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How to Write A Foreword for A Book

Written by
Sarah Rexford

Published on
July 21, 2022

If you’ve been wondering how to write a foreword for a book, we have the exact guide you need.

What is a book foreword?

A book foreword introduces the reader to the author of the book and is written by someone other than the author or editor.

This makes it different than a preface, which is written by the author as an introduction to the book.

A preface usually covers the story of the book and how the book came to life. Whereas a foreword is written by someone else to bring credibility or validation to the author and their book.

In order, a foreword appears first before the preface and introduction. It’s the first thing that people read when they open up a book.

That’s also why it’s important to write one that draws the reader in, sets the foundation for what they’re about to read, and gets them excited to start reading through the book.

The foreword sets the tone for the book and the author. You’ll often be asked to write one if you are also an authority in a certain area and they want you to bring credibility to the author’s book.

Think of the books you like to read. If you see a foreword on a book from one of your favorite authors, aren’t you more likely to pick it up?

That’s exactly why authors choose influential people they know to write forewords. If the foreword is by someone famous or influential, You will often see “Foreword by {name}” on the cover of the book.

While writing a foreword for a book is no easy task, this article will outline how to get started, what to write, and how you need to format your writing.

how to write a foreword for a book

How to Write a Foreword for a Book: Initial Considerations

Being asked to write a foreword is a huge honor and one that you should take seriously. However, it can also be incredibly daunting so this will go over some steps to help you get words on the page.

Decide your main point

First, you’ll want to take the time to write out what you want the main theme of your foreword to be. Do you want to introduce the topic? Do you want to share personal stories about your experience with the author?

How do you want people to feel while they read your foreword? That can help you choose the stories you’re going to tell or what information you’re going to include.

How do you want the reader to feel about the author

Keeping in mind that the foreword is one of the first things in a book, you can be the one who introduces the author to potential readers.

How you want people to feel about the author or the story is important when it comes to writing your foreword.

For example, if you want people to understand that the author is a true expert in their field, you might want to pick stories and information that will influence the reader. These types of stories can help the reader understand why the author is qualified to write this book.

If you want people to think the author is funny and likeable, tell a funny story about your time together with the author that helps the reader feel like they were there laughing with the two of you.

How do you want the reader to feel about the author?

Highlight your own experience and knowledge

Although it’s important to paint the author in a good light, you also need to demonstrate to people why you’re someone they should listen to in the first place.

The author chose you because they trust you and your reputation. They wouldn’t be asking you if they didn’t think your name on their foreword would contribute something valuable.

This is a good time to include your own experiences and credentials. A few bullet points of what you want to mention is a good starting point.

Overall tone

When it comes to choosing the tone for your foreword, you’ll want to think about the tone the book has overall.

For example, if the book is about a true crime murder mystery, you don’t want a bubbly introduction with funny, cute stories. You’ll want to pick stories and writing that match the general tone of the book.

This isn’t to say you should remove your writing voice and style completely, but you want to keep it somewhat in line with the mood of the book.

Writing the foreword: The steps

Outlining and main points to cover

Once you’ve answered those questions, before you dive into the actual writing, it’s important to make an outline. This will keep you from stressing yourself out by staring at a blank page and it will keep you from that dreadful writers’ block.

Introduction

You’ll want to start your foreword by introducing yourself, the book, and the author. It doesn’t hurt to immediately dive into a story to draw the reader in and explain why they should care about this book.

That story might be about your own experiences, a funny story with the author as mentioned above, or the story of how the author wrote this book (if you know it).

The introductory paragraphs should be about one or two paragraphs which introduce both yourself and the author.

You’ll want to immediately establish trust with the reader by highlighting your experience or qualifications for writing the introduction, even if it’s just based on your relationship with the author.

Establish your relationship to the author

Then, you’ll want to dive into your personal relationship with either the author or their story. You might have worked together or met them through a shared experience. Maybe you met in a unique way, which adds credibility or even likability to the author.

Keep this part around three to four paragraphs.

Introduce the book and author’s credibility

Once you have the foundation in place, it’s time to introduce what the book is and why the reader should care.

This is where you’d talk about things such as this book explaining new research, telling an interesting story, or anything else that will help the reader understand why it’s worth reading.

You will also want to make it clear why the author is the best person to be writing this particular book.

Keep in mind, you don’t need to go completely overboard with gushing about the author and the story. You can keep it simple and to the point so people can understand your enthusiasm but not feel like you’re going overboard.

You can keep this around two to three paragraphs.

Wrap it up

Once you’ve done all of the above, it’s time to wrap up your foreword and get the readers excited to dive into the book.

You’ll want to summarize what journey they are about to go on by reading this book and get them inspired to flip to the next pages.

Your conclusion should be about a paragraph.

Formatting

Forewords are formatted differently than other parts of a book. If you use professional software to write your book, it might already have these templates loaded for you to simply insert your writing and foreword.

If not, we’ll go through the different formatting rules and the book sections so you know where to put everything.

Here are some things you need to know:

  • No page numbers are included and instead each page has roman numerals
  • The first paragraph is almost never indented
  • The title is usually simply labeled “Foreword”
  • Generally, forewords are around 700-1,200 pages
  • Forewords are often signed as an endorsement of the book

The most common order of book sections is as follows:

Sometimes quotes from the foreword are also included in the book’s description.

Next Steps

Now that you know how to write a foreword, it’s time to get started. If you’re already a published author and looking to learn how to sell more copies of your own books, check out this free training.

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Sarah Rexford
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