Knowing how to write the Foreword of a non-fiction book can be an incredibly important key to your success as an author. Leveraging the name of a celebrity author on a book cover or featuring the name of a leader of a Fortune 500 company will open up opportunities for the author and lend additional credibility to the book.
When a Foreword is written and executed properly, the author will be seen as a trustworthy source in the reader’s eyes.
Write a Non-fiction Foreword in 4 Steps
Sometimes the author of the book will be asked to write the Foreword on behalf of the celebrity they are seeking. This is not unusual, as the demands on their time preclude them from reading the book, thinking through what to say, and taking the time to write and edit the material.
(Side note: If you are being asked to write the Foreword for your own book, it’s best to begin by consulting with your publishing team for advice.)
Whether you are an author thinking through getting a Foreword for your own book or have been asked to write a Foreword for someone else, here are guidelines for getting started.
Section One: The Introduction
Introduce yourself and your connection to the book’s author.
The first section should introduce yourself in a few short sentences and then describe the connection you have with the author and the book. If you don’t know the author personally, explain how the book will benefit the reader.
Your words will provide credibility to the author of the book. Making a Foreword personal also lets the reader make an emotional connection. Remind readers who you are and let them know why your voice matters! Let them know why you are the right person to be writing the Foreword for this book.
Section Two: The Importance of this Book
Discuss the book and why readers should care.
The middle section will communicate the benefits of the book to the reader. Better yet, you can describe how this book shaped new thinking on the topic. Here are a couple ideas to get you started:
- Give the reader an intriguing reason why this particular book is important to you or people you know
- Connect the book to experiences that a reader might face in everyday life
- Mention a few key points from the book and how readers will benefit
- Give a short synopsis of the book
- Include anecdotes that you may know about the author based on your relationship
- Talk about how the book solved a real-world problem
Section Three: Conclusion
The Full Circle Approach.
In the conclusion, remind the readers why you’re writing the Foreword and why it matters. This is important for both the author’s career as well as your own. For the author, it will boost the credibility of the book and is proven to sell more copies. For you, it’ll remind the public of your career, reinforce your personal brand, and add to your trustworthiness by being associated with a popular book.
Your thoughts will keep readers motivated to continue on to the book because you, the expert, are telling them that the book is worth reading. One writing tactic is what we call the Full Circle approach. If you reference an idea or a story in your opening paragraph, then close the Foreword by referencing the same idea in your final paragraph. This will bring readers around full circle to your ideas.
Step 4. Sign Your Name
Include your name at the bottom of the Foreword and your full title. If you have several titles, choose just one (and try to make it the most relevant). You can also add the title of your most recent, or most well-known, book that you have written. You can see an example of this at the bottom of this article.
The Foreword for a non-fiction book is an important selling tool for the book. It must establish credibility for the author, the author of the Foreword, and the book. Keep it short and concise, anywhere from 500-1,000 words. Every writer has a “voice,” so some people choose to write to the reader as if you were talking to a friend. One of the most effective methods is to tell an interesting story and share a principle from the story.
Which brings us to an important principle to remember when writing (and one that can be applied to any piece you are writing): Never tell a story without making a point, and never make a point without telling a story.
Bryan Heathman, Author of #1 Best-Seller: Book Marketing Reinvented