When writing a book whether it is a book of fiction or non-fiction, novel or petite eBook the author must choose which general information to include in the beginning. Often the publisher will have something to say as well. Some authors go all out and have many different intro-style pieces, but one should be forewarned that if you go overboard on the beginning, often readers will get confused. Yet, it is widely known that if you jump right in you may indeed confuse the reader even more.
So, how does one choose what to call the beginning information and what should these pre-chapter writings be labeled? Perhaps you have seen many of these typical pre-chapter pages in books that you have read?
The choices as you can see are vast and therefore it really makes sense to carefully consider your options. I have only seen one book which had all these in it and it was a non-fiction book on the winery industry and the authors wanted to thank everyone and each co-author made a contribution to the pre-chapter information and each pre-chapter was written by a different person although the dedication was packed with paragraphs of names.
This strategy worked for this particular work although it is not advised, picking 2 or 3 makes sense and if you feel there is something very important to say perhaps 4. If the work is a second or third in a series for instance a fiction novel “trilogy” then you need to bring the reader up to speed or if it is a 5th or later addition of a non-fiction work that too might be a reason to go past 4 pre-chapter pieces.
You must of course be weary of over loading the reader or sounding like a verbose writer, as this will take away from your work. For many authors “introduction” or “preface” sounds too plain and therefore they prefer to use other words. A dedication page is always a smart move, as it shows that the author is in full faculty, with friends and family and is duly grounded in society.
Acknowledgements can be used in place of a dedication page or combined, although it certainly does not take away to have both. Perhaps one to thank your mom, dad, wife and kids or someone who is the sole inspiration of such a work, while the acknowledgements can include all those who contributed or are worthy colleagues that you discuss such information with regularly. It is okay to fully load up on the acknowledgements, but a dedication page is more about good use of white space and a 2-3 lines exhibiting emotional intelligence and sincere-ness, even straight out empathy.
For shortened eBooks (under 150 pages) more than four pre-chapter components is over doing it. It is not proper, similar to calling someone out for a first date before the two-day period. There are instances where 5 or more pre-chapter components are appropriate, but not many and four is generally considered okay. If you are going to have more than that, make sure there is a good reason and make them count.