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The added value of back matter: Editor's Notes #330
January 06, 2021

Knowledge is power.
Information is power.
The secreting or hoarding of knowledge or information
may be an act of tyranny camouflaged as humility.

—Robin Morgan

In this issue:

1. The added value of back matter
2. Tickled my funny bone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt
5. My Covid-19 offer to you

1.The added value of back matter
The back of a book is great place to tuck information that doesn’t fit elegantly in the main text.

Back matter is usually associated with nonfiction, but there is also added value of back matter in some fiction.

Here are some examples of back matter:
  • Index
  • Glossary
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography
  • Resources
  • References
  • Maps
  • Timeline
  • Family tree
  • Footnotes
  • Printouts (check lists, tests, letters and forms, etc.)

Readers appreciate thoughtful, helpful, apt back matter. Although at least some of the material could be included within the text, for some, it’s important that the information is in the back so the reader can engage with the main text unimpeded by the added details.

In some cases, publishers expect to see back matter. If you submit a manuscript without back matter to such a publisher, you may not get a positive response. (Note that indexing may be an exception. Indexing is generally done by specialists and the publisher may provide that service.)

Consider the list above. Is there a place for any of the items in your current project? Can you handle them yourself, or do you need to find an expert to provide you with services?

At the least, pay attention to back matter you may have ignored in the books you read. This research may shine a light on other options for you as a writer.

2.Tickled my funny bone
Sign on the back of a septic tank truck:
Caution — This Truck is full of Political Promises

3. Interesting Web site
If hiring a professional indexer is beyond your publishing budget, the information on this page may be what you need.

4. Writing prompt
Write about someone who gets into trouble by keeping a resolution.

5. My Covid-19 offer to you
Did you know that money spent on services supports local economies more than money spent on material? What are you spending your money on during Covid times? I hope you have enough to feed, clothe, and house yourself and your family. Those are materials you definitely need to spend money on. Once you’ve taken care of those life-sustaining purchases, consider supporting services that in turn support your growth as an artist. As you invest in your artistic growth, you are laying a foundation for earning more money as you go to print.

What follows is a copy and paste from issue number 309. It’s still in force for you and anyone you choose to tell about it.

Along with the health threat hanging over the world, we are facing a huge financial hit. I’ve decided one thing I can do is to make quality editing less expensive during this trying time.

For subscribers to Editor’s Notes and their friends, I am suspending the fee for the sample edit to anyone using the code EN19 until I cancel this offer. I intend to keep this offer open as long as the world is in crisis with Covid-19 and its aftermath, so watch this space. I will give a warning here before I pull this offer. You can submit your writing sample at Be sure to click the link below the heading "Promotion Code" to get to the special form for a free sample edit. If you find yourself at a form before clicking the special link, scroll slowly back up the page, and you should see the link for the code (EN19).

But it gets better…

When I return an edited writing sample, I include quotes for the full range of my editing services. Until further notice, I will give a true quote, but I will not charge writers the full amount. I am discounting my services 50% for subscribers to Editor’s Notes and their friends. I will give a warning here before I pull this offer.

Feel free to pass this offer along to any writing friends you think may be interested. As long as anyone uses the code, I’ll honour the offer.

This is what I can offer you in this time of crisis. I hope it encourages you as you face possible illness and financial uncertainty.

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