Each section of a book has its own purpose and goals, from the front matter to the appendix. One important element that nonfiction authors may want to include is a foreword.
The foreword, which is usually written by an industry expert or influential figure for someone else’s book, can help establish the author’s credibility.
In this post, we’ll take a look at how to write a foreword if you’ve been asked to write one for a book, plus real foreword examples.
How to Write a Foreward
Many people mistake this word as “forward.” But the word “foreword” has the root the word “fore,” meaning “before.” The foreword is the section in a book that comes before the body of the book.
Let’s take a moment to discuss how a foreword differs from the preface. The preface is the front matter written by the author to introduce the book, usually explaining their motivation and inspiration for writing the book.
In contrast, the foreword is written by someone else and is meant to endorse the author and their work. Usually, somebody with greater known expertise or authority on the subject writes the foreword, lending credibility to a lesser-known author. (Check out our post on how to ask for a foreword if you’re looking for someone to introduce your book.)
If you are invited to write a foreword for a friend or colleague’s book, consider it an honor! Here are some tips to help you write an effective foreword:
- Stay honest. Flattery has no room in the foreword. Instead, be honest about the strengths that you see in the author.
- Write in a style similar to that of the book. If the book is a funny, comedic piece, inject humor into your foreword too. But if it’s serious and contemplative, try to maintain a similar vibe.
- Keep it short and sweet. A good estimate is about one to two pages, or about 750 to 1,500 words.
Good Foreword Examples
Here are some excerpts of forewords written by influential people for lesser-known authors:
Example #1. Bridal Intercession by Gary Wiens, Foreword by Mike Bickle
This Christian nonficiton book on prayer has a foreword written by Mike Bickle, founder of the International House of Prayer-Kansas City, a very appropriate person to comment on the subject. An excerpt is shown below to show you how Mike describes his relationship with Gary:
It has been my pleasure to know Gary Wiens since 1985 in a friendship that has gone from mere acquaintance to partnership in ministry. Since he and Mary came with their family to Kansas City in 1996, I have watched him grow in his relationship with the Man Christ Jesus to the place where his heart burns with the desire to go deeper and deeper in the knowledge of the beauty of the Lord. I have watched his children become established as godly young people, and have appreciated deeply the contributions this family has brought to this city, first to Metro Christian Fellowship, and now to the House of Prayer.
Example #2. The Courage Map by Franziska Iseli
Richard Branson wrote the foreword for this new book on self-improvement and learning to live boldly:
I’ve always had a love for adventure, and I’ve been blessed to share many of them with my family and friends. So when Franziska told me about her motorbike journey along the Silk Road, I was intrigued.
Every day I see people doing great things in the world. What do they have in common? The courage to go after their dreams and make a positive impact. Franziska’s book shows how that message can support you in running your life and business based on courage, love, and kindness instead of fear.
What Is Included in a Foreword?
These are the key elements that you need to include in the foreword if you’ve been asked to write one:
1. Introduction (1-2 paragraphs)
This is where you introduce yourself and your relationship with the author. Remember that the foreword is addressed to the reader.
Although most people asked to write a foreword already have a strong platform, assume that not every reader will know who you are. Share your credentials, establishing why you have the authority to comment on the subject. Most of the time, you will not have to go into too much detail.
2. Relationship Connection (2-3 paragraphs)
After you introduce yourself, share how you got to know the author. Some writers describe their first meeting, or their first impression of the author. Others share an anecdote, which may help endear the readers to the author.
3. Main Body: Introduction to the book (1-3 paragraphs)
After establishing your relationship with the author, you can start talking about the book. Some writers like to offer a brief summary, while others prefer to highlight their favorite parts of the book.
4. Main Body: A personal endorsement (1-2 paragraphs)
One of the purposes of the foreword is to build the author up for the readers. Some writers do this first before describing the book. Others give a brief overview of the book first.
In any case, describe the book and why the author is the best person to write this book. You can do that by sharing examples of:
- how they demonstrate expertise in the subject
- how they have already helped other people with their knowledge
- their motivation for going deep into this subject
5. Conclusion (1 paragraph)
As you close, remind your readers why you are writing the foreword for the author. This is also where you can remind your readers what they can get out of the book.
6. Sign your name as though it were a letter.
Sign your name at the end—because the foreword of a book is essentially a letter of endorsement written to the reader!
Writing a Foreword
As you can see, writing a foreword or getting someone important to write a foreword for your book can really help your platform or that of another author.
Now that you understand how it works best, you can move forward to the next phase of your book writing: preparing the front matter and moving closer to publishing!
Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this post, then you might also like:
- What Is a Preface? How to Introduce Your Book to the World
- Parts of a Book: The Basic Anatomy of Book Design
- How to Write the First Chapter of a Book: A Checklist for Novelists
- How to End Your Book: 5 Steps to Writing a Fantastic Final Chapter
Yen Cabag is the Blog Writer of TCK Publishing. She is also a homeschooling mom, family coach, and speaker for the Charlotte Mason method, an educational philosophy that places great emphasis on classic literature and the masterpieces in art and music. She has also written several books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her passion is to see the next generation of children become lovers of reading and learning in the midst of short attention spans.