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Hey there all you self-published writers!

Got a big book you’re about to bring out?

Does it have…

  1. A million characters to keep track of (Ala Robert Jordan, Tolkien, or Martin?)
  2. Words in another language (Real, made up, modified – this is me!)
  3. obscure military, technological, or scientific terms?
  4. a PhD worth of terminology?
  5. A fantasy world of made up locations, animals, magic, etc?

Then you, my dear compatriot, probably need a glossary.

Some simple rules to follow when creating a glossary.

  1. Follow my Significant Other’s rule – if she doesn’t know what it is, the average reader won’t (I.E. Better to leave it in than keep it out of the glossary)
  2. Add the humor or additional backstory – the glossary is a great place to add sneaky extra bits of information, backstory, or other fun, world building tidbits.
  3. But be careful – don’t say it is one thing in book one, then something different in book two.
  4. Find some examples from great fantasy books to help you out.
  5. When in doubt, ask your editor or beta readers to underline or identify the words they didn’t know to help you out!

There you have it! I hope this helped! Glossaries can really make your book much more approachable, and people will love finding those hidden ‘easter eggs’ in the back of your book (but never tell them where to look, it is more fun to find them on your own!)