In my 20+ years in book publishing, I’ve never seen an author forget the table of contents. I have, however, seen these three elements of a book forgotten more times than I can count. You might not want or need any of these, but if you do, make sure you don’t leave it (or them) out!
A disclaimer is a statement meant to protect you, as an author, from legal action against you for something contained in your book/ebook. Essentially, a disclaimer says that you may not be held liable, or responsible, for anything based on what you’ve written. Not all disclaimers are created equal, and if at all possible you should have an attorney draft (or at least review) the disclaimer you include on your copyright page. (Pro tip: When crafting one, study disclaimers in books similar to yours/published by publishing houses, which have a legal department draft theirs.)
Study disclaimers in books similar to yours or by publishing houses, which have a legal departments. - @jodibrandon
Example: Advice/How-To Book
Although the author and publisher have made every effort to ensure that the information in this book was correct at press time, the author and publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.
Example: Memoir/General Book that Includes Private Information
Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
Example: Health/Medical Book
This book is not intended to be a substitute for the medical advice of a licensed physician. The reader should consult with their doctor in any matters relating to his/her health.
Not all books need a preface; often an introduction will suffice. A preface is written by the author and rather than introducing the subject matter (as an introduction does), a preface gives the background of how the book came to be written, discusses the scope of the book (maybe you’re only touching on one aspect of a subject), and/or explains why you are qualified to write about this topic. If your book focuses on your particular story rather than a general topic, you’ll want to include a preface. If your book topic is one that’s been written about seemingly ad nauseam, you’ll want to include a preface to show how your book is different.
Again, this is optional and not every book needs an index. Essentially an index is an alphabetical list of important terms (names, organizations/companies, terms/phrases, topic areas) contained in a book. An index can enhance a reader’s experience. How? Potential readers use an index to determine if a book’s content is what they’re looking for.
There are lots of people you can hire to construct an index. (There’s a whole organization devoted to indexing: the American Society for Indexing.) If you want to DIY, though, check out www.pdfindexgenerator.com.
Potential readers use an index to determine if a book’s content is what they’re looking for. - @jodibrandon
Will your book include one of these sections? Keep them in mind as you put together your book map. Not sure what I’m talking about? Check out this post.