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What’s The Difference Between Preface Vs Foreword Vs Introduction? Let Us Find Out

Book Writing

Welcome to this amazing and informative blog where we bring out all the factors are distinguishing between foreword, preface & introduction.

We will help you understand the exact difference between preface vs foreword vs introduction so that the next time someone asks you about them, you can correct them with the right information.

This is also something you must know if you are ever planning on becoming an author because being an author is not just about writing skills and imagination, it is also about learning the basic technical details of books.

So, before you ask yourself the question of how to write a foreword or even the techniques for writing a preface, let us understand the difference between foreword, preface and introduction.

Let’s start with the definitions so that we can understand the very basics of what these mean.

Here Are the Definitions for the Foreword, Preface and Introduction


A foreword is something completely different from a preface or an introduction because a preface and an introduction are written by the author. It can usually be found on both fiction and non-fiction books.

However, a foreword is not written by the author and this is not a question of whether it is traditionally written or not because this is something that the author never writes.

If an author decides to write it then it does not remain a foreword.

It is really written by someone who is very close to the author and the primary reason for a foreword is credibility because it is just like someone reputable endorsing a product.

The foreword usually contains some kind of context about the book or it can even contain some context about the author or the writing process of the book.

That is why, whenever you find a foreword at the beginning of the book, it is not only written by someone who is very close to the author but usually written by someone who is very reputable when it comes to that particular industry.

For example, if you are in the 1930s and decide to write a book on physics, the ideal person to write your foreword would be Albert Einstein.

It will provide credibility and endorsement to your physics book and it will also provide credibility to you as the author for being close to such a legend.


Before we tell you what is a preface, we would like to tell you that it is something written by the author and if your book needs to have a foreword then the preface comes after it and before the introduction.

Frankly, your book does not need a preface and if you do not want to include it in the book then you are not going to do something catastrophic.

This is because the preface is basically an introduction to why you wrote the book in the first place. It is not the introduction which is about the contents of the book but the preface is about why you wrote the book.

The preface can contain your motivation behind the book and it can also be a place where you mention all the techniques that you utilised for doing the research of the book.

You can think of it as an additional section where you can include different kinds of information regarding yourself as an author or also about the book.

It is actually rare to find a preface these days as the introduction gets the job done of introducing the author as well as the book and the socio-political and cultural or even historical background behind the book.

The primary difference between the preface and the introduction is just that the preface is more about everything related to the book and its creation and it can talk about the motivation of the author as well as other contexts for the book.

Readers tend to skip it.


Let us finally come to the introduction of the book and it is sometimes confused with the preface simply because both serve as a kind of introduction to the book and both are written by the author.

However, the primary difference between the preface and the introduction is that the introduction is more focused towards the contents of the book.

This means the introduction sets up the stage for the reader to get into the book and is more of a guide so that the reader can understand the first chapter.

It is just like someone getting ready to run a race as they do a backhand motion just to get the momentum and that is the same thing with the introduction.

The introduction not only helps the reader understand the first chapter but it is more of an overview about the book itself rather than the creation of the book.

This means the introduction can talk about what is in the book and can also give an idea to the reader of what they are about to find in the book.

You can think of it like a hook but much more elaborate and much more personalized without any marketing lingo because it is written by the author.

This Is How You Write a Foreword, Preface and Introduction

Writing A Foreword

The thing you have to understand about writing a foreword is that it is not written by the author and when we say writing a foreword, we mean it has to be written by someone who is requested by the author to write it.

So, if you are someone very influential and or very close to the author and they have requested you to write it then this is for you.

The first part of the foreword should definitely be an introduction that will be there just so that you can introduce yourself because without that there is no use of a foreword.

If you want to have an effective foreword that actually helps your friend the author then you need to show your credibility first. It does it does not really have to be very long and it can be just a few lines or something less than a usual paragraph.

You can then move on to what you think about the book and the author and why everyone should read it and this is the section that offers credibility to the author.

You can write why you like the author and why you like the book and you can also talk in detail about your relationship with the author and why you think they are a good person or a qualified person for the topic of the book they have written.

You can then include a part on why you read the book and end with it and also tell the readers why they should as well.

It is also important to write down your name after the foreword as it is usually done like that traditionally.

Writing A Preface

Now, if you want to write a preface, you need to be the author and only write it if you really want to because you can skip the preface and go straight into the introduction because writing a preface is rare.

But if you really want to write it then you must understand one thing and it is that the preface is not the introduction and it is not really about the contents of the book.

Your preface should be about the process of writing that book.

That is why, when it comes to the preface, you should include the writing process and if your book has a lot of data then you should also include the research process.

You should talk about any kind of challenges that you might have faced during the writing of the book and you must also talk about things that motivated you to write the book.

The thing you must understand about the preface is that people usually ignore it just because it is usually boring. However, if you want to make it interesting then you can put in as many facts as you want and also try and keep it small.

You must also utilise this opportunity to showcase your passion for your book and if you have an emotional preface then people are more likely to read it.

So, if you decide to write a preface you just need to be passionate about it and do not think of any format and just write it as a piece of trivia for your readers.

Writing An Introduction

Sometimes people confuse the introduction with the preface but they are actually quite different if you think about it.

So, if you plan on writing the introduction of the book then you must understand that the introduction should definitely contain a few things.

The introduction should be a gateway to the book and it should help the readers understand all the context behind the book which can be in the form of historical context or cultural context or even about the different themes in the book.

The introduction should be such that anyone who reads understands what the book is about. It is also important to establish your author’s voice or writer’s voice in the introduction.

Along with that, you can also help the readers understand how the book is going to progress but it is completely up to you how much you want to divulge.

And you must make sure the introduction is like a sample to the actual book.

It is completely up for debate on how many spoilers you want to have in the introduction but it all depends on the author.

We hope you now understand the exact differences between a foreword as well as a preface and an introduction.

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Common Foreword FAQs

What is the purpose of a foreword?

If we have to explain the purpose of a foreword in a single word then it has to be credibility. It is something that is not written by the author because it is written by someone who is close to the author and it can also be someone who is quite important or recognisable or even credible.

The foreword is simply used as an endorsement for the book that allows the readers to validate the credibility of the book based on who is endorsing the book.

It usually talks about the relationship between that credible person in the foreword and the author and it talks about why they want people to read the book.

Are you supposed to read the foreword?

If you really want to read it then you can because it will provide you extra context for the book from a very credible and reputed source.

While if you do not want to read it then you are not really going to miss anything about the book but reading the foreword is just like watching the making of a movie, if you do not see it then you are not going to miss the movie but people usually see it.

Reading the foreword is also like reading the reaction from someone who is not only very credible but also a reputable voice on that particular topic.

And it would not hurt to listen to what that kind of a voice has to say so if you really want to skip it then you definitely can but we would suggest you not to.

What is the difference between a foreword and a prologue?

The primary difference between the two is that the foreword is not written by the author and the prologue is definitely written by the author.

Keeping that aside, a foreword is usually a different perspective from someone who is very credible and who speaks about their relationship with the author and why readers should read the book.

You can think of the prologue as being something like an introduction that helps the readers get acquainted with the narrative of the book.

The foreword can speak about what the book is about from the point of view of someone who is not the author and also their observation about the author.

The prologue will only talk about the book and its different events and an introduction to them.

Who writes a foreword?

The foreword can be written by someone who is very close to the author and it can also be someone who is a prominent figure when it comes to the subject of the book.

The foreword can be written by prominent experts on the topic of the book; however, you can even find forewords written by people who are close to the author like family members or even friends.

That is usually the case for something like an autobiography or a non-technical book.

We can even see forewords written by co-authors and other people who have contributed to the book as well.

So, the primary thing to understand here is that everyone can write the foreword except the author.

Can you have 2 forwards in a book?

While it is not something that you see commonly or usually, nothing is stopping you from doing that and there are a few rare instances where we actually see more than one foreword.

This is usually the case when it comes to book translations and it might also be the case if we are speaking of special editions or reprints.

The book can have multiple forewords if it is written by a lot of people with a lot of contributors.

However, you can have multiple forewords in your book even if you are the only author and the reason for that is simple, you are the author and you can do whatever you want with your book.