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Preface vs Foreword vs Introduction: What’s The Difference? that
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A foreword isn’t part of the book’s main text. It’s part of the “front matter,” a.k.a., all the stuff that comes before the book actually starts.
If readers skip it, they won’t miss out on any necessary information.
A good foreword does both of these things. An okay foreword does one. If it doesn’t do either, don’t include it in your book.
I’ll walk you through each of these reasons below. But if you still want more information by the time I’m done, read our comprehensive guide to forewords.
1. To Confer Credibility on You, the Author
Typically, forewords are written by prominent or well-respected experts in your field.
When well-known people say nice things about your work, readers are more likely to trust you.
For example, when Nick Vertucci wrote S, he was already known in the real estate world, but his platform didn’t extend much further.
Nick greatly expanded his reach by having Kevin Harrington—a respected businessman, the inventor of the infomercial, and an original “shark” on S/p>
Kevin’s strong endorsement of the book conferred credibility on Nick. It also drew in some of Kevin’s impressive audience, and it gave Nick a chance to print Kevin’s glowing praise.
If Nick had said some of those nice things about himself, it would have seemed like he was bragging. Coming from Kevin, those words were like gold.
When an expert or well-known authority is willing to spend their valuable time writing a foreword for your book, it’s a strong signal to readers that they can take your book seriously.
It’s a stronger signal than a blurb because i
A foreword isn’t just a couple of sentences. It’s a substantial piece of writing.
Plus, foreword writers are putting themselves on the line too. Having their name attached to your book will reflect on them, for better or for worse.
That’s why it’s best to only reach out to experts that you know personally and have a solid relationship with. Forewords don’t lend themselves well to cold calls.
If you a lucky enough to have that kind of connection, it might be worth reaching out. A seal of approval can be valuable, especially if this is your first book.
If you don’t have a strong connection to the person you want to write your foreword, skip it. It’s not necessary.
When you’ve put time and energy into writing a good book,
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2. To Provide Context and Background for Your Book
The second reason to have a foreword is if you need to provide context and background for a reader.
To be clear: I d mean context they’ll need in order to understand your book. That should always go in the main text.
I mean saying things about the book that you, as the Author of the book, can’t.
This was the case for Ian Hart’s book Healing Hacks.
Ian is a certified instructor of the Wim Hof Method, a therapeutic approach that emphasizes breathing techniques, cold exposure, and mindset changes. Wim Hof agreed to write Ian’s foreword.
Hof explained how he developed his methods and why they dovetail so well with Ian’s approach to the body. He wrote, “Ian Hart has followed his heart and his ability to understand by feeling…That’s what this book is all about. You’d better read it and get on your horse, because this is going to be a ride.”
If readers were already familiar with Wim Hof, the foreword boosted Ian’s credibility.
If they weren’t, the foreword gave them a better sense of what Ian was going to teach them.
Think of your foreword as a chance to reveal a little bit more about yourself, without jumping straight into the main topic of the book.