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  • Writer's pictureWendy Stuart

Preface VS Introduction

How to craft a preface and introduction that hooks your target reader

The start of a non-fiction book is so important, to grasp the reader's interest. I know that when I want to buy a book from Amazon, I open up the preview and read the preface and introduction. Often my decision to buy is based on what I read there. So your Preface and Introduction must be crafted well.

Readers want to know they're reading the right book for them. A Preface and Introduction can help them decide whether YOU and YOUR MESSAGE are going to benefit them.

What's a Preface?

A preface is a type of introduction that includes the book's subject, scope or aims. It is your view of your book, written in your voice. Get up close and personal!

Here you outline the concept for the book, why you wrote it, its origins (history of your idea and your passion) and what you hope to achieve through it. This is also a place to explain a little of your background in the respect of what gives you the credibility to write such a book—to subtly promote your expertise. You can include what has motivated you; for example, a life-changing moment that was a catalyst for the content and desire to write.

You can end with what you personally hope people will gain from this book.

What do I put in an Introduction?

The INTRODUCTION is about the book (and subtly about your reader's needs, wants and issues that you are going to help them with)! This is where you welcome your reader and share what you hope they will gain from your book. The introduction describes WHAT is going to be found in the main text. It is about the BOOK not you.

Know who your TARGET READER is and talk to them personally. Address their underlying issues that YOU are providing answers for, so they feel you are talking to them and will help them.

You may choose to write about:

  • who the book has been written for

  • what is being covered/talked about in the book (Brief run-through of what you will cover without giving too many specifics of the book away

  • what value the reader is going to get from reading it: What will they learn? What will they feel? What will it guide them to do?

  • specific information the reader must know before reading e.g. some underlying themes, viewpoints or terms.

  • guidance on how to approach/use the book e.g. with notepad and pen, an open heart and mind, or to just read a page a day or randomly as they feel.

  • explanation of the structure e.g. chapters ,parts, reflections or summaries at the end of each chapter, a workbook or resources at the end. If you're going to offer a meditation in each chapter, let them know.

Inform them, in short, on what's coming and the amazing knowledge they will learn and any TRANSFORMATION they may achieve.

Feel free to add a quote or testimony to support your words.

Don't go on too much - but give them something! Pique their interest.

Writing the introduction can help you craft your vision for your book. But be prepared to re-write it more than once as your book evolves. The book you start out writing sometimes is not the book you end up with! Hopefully that's not because you got lost along the way but new inspiration or greater understanding within yourself has occurred in the writing and self-editing process. So once the whole manuscript is re-written, go back and re-visit your Preface and Introduction and see if they need tweaking.

Happy writing!


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