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Components of Your Front Matter

Difference in the Foreword, Preface and Introduction of a Book

The foreword, preface and introduction of a book all have their own distinct purposes. While all three sections are unique, they exist to create an emotional connection between the reader and the book.


The Foreword

A foreword is written by a guest author and describes why you should read the book. A well-written foreword by the right person can increase both your platform and the sales of your book.  The main objective of the foreword is to introduce the author and book to the reader and try to establish integrity for both.  Generally, it does not provide any additional information about the subject of the book, but only serves as a reminder of why one should continue reading.

If you follow the accepted placement of a foreword in publishing, it is located after the “Table of Contents,” and the pages are labeled using lower case Roman numerals (for example: i, ii, ii) instead of Arabic numerals that are used in the rest of the book.

The Preface

The preface is written by the author and tells the readers how the book was developed and why. This section should build the credibility of the author as well as the book. In the preface, the writer provides an overview about the reasons for writing the book, as well as the scope of the topic. In addition, it needs to show that the book is worth reading.  The preface is most often placed after the foreword. Sometimes a preface includes acknowledgements.

The Introduction

This section can be written by an editor or the author, and introduces the subject of the book.  In the introduction, the author prepares the readers on what they can expect in the book.  It is an author’s chance to grab people’s attention and increase their desire to continue reading the whole book.


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