News for Writers & Readers

Front Matter Matters

Preface or prologue? Foreword or introduction? How much do you know about the stuff that comes before “the real book”? Let’s break it down.

  • Foreword: Prefatory comments for a book. A foreword is written by someone other than the author. The foreword (not foreward or forword) is styled like the rest of the text and typically is only a page or two long. The name and affiliation of the person writing the foreword appears at the end, with a little space separating it from the text. The foreword and other front matter use small roman numerals for page numbers (i, ii, iii, iv, etc.). 
  • Preface: A preface includes the introductory remarks of an author and is styled like the rest of the text. Prefaces are typically used only in nonfiction and include the author’s reasons for writing about the topic, research methods, limitations, scope, and sometimes brief acknowledgements. It need not be signed, but if it is, the author’s name or initials appear at the end.
  • Introduction: An introduction, also used only in nonfiction, addresses the subject of the book, supplements and introduces the text, provides a framework, and may indicate the author’s main argument or point of view. The introduction, although it precedes the main text, is treated as part of the main text. The first page of the introduction is page 1. 
  • Prologue: Used only in fiction. If a novel has a prologue, it often also has an epilogue. Prologues (and epilogues) are styled and numbered like the main text. 

All of these front matter elements are optional, but if you include them in your book, they should appear in the sequence listed above.

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“How to Hire and Work with an Editor” Workshop


Are you ready for an editor? Or maybe wondering what exactly editors do and how they can help writers? Check out the “How to Hire and Work with an Editor” workshop taught by Savvy Communication owner Susan Lindsey. The workshop is part of the Louisville Free Public Library Local Author Fair on Dec. 1, 1–4 p.m., 301 York St. See details under “Events.”