An academic book is primarily written for students. It may be of interest for others such as researchers. However, the main audience is students. Or a textbook may be written to support a specific course.
2. Why write a textbook?
There is no textbook on the topic
Existing books are inadequate or outdated
You want to do it for your pride as you are an expert on the topic
3. How to structure your manuscript?
The first and the foremost is to decide on the table of contents (ToC). The contents of a book can be divided into the following sections:
Table of Contents
List of Abbreviations(optional)
4. What forms the Front Matter?
Title of the book and the author or authors as the case may be.
A dedication page in a book is found at the beginning, and it is a space for the author(s) to dedicate the book to someone. A dedication page is optional and not mandatory in any book.
A foreword is a piece of writing usually written by a prominent personality in the field of study of the book. The Foreword introduces the author(s) and the book and sets the stage for the introduction of the book
The Preface is an introduction to a book, typically stating its subject, scope or aims.
In one or two pages, an author’s preface is meant to
Explain why the author chose to write about this topic
Reveal their inspiration for writing the book
Describe the process of researching the topic of the book
Outline the process of writing the book
Table of Contents
A table of contents is a list of the book’s chapters with their commencing page numbers. A ToC as it is called is very helpful to readers in academic books and multi-story fiction books. In general, authors can start a book by putting together a table of contents. But the final ToC with page numbers is done by the typesetter during book creation and authors need not make it final during their manuscript creation.
List of Abbreviations
If a book includes a number of acronyms and abbreviations, it would be most helpful to list these in a separate section.
5. How to structure the main text content?
This is the core of the book. Although not mandatory, an introductory chapter would be the best way to start a book.
Here’s how to write an introduction for a book:
Specify clearly what your book is all about and whom you intend as the audience for your work.
If you are solving a specific problem, specify the same and how your book gives the solution for it.
Introduce in a few lines what the sections are and what each of the chapters discuss. Do not give out too much but just a sneak peek of your chapters or the major sections.
Specify what is unique about your compared to other books in the same genre.
Divide the content into logical chapters.
Make sure the chapters are arranged in a logically correct sequence unless they are unrelated chapters. Readers do not enjoy skipping back and forth and expect books to read like a story.
If you are referring to other chapters in a chapter, mention the correct chapter name.
Do not repeat content. Readers may get bored.
Keep the text crisp and to the point. Make sure you include real-world examples.
Include a number of activities and exercises to keep the readers engaged with the content.
Books should trigger thinking in the readers. Although the text should be clear and easy to understand, it should also trigger analytic thinking in readers. Leave questions open for readers to search the Internet and find. Include trivia about the topic as boxes in the text.
Make sure the chapters are not too long. If a topic is too big, split it into two or more chapters.
It would be a good idea to include a Quiz section at the end of each chapter in different formats (as objective-type or as questions and answers) in school and college text books. This would help reader test his understanding of the topic.
If you are using content from other books or academic articles or online sources, make sure you mention these sources appropriately next to the paragraph or sentences where they are mentioned. And in the back matter or at the end of each chapter, include a References section with details of the book or article from which this was taken. If books referred to are not included in the Reference list, it can amount to plagiarism. It would be a good idea to adapt the referred content to your context rather than simply copy and paste from elsewhere. Plagiarism is viewed seriously in the publishing industry and can amount to copyright violation legal issues.
The concluding chapter should clearly summarize the book.
It should point to additional resources that readers can go to.
It would be good to include what they have learned from the book – probably a highlight of each of the chapters and a call to action directing the reader what to do next.
6. What comprises the Back Matter?
The appendix or supplement mean material added at the end of a book. An appendix gives useful additional information, but even without it, the rest of the book is complete. In general, huge charts or tables will disturb the flow of text if provided within the chapters and so are given at the end as appendix.
A glossary is an alphabetical list of words relating to a specific subject with explanations. It is like a brief dictionary.
The list of book or articles that were referred to while writing the book are provided in the reference list along with citations of sources of information. There are many styles of referencing and many organisations that can help you with formatting references and citations in correct format.
In the simplest terms, a book index is simply a key to locating information contained in a book. It is also known as back-of-the-book index, as it is mostly found at the end of the book. The words of the Index are sorted alphabetically. The Index words should be relevant and of interest to a possible reader of the book, so they can easily guide them to what they may be looking for in the book. The index terms can be names, places, events or any other terms related to your book content. They can be single words or multiple words. Some tools are available to help you write your book index, like PDF Index Generator. Using such a tool will save you a lot of time.