book parts

Book Parts: The 10 Most Important Parts

Salmaan Ahmad

Salmaan Ahmad

May 15, 2024

As an author, do you really have to worry about 10 book parts? Developing a compelling story or gathering key facts are the first elements authors think of when they set out to write a book. While excellent writing and strong content development are both critical elements of authoring a book, other parts of book development are just as important in creating a strong literary work.

From the front cover to the smallest details, what a reader sees and how an author presents their book’s contents all contribute to making a gorgeous book that readers will love. If you are self-publishing your book, focus on getting these 10 important book parts right so the final printed copy of your book will attract the right readers, appear professionally crafted, and look great on the shelf.

1. Book Parts: Title and Cover Design

A book’s title is the primary content that potential readers will see on book lists, genre compilations, or even when a book is referenced directly. So crafting a unique title while still reflecting the book’s contents is a challenge every author faces.

Coming up with a title not already claimed by another book is key to avoiding confusion in potential readers. Injecting a small difference between two similar titles can make a difference in your reader’s ability to find your book while avoiding complicated phrasings or difficult-to-spell words can also make your title more memorable with potential readers. A great title should:

  • reflect the feel of the book without giving away the story or surprise twist
  • match genre expectations (your romance novel title shouldn’t sound like a murder mystery book)
  • create excitement or anticipation in a potential reader

While the title is important when potential readers are looking at a listing of books they might like, thumbnail pictures of a cover or even the physical book cover are how many readers will see your book for the first time. Readers do judge a book by its cover, so having one that looks cheaply made, poorly designed, or completed as an afterthought can turn off potential readers.

Not every author is skilled in graphic design, so many self-publishing authors work with cover designers to help them craft a cover that not only shows off the book’s themes but also indicates the genre so readers can spot a potential new title they might like at a glance. Self-publishing authors will want to research popular titles in their book’s genre to understand what readers are used to seeing on the shelf.

Skipping this step can result in a book cover that won’t attract the attention of genre aficionados by straying too far from genre norms.

2. Fonts and Typography as Book Parts

The style, size, and feel of how your book’s words are presented to the reader are book parts that self-published authors need to prioritize.

  • Font: The way text appears in your book contributes to the reader’s experience, even if they don’t realize it. The font is one of those aspects of your book that readers only notice when it needs improvement. Choose a font that is timeless and easy to read in regular, bold, and italic versions so readers will focus on your book’s contents instead of your font choices.
  • Typography: A book’s typography impacts the book’s aesthetic, shifting the reader’s experience with nuanced text placement, spacing, and size choices. These subtle selections can breathe life onto the pages of a book and their absence can contribute to a bland appearance.

3. Images, Graphics, or Illustrations

Another way that authors can add creativity and imagination to their books is through the implementation of illustrations, graphic elements, or even photography. From the vibrant illustrations common in children’s books to sketch work present in some novels used to highlight key story elements, the use of images in a book is an excellent way to help the reader visually connect to the story, theme, or topic. Working with a graphic or format designer can help authors ensure that any visual elements flow seamlessly with a book’s formatting and overall style.

4. Introduction or Prologue as Book Parts

The first place an author presents the book’s contents to the reader is the introduction (or the prologue in fiction works). Often overlooked as an extra or unnecessary section by self-publishing authors, the introduction is where writers can whet the reader’s appetite, leaving them ready to devour the book and is one of the more important book parts.

5. Table of Contents

This section of a book’s front matter may be omitted by some self-publishing authors, but it shouldn’t be. A table of contents helps readers understand the structure of a book, and readers often expect to find one in nonfiction books and even in some fiction genres. It offers the author a chance to lay out the outline of the book’s contents and gives readers a quick reference spot for the book’s contents.

6. Book Parts: Front Matter

The front matter of a book contains some traditional sections that might seem antiquated, unnecessary, or repetitive to self-publishing authors. But skipping out on some or all of them can negatively affect how readers perceive a book since the front matter is one of the book parts expected in all traditionally published books.

Even though reducing the page count can be a benefit for self-publishing authors, including some front matter is an important part of presenting a professionally designed book.

  • Acknowledgments: Many authors like to offer personal thanks to those who have helped them bring their book to print, and this front matter section provides an opportunity to give a shoutout to supporters or those who helped the author along the way.
  • Epigraph: Authors often like to set the tone for their book with a quotation that hints at the upcoming story, theme, or topics.
  • Preface: The only location an author can speak directly to the reader, the preface provides writers with a place to introduce themselves and share with readers why they wrote the book.

7. Book Parts: Chapters and Sections

Authors can organize their book into chapters or chapters and sections. A chapter is a segment of text that stands on its own within the plot structure, and most books are organized with them. Some authors choose to also include sections that group chapters by theme or topic, adding to the reader’s experience and understanding of the overall concept of a book.

8. Body Text as Book Parts

The main component of a book is the body text, where the author’s creativity and writing abilities shine. As one of the book parts that authors may initially primarily focus on, the body of a book reflects the style, voice, and writing choices that make a book unique. However, some stylistic choices can make a book difficult to follow. Most authors choose to limit the length of paragraphs to help readers follow their story or understand the topic better. Another way to improve reader comprehension is to include headings or subheadings to act as subtitles that will help readers anticipate upcoming ideas or plotlines.

9. Book Parts: Epilogue

When a story ends, readers can be left with questions about the characters or the story. Authors often choose to include a brief epilogue at the end of a book to offer readers answers or even to introduce the next part of the story with a sneak peek of the next book or story. As one of the few optional book parts on this list, the epilogue is a must-do for writers who want to build excitement for the next installment of a series.

10. Book Parts: Back Cover

Playing an important role in the visual appearance of a book is the back cover design. Authors should include a well-written summary on the back cover to entice potential readers into opening the pages of the book. The back cover should also coordinate with the front cover’s design, providing a cohesive look with colors and design elements.

Self-publishing authors often partner with book cover designers to ensure that the back cover looks professionally created and includes other key elements like an ISBN and bar code, pre-publication book reviews, an author bio, and a color scheme and design that complements the front cover.

Transform Your Book Parts into a Beautiful Book

Pulling it all together into a gorgeous book that your readers will love means working with a trusted printing company. With their many years of expertise working with self-publishing authors, Publishing Xpress is ready to help you turn these 10 important parts of a book into a publication that you and your readers will love.

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