Writing

How To Write A Foreword For A Book

A book contains many different components.  In addition to the story itself, there is usually a title page, preface, index, and dedication page.  Many books will also contain a forward.

The foreword is an introduction to the author and the book, typically written by a third party.  It can help the reader understand the purpose of the book, give them some insight into the author, and provide them with an expectation of what the book will deliver.

If you have been asked to write a forward, you may be wondering where to start and what to include.  This article will help, by providing some useful tips for writing this important section of a book.

Why is the foreword important?

A well-written foreword acts like a sales tool that entices the reader into purchasing the book.  It shares some important information about the book and its author, then explains why the work is actually worth reading.  It acts as a recommendation that adds credibility to both the author and their work.

Writing a foreword

A foreword should contain three main components:

  • Foreword introduction
    This section will be used to introduce yourself and explain how you are connected to the author. If you don’t know the author personally, spend more time in the introduction explaining why you think the book is an important one.  This section will be used to give the author some of your credibility.
  • Foreword middle
    Next, the foreword will discuss the contents of the book. It will tell the reader why the book is worth reading and relevant to them.  ideally, you will present the reasons why the book is an important literary work that everyone needs to read.  You can also provide a brief synopsis of the book and explain why the author is the most qualified person to create this work.
  • Foreword conclusion
    Finally, the foreword will tell readers why you decided to endorse the work and why it matters. Sign your name at the end of the conclusion to put your name to the endorsement.

Before writing a foreword, it is essential to read the book and think about why you would consider it to be a valuable work.  It is usually a good idea to take notes of any ideas or themes within the work that are particularly impressive.  You can highlight these themes during the foreword to help the reader understand why the work is worth reading.  Here are a few tips for actually writing the foreword:

Focus on establishing the credibility of the author

The main objective of the foreword is to give the author and the book some credibility.  Share any details of the author’s background including their education, personality, and previous work.  Share some information about your relationship with the author and why you respect their work so much.

Really delve into the reasons why the book has credibility in your eyes.  Is it particularly well-researched?  Is it an important topic that no one has done before?  Is the book compelling and emotionally satisfying to read?

Keep your foreword short

Most forewords will be less than 1,500 words, which is a couple of pages.  However, it can go longer if you have a particularly interesting story to share that involves the author.

Write to the book’s audience

You will need to write in the style that the audience of the book expects.  If you are writing a foreword for a technical book on economics, keep the tone of your writing fairly dry.  If you are writing a foreword for a comedy novelist, include a few jokes and a couple of witty anecdotes.

Don’t talk down to the audience

Keep the tone of your foreword positive and use straightforward language.  Don’t exaggerate your own credentials too much and don’t speak down to the audience.

Keep it short

The typical forward is less than 1,500 words in length, which is about two or three pages.  Keep the text tight, focused and compelling.  Remember that your main goal is to make the reader more interested in the book.  You don’t need to share long-winded stories or anecdotes that take pages to tell.

Be honest with the audience

The foreword should be completely factual and honest.  Your reputation is at stake after all.  All anecdotes and real-world stories should be completely truthful and not exaggerated.

Richard Hammond

I am the founder of 9Mousai and am deeply interested in creativity and what inspires it. My main passions are writing, film and music but I have a great respect for all the arts. I'm also an animal lover and have a little cat called Winston and occasionally dabble in the odd whisky.

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