A book isn’t a book without a title (even if it’s “Untitled”). And, a book’s title page is essential for a professional-looking work. Whether you’re publishing in ebook, print book, or both, it’s important to include a title pawge. But what is a title page? What purpose does it serve? And, what should be on it? Luckily, the answers to all these questions are pretty simple. So read on to find out all about a book title page.
This is a part of a series where we are analyzing all of the different parts of a book, and how to best craft them. If you'd like to learn more about the different parts of a book, be sure to check it out here.
- What a title page is in a book
- How to format a title page for your book
- Title page examples
- What goes before and after a title page
Table of contents
What is a Title Page in a Book?
The title page is one of the first pages in any book. It signals the beginning of the front matter and shares the title, subtitle, author, and publisher. Of course, not all books these days have a publisher. And many books don’t have a subtitle. In these cases, it just lists the title and the author or authors.
You may be wondering why books even have a title page. After all, doesn’t the book cover have the title on it? Why reiterate the name of the book?
Title pages are useful for referencing and cataloging. They help libraries and academic citations. And, believe it or not, many books have two title pages. One is simply called the “title page” and the other is called the “half title page.”
Half Title Page
You may be able to take a book off your bookshelf and open it up to see two different title pages. The first one, known as the half title, only has the name of the book and nothing else. The second one has the name of the book, the subtitle (if there is one), the name of the author(s), and the publishing company. Sometimes the publisher logo is located here, too.
The half title book page is from back when books had to be bound in a separate location than where they were printed. The half title book page served two purposes back then: to protect the actual title page in case something happened and the first page was ripped, and to tell the bookbinder the name of the book (presumably so they didn’t put the wrong cover on it).
Having two title pages is no longer the norm, but you can still find books with both.
Having trouble thinking of a book title? Check out this book title generator.
What is the Page Behind the Title Page Called?
The reverse side of the title page is called the title verso. You may not be surprised to learn that verso is Latin for “reverse.” Sometimes this page is simply known as the “Copyright Page.” It contains important information such as the:
- Copyright notice
- ISBN number
- Date of publication
- Publisher information
- Cover or book design attribution
- Formatting attribution
Not every book has an ISBN or a publisher, in which case these things are left off. The same can be said for cover design (if you designed it yourself) and formatting. However, it’s important to include the copyright information, date of publication, and any disclaimers you deem fit.
How Do You Format a Title Page for a Book?
You have a few options when it comes to formatting the title page. By far the easiest option is to use a program like Atticus, which provides a pre-made template and automatically generates the title page for your book. All you have to do is enter the information and you’re good to go!
Here’s an example of the preview of a title page on Atticus.
As you can see, the font size varies, separating each element from the other. This makes it look good and signals to the reader that some time and effort went into the book. It's a small thing, but it's important to get it right.
So whether the reader has a printed book in their hand, or they're reading an ebook, a good title page is important.
If you would rather format the title page to your manuscript yourself, you have a couple of options to do so.
- Do a Google search and download a title page template. There are plenty of these out there, just make sure you're downloading from a reputable site!
- Pick up a couple of books off your shelf and take a look at their title pages. Imitate them using your favorite writing software.
Keep in mind that all title pages are on the right hand page when you open the book. This may not matter for ebooks, but it's best to make sure this is the case on your print book.
Also, remember that the title page has no page number.
Are Title Pages Different for Fiction and Nonfiction Books?
Both fiction and nonfiction books generally stick with the same formatting styles. Academic or textbooks may have more information on the title page due to the number of authors involved in the work.
What Comes After the Title Page?
As mentioned above, the page right after the title page is called the verso or copyright page. However, when putting your fiction or nonfiction book together, it's important for the author to know what comes next in the front matter before the main text begins.
Here's the most common formatting order for the front matter of a book:
- Title Page
- Copyright Page
- Table of Contents (i.e. chapter headings)
- Dedication Page
Not every book has each of these elements. Again, it’s up to you as the author to decide which ones you want to include. However, the first three elements are the most important and every nonfiction and fiction book should have them.
Title Page Example
Here are a couple of examples of title pages for both a fiction and a nonfiction book. Notice how each element is a different size and the author’s name is bolded. This is done to differentiate the elements of the title page.
And here’s another one:
Now It's Time to Make Your Own Title Page
Although seemingly simple, the title page is often the first thing the reader sees. It should be professional and well-formatted. All books need a title page, although more than one isn’t really necessary these days.
You can use an all-in-one writing software like Atticus to get this done, or you can do it yourself in your writing program of choice. Either way, a great title page is a gateway to a great book!