This Is How You Write a Book Preface
Today we are going to talk about a very important element of books as we will get to know how to write a book preface.
We will understand what is a book preface. We will understand the preface structure as well as important book preface writing tips. We will understand the nuances of crafting a preface and why writing a preface is an important part of the introduction to a book.
We will dive deep into preface elements so that we might understand the exact purpose of a preface along with preface examples.
All in all, this is going to be a very interesting blog about the preface writing process and will definitely help you with valuable writing book instructions.
So, let us look at tips for a perfect preface as well as the importance of a preface, but before we do that let us understand what is a preface.
What Does a Preface Mean?
A preface is usually an introduction that is found at the beginning of the book and it is written by the author and can talk about a lot of things.
The preface is primarily there to attract the readers towards the book by giving a little bit more context about the book.
The preface deals with a few important things and if you understand these important things then you will be able to write the perfect preface without even doing more research about it.
There is no standardised rule for writing a preface and it can be anything you want to convey as the author. You can talk about your experience on why you are writing the book.
You can talk about the value that this book is going to add to the lives of the readers, you can talk about the importance of this book to the mainstream world and how it has the potential to change the world.
You can go into the details about what’s in the book and you can get into details about the story as well as the historical setting of the book and anything else you want to include. You can acknowledge the people and institutions that helped you with the book.
There is a lot that can be done in a preface. You can even choose to not write a preface but if you write it, make sure you are honest
Yes, A Preface Is Different From A Prologue and A Foreword
One of the most common misconceptions out there is that a preface is something similar to a prologue and a foreword but that is not the case.
Let us explain what is the prologue and a foreword and compare them to a preface so that you might understand better.
A foreword is also situated at the beginning of the book but the primary difference between a foreword and a preface is that a preface has to be written by the author.
A forward cannot be written by an author and it can be written by an expert or a critic so as to show that the book is actually critically acclaimed and approved by experts. It is a tool for legitimising the book
It is usually there to help with the marketing of the book.
The primary difference between a prologue and a preface is that when you see the prologue you need to understand that is a part of the main body of the text.
Whatever is written in the prologue is a part of the text. It is not a commentary or an introductory statement like a preface or foreword.
The prologue is a part of the body of text and it is just an introduction and usually talks about the background of the story or it is usually written from the perspective of a character.
This helps start things and it usually helps the readers understand the background before the actual body of the text begins and helps readers get a little more context before they delve into the text.
Important Tips to Write a Preface
Keep Things Short
One of the mistakes new authors make is that they try to make the preface as long and detailed as possible.
They try to include every variable event that made them to write the book and while that is an amazing idea but it does not work with a preface.
When you are putting a preface in your book that means you want it just big enough for the readers to get interested in the main body of text.
That is why you should make sure the preface is a balanced mix of all the important points that you want to mention without it being too long.
You do not need to record all your thoughts in the preface.
Think It Is a Hook
If you are an author then you already know what is a hook and even if you do not know what is a hook let us help you understand.
When you are writing the preface you need to think of making it interesting. You can put in facts about the book and you can let out a few secrets.
All you need to do is to write something that will get the attention of the readers but you must make sure everything you say is true.
You just need your preface to be interesting for people to read it and for them to be interested enough to continue with the book.
Reason For the Book
If you want to keep it simple and if you do not know what to write in your preface then you can go by the safest route.
All you need to do is to tell the readers why you wrote the book. You can simply narrate your story on why you wanted to be an author and why you wanted to write this book.
You can keep it as authentic and as simple as possible and you do not need any bells and whistles for people to like the preface.
You should not worry about the preface too much as well because a lot of readers simply skip the preface.
That is why if you truly want to have a preface and you do not know what to write then a simple story about your writing life as an author is enough.
Write About Your Process
And if you want to do something simple but creative then this is an even better idea for you to do. All you need to do is simply help your readers become an author.
You need to introduce yourself and tell them how you wrote the book. You can talk about how difficult it must have been for you to start the book and how easy it got at the end.
You can talk about your entire writing experience and give them an understanding of how to write a book.
You can talk about the mental state that is needed to write a novel and you can even give them tips on how to write a book efficiently.
This should be definitely in conjunction with the topic of the book but this will definitely be an interesting preface.
Key Points About The Preface
Formatting the preface is simple and easy and all you need to do is to keep in mind a few important things and you will have a good preface.
The most important thing you must keep in mind is that you should not have any room for creativity in the preface. This means no wacky fonts and no indention in the first paragraph.
It is also a safe thing just to keep the title as it is and keep it as ‘Preface’. If you feel confident enough then you can replace the genetic title with anything you like.
You must also make sure not to start the numbering of the book from the preface. If you do not want to put numbers then that is alright but if you really do want to put numbers for the preface then Roman numerals it is.
And if you want to know how to format that text then you can use any kind of regular formatting from any software.
Relevance Of Preface in Ebooks
One of the most common questions we get asked is whether a preface is relevant or even needed for ebooks and the answer is definitely yes.
All you need to do is to make sure you select the start page as the preface page. This is very important because if you do not do this then the software is simply going to skip the preface and start with the body of the text.
That is why you need to make sure that the body of the text starts with the preface and that it is selected.
In a regular paperback or hardcover copy of a book, you need to think about all the other important sections such as the title page and the copyright page and contents and acknowledgements and much more.
But these usually get skipped on ebooks along with the preface. That is why you need to pay special attention to make sure the preface is selected as the first page if you really want people to read it.
We hope this blog will help you understand what is a preface and why it is so important. You might still have a few questions regarding the length of the preface and for that, a few paragraphs is enough.
You can definitely go for one or two pages but that should be the maximum size of the preface. And if you are someone still worried about the perfect preface then we are here for you.
Just like we are here for you for every other publishing need because we are Orange Publishers and we are one of the most reputed legacy publishing companies in India.
We are among the very few publishing companies with all our operations in-house which means everything from the printing to the publishing to the copyright and much more is done within our walls ensuring quality and safety.
We will also help you with everything miscellaneous such as your very own author’s website or even the preface and much more.
We would love to hear from you and you also love to see you visit our website to check out everything we do.
Common Book Preface FAQs
What is the first part of a book preface?
While there is no standard practice out there and no set rules for what you should include in the preface but let us tell you what happens usually.
Authors usually introduce themselves and express their gratitude towards the readers and also talk about why they decided to write the book.
This is what happens 99% of the time and that might look like a lot but when you consider the number of books published then the remaining one per cent is when you get to see all the unique types of preface.
If you want to stick to tradition then you also can take the path of the 99% of authors and simply introduce yourself and talk about the reason for writing the book and even talk a little bit about the contents of the book.
How do you write a good preface for a book?
If you want to know how to write the perfect preface for your book then all you need to do is to be honest with your readers.
You need to keep it short and talk to them as directly as possible and tell them why you wrote the book. You need to have a polite tone and express gratitude for everyone who helped you with the book and you need to help them understand what the book is about.
You need to make sure that the preface is so interesting that people actually pick up your book to read it later on. And finally, you do not need a lot of creativity in the preface and you need to make sure it is simple.
If you do all that then you have a good preface in your hands.
What comes under preface?
A well-written preface can actually be broken down into its basic elements and doing so will help you understand how to write the perfect preface.
It should basically be an introduction to the author as the author communicates directly to the readers and expresses gratitude towards everyone who has helped the author write the book.
A good preference should also contain the reason why the author set out to write the book in the first place and on the topic of the book the preface should also contain bits and pieces of the book.
It is very important that you do not give out spoilers when it comes to the preface but you also make sure that it has a lot of hooks.
While fiction and non-fiction book preface might be different to an extent but in order to understand that difference you need to do some actual research and read a few popular fiction and nonfiction books with prefaces.
What comes after preface?
There is no definite answer to this because the structure of any book may vary and that is why some books may have the preface at the end and after that, the primary body of the text will start.
In other books, you are going to find the table of contents after the preface and there is nothing wrong with it too. In other books that need illustrations, you might find maps and illustrations after the preface.
And other books might even have a brief introduction before the primary body of text. It all depends on how you want to organise your book.
But when it comes to numbering the book, you should not use Arabic numerals for the preface.