How to Write a Great Preface
Updated: Oct 27
The preface of the book tells readers, 'why you wrote the book'. As the author, you are giving your readers a sneak peek into your mind and soul on where the idea and subject for the book came from. This section is emotionally evoking and should capture the attention of your readers early on, as it is in the front matter of your book.
The front matter or what is known more formally as the preliminary matter, is where you will find the preface of any book. More specifically, it is after your title pages, the copyright, the dedication, prologue and the foreward of the book. It is before the acknowledgments, table of contents and of course the main section of your book or the chapters. Read more about the standard order of a book here.
Preface: Write from the Heart
No matter the rest of the overall tone of your book, the preface can differ in tone and should. This is a glimpse into the author's mind and heart.
You can do this a number of ways, but by focusing on describing your state of mind during the time that led you to transform an idea or concept in your head, to an actual and official manuscript, is key.
Connect with your Audience
Be relatable. Be human, Be timely and relevant. If something is going on in the world at the time you're writing your book, consider including it. For example, a movement, an election, a major current event or war. Of course you will want to take your audience into consideration, but if it's aligned and will speak to them- make it a point to mention it. The more readers can relate and empathize with you, the more they are drawn to read more, love what they're reading and share it with others.
Share a Special Piece of You
Be original, share a special part of you, and tell your story.
The preface is a great beginning section of the book to share something about yourself in a way that ties into how this book came to fruition. For example, is the subject of your book something you are passionate about? Why? Does it lend itself to a story of when and how this passion arose inside of you? Perhaps you're writing a fiction story where the setting of the book is at a beach and the main character is a little girl. If the concept came from some childhood memory, let your readers know this!
Get Inspired & Be Inspiring
There is no better way to hook an audience and gain lifelong fans, than by being your authentic self who writes from the depths of your soul. If you need a little motivation in order to move others, seek that inspiration before putting your pen on paper. What person on this earth doesn't struggle from time to time with life and it's various, unwavering challenges? We all need motivation to move us one way or the other. We all need someone to reignite that fire- our own passion from within, from time to time. Be the light.
Julia Maldonado is the Lead Designer & Founder for InTandem Digital Consulting. She has over 20 years of experience in Marketing, Advertising and Customer Experience spanning across different industries. 10+ years in website design, content writing and social media influencing.
To learn more about Julia, visit her on LinkedIn.
InTandem Digital Consulting provides various digital solutions to small and mid-size businesses. Our portfolio includes: Website Design, Social Media Management and Customer Experience Strategy. Our CX workshops are offered both in-person and virtually.
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