What Is A Book’s Foreword & Why You’ll Want One
What Is A Book’s Foreword & Why You’ll Want One
The purpose of a foreword is to reinforce the message within the book and give it maximum credibility via a personal message to the reader. It is written by someone who isn’t the author, who has a high profile in the field the book contributes to and someone whom the reader likely knows of and respects.
It’s a great bit of marketing for the book and expert positioning for the writer and the author. Placed within the book itself, it goes before the preface, introduction and other content. Because of its positioning, the foreword has the power to set the readers’ expectations for the entire book.
Some key points good forewords include are (in no particular order):
- A few lines that sum up the essence of the book, the overall message, its purpose
- A paragraph or two on how and when the expert and the book’s author first met with a few lines on their ‘journey’ together from then until now - the aim of doing this is to back-up the author personally/speak up to their strengths and good traits NB. If you haven’t met or have a more formal relationship, then the expert can take the opportunity to instead explain their work in the book’s field, how well they know it, how it’s evolved over the time they’ve been in it and how important they find a book like this as a contribution. So they’d be speaking to the author’s intellect in the absence of good enough knowledge of their personality/passion for what they do
- How, throughout their career and looking forwards, the expert has found the information in this book to be true and relevant. Incorporate information on the expert’s career and accomplishments
- Some description of the key points the book delivers, why they are important for the reader and how, when implemented, they will benefit the reader
- What the expert hopes the reader will do with this information after reading
- Your foreword may or may not include the expert’s signature (as well as their printed name)
- A professional photo of them might make more of an impact on the reader (unless they’re really famous)
- The foreword can be tidied up by your editor so that it reads correctly, or it can be left in the expert’s own voice/or more informal tone with only obvious spelling and grammar corrections made. It depends on who it is and their personal brand, as well as the book’s topic, as to how they might wish to be represented
- Address the reader directly, as if this is a personal note to them. The tone is usually engaging and ‘on the reader’s side’, and links where they are now to where they are trying to get to, outlining why, with your expertise and knowledge, this book is the tool to help them.
Here are three different examples:
Example 1 (Personal)
From ‘Creating & Maintaining Cultural Excellence in Technical Teams’ by Guy Remond
On the surface, this wonderful anecdotal book appears to be a simple story of one man’s entrepreneurial journey that is easy to read and understand. But on reflection, that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. It is crafted with a sincerity and authenticity that reflects the character of the man I know. It’s more an allegory than a business book.
Since March 2010, and becoming part of Guy’s journey at Cake, it has never felt like work. It was better than a hobby. We went in early and put a full shift in because we didn’t want to stop enjoying ourselves. More people joined us, and the ow of talented people didn’t stop, they just kept on coming. Eager to be part of something special, they joined for a reason, and that was the culture, ethos and work environment Guy created.
The message in the book is clear: Have and hold a vision, pay attention to the ‘soft stuff’ and culture, make and keep it personal, and believe you can. Despite having spent the majority of my professional life with a head in nance and strategy, Guy opened my eyes to how a leader creates genuine, empathy-based personal engagement with colleagues and clients. He’s the same bloke at work as he is at home.
How have I helped Guy? As a coach providing some insights and new ideas, as a mentor unpacking and repacking his thoughts offering a different perspective, and as a friend, when cash flow was tight or client experiences were turbulent, just being there helped, I think. That’s what we are all trying to achieve in life, isn’t it; taking an exciting journey with great friends, doing some smart stuff, enjoying it and making a difference.
Guy has written a smashing book, reflecting the ‘day in the life of’ realities of a high-growth SME. It’s a narrative that resonates with his voice, effectively distills the elements that led to his outstanding success into nine simple, easy-to-grasp concepts.
This is a book about the personality, passion and drive of a creative entrepreneur. It is also about human capital innovation. Guy has built a company where leaps of faith met leaps of imagination met remarkable feats of software engineering insight, intelligence and craftsmanship. The art of possible made possible by a leader committed to his people’s well being.
At a personal level, we share a love of dogs, a passion for our family, and an even greater, overwhelming passion for our respective football teams. No wonder we got on like a house on fire.
Consider reading this and then sharing it with others. After all, things usually turn out better when everyone is on the same page. That’s Guy’s ethos: cultural excellence and alignment creates success for everyone.
Example 2 (Simple + high profile = effective)
Using the Look Inside function on the Amazon sales page for ‘Tools Of Titans’ by Tim Ferris, you can read the foreword. Written by Arnie, on the face of it he talks mostly about himself and his own career but he’s pointing to the book, the author and the message all the way through.
Example 3 (Professional)
Again check out the foreword to Tony Robbins’ bestseller using the Look Inside function. Elliot Weissbluth takes a more formal approach to this one, by addressing the reader directly, opening with his own experience related to the topic of Tony's book, going on to endorse Tony for sharing his message. The language used and the structure makes this foreword sound almost like a school report, but its serious tone lets the reader know there's some important information inside.
Have you considered including a foreword in your book? Try making a shortlist of industry influencers to contact and see who'll be happy to contribute. If you're already published, a foreword would be a powerful way to boost a second edition.
To understand the process for becoming a successful author, contact us on 020 3752 7057 or via http://writebusinessresults.com/contact/ to speak with a member of the team.
To read about producing and marketing a successful business book, pick up a copy of The Entrepreneur's Guide To Book Marketing Success here.