Preface, introduction or foreword?

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What do you have to know about foreword, preface, introduction and an acknowledgement?

Answers from Elena Ornig 

Foreword- is easy to understand. It is the ‘word’ before the ‘book’, written by an expert on the subject of your book, or by a well-known author in same category, or by a critic in the category or subject, and so on. What is important to remember is a foreword is never written by the book’s author. It is written about the author and the book to elevate credibility. Some writers use testimonials instead of a foreword by an expert, and they can be a valuable idea if it helps to promote your book to potential readers.


Preface-is written by the author.

Preface-is written by the author and explains where the idea for the book originated and why the author decided to write the book. A preface can include acknowledgements and how the author wrote the book; but a preface is not about the book and does not explain content. It answers the “Why and how?” but it doesn’t answer,”What is this book about?”

The Preface and Introduction can be simply combined in the Introduction, and for a good reason. Readers become impatient; first and foremost they want to know what the book is about, after which they may be interested about why and how your came to write the book. Though many publishers try to follow traditional structure, it is becoming common to just write an introduction, or even a foreword with no introduction at all, and to place acknowledgements at the end of the book.

Yes, you can skip the foreword and include the preface and acknowledgement in the introduction if it makes sense and assists to better present your book to potential readers as the book’s real show case is the introduction.

The “Introduction” is your actual presentation with a brief description of content to the potential readers.

Publishers will pay great attention to the actual content of your introduction because potential readers consider it the most important aid to determining what your book is all about before deciding to purchase it or not. Because of the foregoing, it is vital that the writer pays proper attention to the actual introduction for his book.

If you decide to include everything in the introduction, while remembering that you cannot include in a “foreword” for the reason I explained earlier, you must answer a few questions.

“Who are you?” –what is your credibility or authority on the topic or information you are presenting in your book. You do not necessarily have to detail your degree, place of education or where you work; rather you can just say that you have so much to share about this topic based on your own opinion or substantial personal experience that you decided to write about it and explore it even more deeply or further. You can even stay anonymous and write under a pseudonym, thereby adding mystery and creating more interest.

“The way you wrote this book” –is optional because it can be covered in the preface. Usually, it is a great contributor for creating even more attention.


“What is your book about?”

“How you wrote your book?” Again, it is a great contributor for your authority on the written content.  Mentioning your contributors and information sources can elevate credibility of content and also increase a reader’s interest.

“What is your book about?”- This is the most important part of your introduction. Here, you have to set a stage to spark interest, intrigue and inspire potential readers to purchase your book; to guide them towards the inherent benefits of reading your book. Will they have greater knowledge?  Will they be involved in great adventure? Will they find specific answers? Will they be educated or entertained?

“Who inspired you or helped you?”-  is an acknowledgment and can be added as credibility or a nice emotional touch, but, as I mentioned before, it can be presented separately, either before the text of your book or at the end.

Warmest regards,
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Written by Elena Ornig

Managing Director of Publishing Company "Julia Sophistique Pty Ltd". Committee member of Australian Computer Association GC Chapter. Member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Member of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland. Member of the IT Forum Gold Coast. Sponsor of the Helensvale Writers' Group, Gold Coast. Committee member of the Gold Coast Writers Association Honored VIP Member of STANFORD WHO'S WHO in America. Publisher, writer and blogger.


One comment
  1. Terrific work! This is the type of information that should be shared around the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post higher!

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