Hey there. In this video we're going to talk about the front matter of the cookbook. It's all the things that go before the body starts. There are a lot of different components, so let's get started.
The front matter basically sets the tone for the book. It establishes some of the legal precedents with the copyright page, and it also provides information to the reader, both about you and about what is in the book. There's a lot of different parts to it, and you can download templates for each one of these along with examples. It's all linked up below so you can have a jumpstart on creating this yourself.
The first part of the front matter is usually the title page. The title page at a minimum has the title on it, not surprisingly. It also often has the subtitle, the author, sometimes the ISBN number. And if it's a photo heavy book and you're very proud of your photography, some title pages also have some nice photographs on there. But it's really just a place holder, I guess, in case the cover of the book is lost, someone still knows what book they're reading.
The next page is the copyright page, which again, holds the copyright. Most of these pages in the front matter are named for what their purpose is and what the information is on it. So, on the copyright page, you want to make sure that you have your copyright signal and all rights reserved. You also can have ordering information, contact information, details about the publisher and the date it was published.
Often authors also put credits on there for people who helped write or photograph the book. And sometimes even if they did a lot of editing or some were more heavily involved in the process, they'll put them in the credits on here as well.
Your copyright statement can be as short as the copyright sign with copyright 2020, your name, and all rights reserved. It can also be a much longer paragraph that a lot of people use. I have some samples below, but many people want to clarify that the recipes are theirs, and you can't reproduce any part of this, either in part or in whole.
And that the recipes were all things that you came up with yourself. And if there's familiarity to other recipes that are out there, it's accidental and you weren't stealing people's recipes. It's just a lot of us have recipes that are similar.
The next page is kind of optional, but it's the other books page. It can list out other books you've written. It's a great way to let people who are reading one of your books and hopefully enjoy it, know that you have other books available. If you haven't written other books, a lot of people use this to link to their blog, or to link to specific guides or downloads they have. Anything they're proud of that they want to drive new fans to, or people who are reading their book and want to get more information.
The dedication is another part of the front matter. It's a completely optional, but it's a great place to thank someone who has helped you along your journey to publishing this cookbook. It can be either someone that helped directly in the book or just someone that was influential in your life. It's a great place to kind of give back and give acknowledgement to someone who has helped you throughout your life.
Many books also lead with a quotation, something that summarizes their cooking philosophy, the philosophy of their cookbook, or maybe just a philosophy of their life that they wanted to set the tone of their book with.
If you do go this route, make sure that you have the rights to use that quotation. You don't always have the rights and you want to double check before you put something on the front of your printed cookbook that you then must go back and change and do a redaction. It's a lot harder to do a printed recipe than it is with an online recipe. So double check, make sure you have the rights to the quote. And I have a link below to some resources to help you figure it out.
Another part of the front of the book people use is testimonials. These are basically praise, in general, written by people who have read this book or previous books and had nice things to say about it.
If this is your first book, it can be hard to obviously have testimonials for that current book. But you can have testimonials from other products you've put out, from fans of your blog who enjoy reading your recipes, even from the comments of your blog.
Make sure that if you do use a testimonial, that you get the permission to use it from the person. Some people might comment on a blog post about how great your recipe is, but they don't necessarily expect it to show up at the beginning of a printed cookbook. So, it doesn't hurt to reach out and just make sure that they're okay with you including it publicly to highlight your book.
The acknowledgement section is something else that often comes at the beginning of the book. Sometimes it also comes at the end. You have a little bit more flexibility here. But the acknowledgements is a more verbose dedication page.
It's not a single person, but it's the people that helped you along your journey to get to where you are. For some of my previous books, I've thanked people that wrote a lot of the documentation that I was basing my research on and helped me get started and some of the cooks that I followed and were inspirations for me.
It could be all the recipe testers, people that helped you put your book together, that helps you edit it. Pretty much anyone that has helped you along your journey who you'd like to say thanks to you can put on the acknowledgements page. It's a great way to acknowledge that almost no cookbooks are written in a vacuum. And to give public thanks to the people who helped you put out this amazing thing that you're ready to publish.
Table of Contents
The table of contents is another piece of the front matter. And it's probably the most important one. It can list out anything from just the overall chapters in your book down to specific recipes. And I tend to err on the side of going deeper on this, because it generally will show up on Amazon, under the "look inside" section.
You want someone who is interested in your book, they're on Amazon, they click on the look inside, and you don't want it to just say, “meat”, “poultry”, “vegetables”, and “salads”. If you list out all your recipes on there, someone trying to decide whether or not to buy your book is going to have a good idea of the recipes you have in there, the type of cuisine you represent, and a better feel for whether or not your cookbook is what they're looking for. They've already gone to the page, they've clicked on your cover, and now they want to see more information. Give them more information! So, don't be stingy on the table of contents.
The table of contents also generally sets a differentiation between the front matter, that most readers don't care too much about, like the copyright page and the title page, and the content of the book that readers do care about. It's not always the start of the book, because there's two more pieces that can go in there. But it's a delineation point for a lot of people when they get a new book, they flip to the table of contents and they know they're ready to get started.
The two pieces of content that come after that, but generally before the body, are both optional, but the one is the foreword and the other is the preface.
The foreword is an introduction to your book that's written by someone else. For a cookbook is usually another cook or a chef. It's often someone who’s more well known in the industry, knows you in some capacity and is willing to write an introduction about your cooking style and about what's in the book.
They may have read a preview copy, or just about working with you in general, and why people should listen to you. And like a lot of these things, this can be valuable for the reader who just bought your book and is looking at it. But it's invaluable for people who are deciding whether or not to purchase this.
So if you have a foreword or you know someone with a more public persona than you who might write it, it doesn't hurt to reach out and ask. Even if you don't think it's adding too much to the book, it can add a lot to the marketing aspects when people click on that “look inside” on Amazon and it pops up a foreword by so-and-so who they might already know saying, ”Hey, you should buy this book because I know this person, I really like them, and I trust that what they're putting out is high quality.”
The preface is similar to a foreword, but it's written by you. It's really setting the stage for the reader about what you were trying to accomplish with this book. There's a lot of different things that you can put into this, but in general, you're just trying to let them know what you hoped they were going to get out of reading this book. Why you put it together, the type of information, how it's laid out, what they need to know to use it. It doesn't have to be long. It can be a short little thing, but I think it's a way to speak personally to the audience. So, I almost always try to have one in there.
And again, it also helps a lot with marketing because it will show up on the Amazon “look inside” feature. And as I said, the preface is explaining what you were trying to accomplish by writing the book and what the reader should get out of it. That is very valuable for someone that's trying to decide whether or not to buy the book. Because you're speaking directly to them at that point and letting them know here's what I tried to do. If this is what you're looking for, this is going to be the cookbook for you.
So that's everything that goes into the front matter at the beginning of your book. There's numerous different components to it. Some of them are very optional, like the foreword or the preface. Some of them, you need to have like the title page and especially the copyright page.
But I have samples below that you can download and can use in your own books. You can tweak them to state it in your own voice and your own style. However, they will come together pretty quickly, and you can reuse them on future cookbooks when you do it.
In the next video, we're going to be looking at the body of the cookbook. That's going to be where you're spending most of your time writing and creating content. And it's the most important part of your cookbook, especially when someone has bought it. We're not going to go into depth on the various aspects of the body. There's a lot that can go into it and this course is really more about publishing your cookbook, not writing your cookbook. But I at least want you to be familiar with it so you know what to expect as you're diving into it. So, we're going to cover that next.