In this article, you will learn:
- A detailed breakdown of how to write a book foreword.
- What a foreword is and isn't
- What goes into a good foreword
- The benefits of writing a foreword
What Is A Book Foreword?
In a world where our attention spans are short, it can be hard to get and keep people's interest in something like the foreword. This is a personal introduction that comes right before the content of your book and sets up what readers will find within its pages.
A foreword is an introduction to a book written by the author's close friend or colleague. It should be personal, not just about how great their writing skills are!
I'm going to tell you how important this little part is in helping build anticipation and intrigue with each new reader while also making sure they know exactly what they're getting into!
And, although a foreword may seem insignificant at first glance, one should consider its importance when crafting their book because many might not read past just that intro sentence if they are not feeling compelled or intrigued enough by whatever is written!
What A Book Foreword Is Not
- A book foreword is not a prologue or preface.
- A foreword is not an advertisement for your company, product, or service.
- It is not a biography about yourself on how you came to write the subject matter of the book.
- A foreword is not you writing about yourself in the third person.
How To Write A Book Foreword
I know what you are thinking, I have just told you that a foreword is not something you will be writing yourself and then shattered your plans of writing it yourself and pretending to be your Uncle Joe.
Well, this section on how to write a book foreword will be split into two;
- Those who want to have one in their own book and need to learn more about it.
- Those who have been tasked to write a foreword for somebody else's book.
The Structure Of A Book Foreword
First, we will talk about the structure of the foreword and how to go about getting one written. And, most certainly having one written which is desirable (you can absolutely provide guidance to whoever will be writing it for you).
Forewords are essentially a letter from the foreword writer to the reader. So, they typically start with a hook. As I mentioned, our attention spans nowadays are extremely short, so the first sentence really needs to pack a punch.
They are also not meant to be long-winded and dragging. The foreword is usually one of the shortest parts of the book. The usual length would be one to two pages of about 700 to 1200 words.
Whether it’s you writing the foreword, or you’ve asked a friend to help out, the principle is essentially the same. It’s hard to completely follow a guide to the T (or should I say to the G?) But because it’s meant to be something personal, the exact contents will always vary depending on who’s writing it and what their relationship with the author is like.
Ultimately, a casual short story about the author and the person writing the foreword usually does the trick.
Forewords don’t just stop at the story though. It could also be used to establish the author a little more, or how this book has helped others (or yourself), and let the reader know what they can learn from the book by using personal experiences to really drive your point home.
After all, a foreword is an extremely important part of the book that’ll allow readers to truly get an insight into the circumstances of how, why, and when the author wrote the book. You’ve got to get them excited for what’s to come.
Guiding Your Foreword Writer
But, what if you can’t find someone with enough time to write a foreword from scratch?
It is definitely okay to guide your foreword writer into what to say. Of course, there are cases where you could definitely ghostwrite it yourself, but, this would take away from the reader's experience because they wouldn’t be getting as much insight as you think they would.
There could also be readers that can pick up on its inauthenticity, and would then disregard the book as a whole. Which is the complete opposite of what we want! Because if the foreword isn’t authentic, then what else couldn’t be?
Lastly, it won’t help the reader establish that connection with the book. Instead, the book would seem too biased if it’s entirely written in the author’s voice. It would give off a lecturer vibe, rather than a close friend telling you a story. It would be better not to pretend to be your Uncle Joe (Sorry, Uncle Joe).
6 Tips For Writing A Foreword For Someone Else
Now, let’s move on to the second section. Let’s imagine that you have a friend that is publishing their book soon, and they’ve asked you if you could write a foreword for their book. You’re now put in the place of the foreword writer.
How do we make sure that your foreword has an impact?
Tip 1: Establish Authority
A good start is to focus on establishing not only the author’s credibility but also your own. Introduce yourself.
Or you can share an experience similar to something in the book and use that to establish a connection with it. Personal details make a foreword more interesting and heartfelt.
Tip 2: Communicate
When in doubt, communicate with the author! Don’t be afraid to ask the author who exactly will their book be marketed to, or if there are any specific parts of the book they’d like you to highlight.
Since you are the one they approached, they’ve probably already taken into account that you have an experience that could be connected back to the book. The whole point of a foreword is to talk about the connection you have to the author and the book!
Tip 3: Be Honest
Be Always be honest when writing a foreword. Similar to what I mentioned above, the author chose to ask you because they trust your writing and value your opinion. Just be yourself.
Tip 4: Acknowledge The Tone
When it comes to the tone of the foreword, it’s safe to assume the same tone that the book has. But, forewords written in a conversational tone would usually have a greater impression on the readers. Be sure to ask the author which one they’d prefer.
Tip 5: Have an Impactful Conclusion
Don’t forget to wrap up your foreword with an impactful conclusion. Your goal at this stage is to get the reader even more eager to read the book.
If the book is nonfiction, this should be a brief recap of what the reader can expect to gain by reading the book. If it’s fiction, you might want to talk about how much fun they are going to have in the story world that has been created.
Tip 6: Sign Off
Lastly, sign off at the end of the foreword. You could sign your name, or a nickname, or your signature.
What’s In It For You?
As the foreword writer, you’ll be having your name at the start of the book. This is free advertising! Even more so if you’re quoted on the back cover of the book.
The author isn’t the only beneficiary here. You’ll also be solidifying your status as an expert in the field of the book.
It is also a great way to support a friend. Writing a foreword is not easy stuff, a lot of time and effort goes into it, not to mention the pressure of having your name plastered on it as well.
But, I’d still encourage you to go for writing a foreword if given the chance. The author will greatly appreciate your help.
Why Have A Book Foreword?
It’s easy to claim how experienced you are to the readers, but anyone can do that. Having someone close to you talk about their firsthand experience with the book will satisfy the doubt in your reader’s mind. It will give off the vibe that you really do know what you’re talking about.
As an author, having a foreword really, and I mean really, boosts your credibility to the readers. You want them to be interested in you and in what you have to say. More interest means more book sales!