An appendix is a section in the back of a nonfiction book where you can give supplementary or additional information not provided in the main text.
The information in an appendix is not essential to understanding the rest of the book, but rather gives interested readers a more in-depth look at a particular topic.
Does Your Book Need an Appendix?
Appendices usually appear in nonfiction books. Not every book needs an appendix, but it might be helpful if you would like to:
- Offer more explanation and elaboration on a specific subject, which would otherwise interrupt the flow of the main text or would not be interesting to all readers
- Provide recommendations for further reading
- Provide more information about your sources, tools or instruments you used in your research, or interview transcripts
- Include visuals such as maps, photos, letters, figures, graphs, or drawings
- Include detailed statistics or data
- Include lengthy, detailed lists or tables
- Provide a detailed chronology of events (that is not essential to understanding the rest of the book)
Make sure you don’t include vital information only in an appendix without telling readers that it is there.
You can include more than one appendix if you need to. Ideally, each item referred to in the main text should have its own appendix, though some can be grouped by category as long as they are clearly labeled.
Formatting an Appendix
There are no real rules for formatting appendices; the type size and style should match the rest of your book.
At TCK, we use the Chicago Manual of Style, which designates that appendices can be placed either in the back matter preceding any endnotes, or at the end of individual chapters if the information they contain is essential to grasping the concepts in that particular chapter.
If you have more than one appendix, they should be labeled Appendix A, Appendix B, etc. (if you’re using Chicago style, you can also label them Appendix 1, Appendix 2, etc.), and should also be given titles to make clear their contents. For example:
Appendix A: Recommended Further Reading
If you put your appendices in the back of the book, they should appear in the order they’re referenced in the main text.
Here are a couple of example appendices:
Make sure to include appendices (with their full labels and titles) in your table of contents (if you have one).
Referencing an Appendix
In the main text, it is preferable to refer to the appendices by their labels, not by their page numbers. You can do this in parentheses, as in (See Appendix A), or in footnotes.
Have you used appendices in your work? What did they include? Tell us in the comments below.
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Melissa Drumm is a lifelong book lover. She is passionate about helping authors make their work the best it can be. You can find some of her writing here on the TCK blog, and learn more about her other projects at melissadrumm.com. When she’s not writing, editing, or reading, you’ll usually find her in the kitchen, baking.