So it is with stepping from reading, to writing, to submitting, to publishing, to becoming self published. There's all the stuff that has different names. What seemed like a straightforward reference to a particular portion of the book is not what it seemed. (This isn't First Grade anymore.) And looking it up before speaking only leads to finding great information but on a different path. Does that mean do more listening? It means learning the terminology.
Foot in Mouth
The front matter of an ebook title page, copyright page, and table of contents. There are other parts of a book that are considered front matter. Those are probably what were in the novice's mind as they posed the question. There will be polite responses that attempt to guide. Don't be dismayed. Writers and authors are busy people. They're not in the business of tutoring while they're attempting to make a living at their craft.
Ask the Right Questions
So listen and learn the terminology, the lingo. Because we're so carefree with terminology (and sometimes because it's simply so basic it isn't even discussed), it's important to look up the terms to be certain you know how a term is being used. Yes, it would be ideal to have a mentor. Mentors are people who have the time to guide another. You can find them in discussion groups, professional and fraternal organizations. You can also find assistance from sites that provide professional services - for a fee. Having a professional do the work is going to cost money. If your budget doesn't have that space, your learning and development will be even stronger because you're going to get hands-on application with knowing what it is you seek. It's also called "trial and error" and at other times it's considered practice. Do it; test; see the mistakes; fix them; test again. But at least you have a greater awareness of what it is you're talking about and what you're requesting a service provider (professional) to do.
Let's say you do have the budget to have a service provider do the work for you. You tell them what you want. You need to do some screening. (No, not silk screening nor film screening; those are something else.) They need to be asking you questions to be certain they understand what you want. You're forming a meeting of the minds, a contract for services, that is the foundation for the exchange of money for product. Furthermore, you need to be asking questions about their level of expertise. You need to be aware of whether this is the first time the gig worker or organization volunteer has done this type of work or whether they have three or four projects under their belt. Where can you find representations of their finished product, their work samples?
Just the Beginning
So there you are. You want to create and publish your digital book. Now you realize "front matter" isn't the same thing in all cases.
By now and because of your research and listening, you've come to the realize that there's also formatting that needs to be done. It needs to be applied to different parts of the digital book in different ways because the publishing processor sees the different parts as separate sections. You need to ask the processor to handle publishing your masterpiece in the proper way. There's book cover. There's the front matter. There's formatting and saving. There's using the right template and properly formatting it.
And then there's the manuscript. It's another story. But the creation of the manuscript, and the various things that are embodied in it, is probably the predominant part of the conversations you've been listening to in those discussion groups. They're all important. But it's essential to understand the language and speak it before you ask for help and get a surprise.
- Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines
- How to make and publish an eBook
- 5 Steps to Self Publishing
- How To Format Your E-Book (the Non Migraine-Inducing Way)
Formatting the parts of an ebook
- Lulu Ebook Creator Guide
- EPUB Conversion: Prepare Your Manuscript for eBook Conversion
- One Thing You Shouldn’t Put at the Front of Your Ebook
- Smashwords Style Guide
- Self-Publishing Basics: How to Organize Your Book’s Front Matter
- Best Practices: Front Matter for eBooks by Section
- Kindle Formatting: Requirements for the Kindle Book Cover Image