Made in America

How to Write a Preface

A preface gives you a chance, before your story begins in earnest, to speak directly to your readers about the reasons why you wrote this book, and to provide a little background information on what they can expect from this story and why they’ll find it interesting.

It’s important to note that not every book needs a preface. However, if you feel like you have some valuable input to provide your readers, the preface is the perfect place for your thoughts. If you think that a preface will be a great addition to your book, check out these four ideas to get you started.

Why did you write the book?

When it comes to writing, there’s always a why. The preface is where you can let your readers in on what motivated you to write the book they are about to read. Has it always been a dream of yours to become a published author? Do you feel so passionately about a subject that you had to share it with the world? Discuss how the book came to be and briefly touch on your writing journey and how it turned into the book that’s in your readers’ hands.

Who inspired your writing?

We all gain inspiration from various sources. Whether it’s a mentor, family member, or even a life-changing experience, inspiration is everywhere. The preface is where you can speak about who or what inspired you to write the book. We all want to relate with others, so talk about your inspiration so that you can form an emotional connection with your readers.

What’s it about?

Think of the preface as a movie trailer of sorts. It’s here that you’ll be able to give your readers some behind-the-scenes details of what they can expect from your book. Be sure not to give away too much information! But consider including a brief description about your characters and the overall plot. Essentially, use the preface to provide your readers with a teaser of the general synopsis of your book.

Toot your own horn.

Sometimes, it’s good to toot your own horn. The preface is the portion of the book where you can list your credentials and give your readers validation as to why you’re cut-out to write about a certain topic. Let’s say that your book is about a particular United States President. What makes you a credible source to write about this topic? The preface is the place where you can build your credibility. Keep it simple and be sure to only add the details that matter.

Keep it concise.

You don’t want your preface to be a book in and of itself. Be sure to keep it simple and steer clear of long, drawn-out explanations. Cover the basics, but don’t dive into too much detail. Think of the preface as an appetizer. You don’t want to spoil their meal (the book) before dinner is even served!

The preface is an introduction to your book so keep these four ideas in mind to help you get started.

Copyright Dorrance Publishing, 2017

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