What needs to go on your book’s title pages

The very first pages readers will see when they open you book are the title pages? Title pages? Yes, you may have two of them.

The first is the half title page, which just lists the title. Also known as the bastard title page, many books today forgo the page, which is a holdover from an era when the title page and what followed it needed to be protected during the bookbinding process.

The second is the title page, which contains the title and author’s name, both in large letters, and often the publisher and the city the publisher is located. Sometimes this is referred to as the cover page.  

Often confused with the title page is the copyright page. This lists the title, author’s name, the publisher’s name, the ISBN, and so on, usually in very small lettering. 

To give your book a professional appearance, you’ll need both the title and the copyright pages. Keep each to a single, separate page, however.

The title page is fairly easy to put together. Its three parts include:
• Book title (with the subtitle)
• Author’s name
• Publisher’s name and city

The copyright page is a bit more intricate. Its parts, from top to bottom, include:
• Title of book (with subtitle)
• Author’s or editor’s (if an anthology) name
• Copyright date
• Credits for who took photos, designed the cover, drew illustrations, created charts
• Listing of rights (always use “All Rights Reserved” for your self-published book)
• Passage limiting use of reproduction of the book
• Passage stating characters and events are entirely fictitious (if a novel)
• Passage stating you bear no responsibility for advice (medical, financial, etc.) dispensed (use passage only if such advice is provided)
• Credits if parts of the book (such as whole short stories or essays) were reprinted from another source
• Publisher’s name and address
• Address for publisher or for your book’s website (or both)
• ISBN and Library of Congress Control Number
• Country where book was printed
• Month and year of first printing and of the current edition’s printing

The title and copyright pages can be designed in any number of ways. Look at books that are the same dimensions (width and height) as the one you’re writing and follow that format.

When listing credits on the copyright page, you can include anyone you like. But generally the modus operandi for is to only list those who created material actually reproduced in the text. This primarily would include the book’s authors (if an anthology, the editors instead), the photographers, the cover artist/designer, and illustrators. A host of others who helped with your book more properly belong in the acknowledgements. These include editor and proofreaders, agent/manager, contributors/advisers, research assistants, office and contracted staff (attorney, accountants, secretaries/exec assistants, and book paginators. Regardless of who you select for the copyright page, make sure you have names spelled and titles given correctly.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.