about to respond to that right now. Keep on writing . . .

  3. Good topic, I haven’t thought about how much front content you can to do for certain genres, like fantasy. Maps, character genealogy, it gets me thinking!

    1. I think maps are important in fantasy novels like yours, Shane. Readers need to know what the imaginary ‘Earth’ looks like, or even just a particular region. It’s the same with historical novels set at a time when countries and boundaries were different than they are today. I didn’t include maps in my first book – although I knew I should have! Two different reviewers have said to me that maps would have been useful. The same can apply to family trees/genealogies. I’m glad my post got you thinking – even if you decide not to bother with maps etcetera in the end.

      1. Right now I don’t have any completed fantasy novels, but on the one I’ve been working at I probably could.
        I’ve also been thinking about putting my early Farun stories together into free or cheap self-published works (like maybe 1 book per 100 entries or something) and rewriting them with more detail. If I did that, I’d definitely include maps and such. The trouble is making it look good, of course.

      2. Your last sentence is the very reason I haven’t got any maps in mine! If I knew of somewhere that did maps (cheaply!) I’d go right ahead and have a few done. The ones I’ve done myself are so obviously ‘school-type’ creations – which is only to be expected from me, I suppose. I spent umpteen years as a geography teacher, after all! Good luck with yours, anyway.

  4. I wouldn’t be too fussy about the style of your maps, Millie. A basic map would help get the world right in the reader’s head. I just looked up a 9th century political map (Viking raids) on Wikipedia and was surprised at Mercia’s location, expecting it to have more coastline. There are maps on Wikipedia under Creative Commons: Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported. These can be modified, and even used commercially, as long as you give attribution and allow the same usage rights on your modification. Like this one…

    A review for your wonderful first ‘Son of Kings’ novel will be up by weeks end. So glad I do not have to wait too long for the next. 😀

    1. Thank you so much for the info. about Wikimedia, Christine. I wouldn’t have thought to look there for maps. In fact, I haven’t used Wikimedia at all. If I can find some suitable ones I’ll get them uploaded. I really need two – one of the Anglo Saxon kingdoms and one of Scandinavia and the Baltic. Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me about this.
      (I’ll await your verdict on my book with trepidation!)

    1. Thank you, Heath. I’m just in the process of getting my second book onto Amazon. It’s a bit later than I’d hoped, but I’ve been constructing a couple of maps for each book. They were badly needed!
      Have a great Christmas, and keep on writing your poetry.

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