Dear BookBaby: the parts of a book explained


From the inbox: BookBaby author K.D. chapman wrote:

Hi Steven!

“BookBaby just helped me publish my first book, Modeling Manhood: Adam Sandler’s Portrayals of Masculinity and Manhood and it was a great experience.  I had a few issues with remembering things like remembering to attribute cover art and a couple of other details.  

Now I am getting ready to send you my novel.  What I need – and probably everyone else does too – is a printable check list to make sure I have all my ducks in a row.  Title Page, Acknowledgements, Copyright/ISBN/ – I’m sure you get the drift.  That way, before I send it to you it is all together and in the correct order.  

 So, can you help me with such a thing?

You’ve got it, K.D.!

To help answer this question, I didn’t have to go very far to find a solution. My colleague Chris Robley has been doing an amazing job in writing and compiling great information on the BookBaby blog. I found this post on the components of a printed book back in October; it’s an excerpt from Printed Book Design 101, written by Joel Friedlander of The Book Designer, and provides a simple explanation for each part of a book’s “front matter” and “back matter” (title page, copyright page, table of contents, epilogue, etc.)

This is the kind of important nuts and bolts information that’s vital for every self-published author like K.D. “I write both nonfiction and fiction, and while I might not need everything listed for all my books, it’s useful to have this information,” she said. “It’s easy to get sidetracked and forget to include something as important as this.”

Modeling Manhood is K.D.’s first book, published and distributed through BookBaby. “I was all set to self-publish my book all by myself,” said K.D. from her Stockton, CA home. “But when I tried to convert my document, all of the formatting for hundreds of movie title names in my book had to be fixed. I quickly decided – nope, I’m going to turn this over to BookBaby instead!”

That got me thinking about some other great technical posts from the past about the elements of making a book that need to be revisited. Here’s a list of some recent gems as compiled by Chris:

Have a question about self-publishing a book? Drop me an email at and I’ll see what I can dig up!

Printed Book Design 

Steven Spatz is a writer, marketer, and the President of BookBaby, the nation’s leading self publishing services company. Spatz’s professional writing career began at age 13, paid by the word to bang out little league baseball game stories on an ancient manual typewriter for southern Oregon weekly newspapers. His journalism career continued after graduation from the University of Oregon at several daily newspapers in Oregon. When his family took over a direct marketing food business, Spatz redirected his writing and design skills into producing catalogs. The Pinnacle Orchards catalog was named "Best Food Catalog," received dozens of other national awards, and the business grew into one of the nation’s largest gourmet fruit gift businesses. After the company was sold, Spatz continued his direct marketing career with Fortune 500 companies including Mattel and Hasbro. He joined AVL Digital in 2004 to lead the direct-to-consumer marketing teams for music industry-leading brands Disc Makers, Oasis, and CD Baby. After serving as Chief Marketing Officer, Spatz was tapped to lead the company’s new publishing division in late 2014. In 2019, the AVL Digital Management team purchased the New Jersey brands, including BookBaby. The company is headquartered in Pennsauken, NJ (just outside Philadelphia, PA) and meets the printed book and eBook needs of thousands of self-publishing authors around the globe. Spatz lives in Glenside, PA with his two children, a demented cat, and some well-used bicycles. Steven loves to hear from authors, editors, and publishers in the BookBaby community with tales of publishing trials and triumphs. To tell him your story, write to


  1. Can I please get a legitimate answer to this question?
    I am writing a non=fiction book for the first time.
    It is a biography.
    I am planning to write a preface, which is by the author, from what I can gather.
    Should the preface be written in the first person, or can it be in the third person?
    How do you recommend I handle this?
    Thank you for your help.
    Bob Chapman


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