As my publication date grows near, I’m finding myself struggling a little bit on the emotional level. I see so many people whipping books out like it’s nothing, throwing them up on Amazon within a few weeks of each other, and it leaves me feeling useless. I know I have to get over this feeling, but at the same time, I suppose it’s part of the process. Anyway, today we are talking about one of the things I’m struggling with: Inside Matter or what I like to call, “the inside goodies.” I cannot say it enough how much I appreciate having Vania as a mentor, keep reading to see what I mean.
K: So. Let’s talk “inside matter”. The goodies of the book. What is the most important thing to remember when crafting the inside of your book?
V: to format it correctly. unjustified margins and spaces between paragraphs are unacceptable. it’s amazing how many people forget what a “real” book inside looks like.
K: Formatting. Is it centered? How do you advise an author to go about doing it correctly? Did you mention to me before about looking at other books?
V: Looking at other paperbacks helps tremendously. the margins are justified, there aren’t any spaces between paragraphs. No headers and footers where there aren’t supposed to be. I can’t tell you the number of books I’ve bought that isn’t fully justified. It’s insane.
V: The CreateSpace template, for those of us who don’t know how to set those kinds of parameters up in Word, is a big help.They have almost everything you need set up in the file already. You just need to copy and paste your book’s text into it.
K: I bought some books myself that had either big print, then small, or weren’t centered correctly. It’s def important.
Thank God for templates! What all needs to be included?
V: CreateSpace includes the Title Page, the Copyright Page, the Acknowledgement Page, the Dedication Page. They also include a Table of Contents that I delete. I don’t believe a fiction book needs a Table of Contents, it’s a pet peeve of mine. Besides the About the Author page in the back of the book, CreateSpace says, “You’re on your own.” So you can include anything you want back there.
K: Good to know. Let’s go back to the pet peeve. I agree I don’t pay attention to most of the front matter unless it’s a dedication or Prologue.
What else do you believe isn’t needed, but people throw in there?
V: I don’t think the front matter is the place to ask for newsletter sign-ups or ads for your other books. I think that can go in the back. Keep in mind when a person uses the look inside feature on Amazon, they want the first page–the meat of the story. They don’t want to wade through five pages of acknowledgments, or “A note from the author.” They want to know if they’re going to buy your book or not. That’s it. So don’t crap up your front with a lot of junk. Keep it professional. Paperbacks you can find in a store can do what they want–the reader has the power to skip through to the parts they want to check out. Online it’s different, and you only can read what Amazon will show you.
K: I always forget about Amazon having that feature to “look inside”. I should use it more often. So, let’s discuss back. What do you usually include in the your back?
V: What I included in the back is, my other books. my author page, my website. a plea for reviews. LOL for books one and two of my trilogy, I added the first couple scenes of the next book. but I couldn’t do that with book 3 since I don’t have another book started well enough I would want to include it
K: What should authors NOT include?
V: I’m not sure. I haven’t come across anything that turned me off. As a reader, I’m not sure how many people keep reading after they’ve finished the story.
I’ve read a couple books where the acknowledgments were so long the author did put them in the back. That can be something to think about if you have a ton of people who helped you with research.
If you write fantasy and have created a language or made up words, I suppose you could add a glossary of sorts.
K: What about maps? I’ve seen some people do those.
V: Maps are hard to format. I wanted to include one in Summer Secrets but decided it was too much work to make it fit. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to certain things. Formatting for the Kindle is a pain in the butt, and not everything you want to insert will convert correctly. If you want to get fancy, I always recommend hiring out so your files convert correctly.
K: Good to know. Formatting…the thing that may scare me more than getting edits back from the editor lol.
V: Yeah, formatting sucks. Conversion is iffy–you never know what will work and what won’t.
K: True. Well, I don’t think I have any other questions about inside matter. Is there anything you want to add?
V: Just that with the table of contents, if you publish outside of Kindle, other platforms for their e-readers will make you have one. Smashwords will put one in if you don’t, and so will Draft2Digital. I think it’s silly; I don’t think fiction needs a table of contents. But it’s a good thing to know if you decide to go wide and they put one in when you didn’t want one.
K: def makes me reconsider going wide.
V: For your paperback, table of contents are a personal choice. But to me, it’s some kind of weird myth spread among indies. I guess they think it makes the book look more professional or something. I have no idea. But it just goes back to taking a fiction book, looking through it. Seeing what’s in it.
K: Whew! A lot to consider when you finally get into the heart of putting your book together. Thanks Vania for the insights. I’ll be using this information as I begin drafting my own front matter.
Thoughts on the chat? What do you struggle with when you’re putting your own book together? If you haven’t published yet, what has you nervous about this whole process? Happy Reading and publishing everyone!
This will be our final chat and I have to tell you, I’m sad. I’ve really enjoyed getting together with Vania each week to pick her brain and enjoy conversation about books and publishing. However, I am knee-deep in editing and Vania is crafting yet another epic novel. Therefore, we end things here. We hope you’ve enjoyed these chats!
Links for “inside goodies” tips: