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