The term “preface” is more widely known than the term “foreword”. However, it is important to understand what each one means and their differences since they both play a crucial role in the financial and critical success of the book.
The foreword is a short paragraph about a nonfiction book or piece of literature that aims to help the publisher at a marketing level. It is usually written by someone other than the author; someone who points out why the reader should read this specific book. The person who writes it should be an expert in the subject of the book and who is also able to add credibility to the content of the literary work. It acts as a “seal of approval” of the book. It is a major selling tool inviting the reader to buy the book, explaining the benefits of reading the book, the book’s relevance to the topic, the author’s qualifications on the subject, and what knowledge will they gain with it.
It is important that the same author of the book doesn’t write the foreword. If he needs to say something about his work he can do it in the preface or introduction.
The preface is a brief explanation by the author of how or why the book was written the inspiration for writing the book. The same author also tries to promote himself and add credibility to his work by referring to his past experience with the book’s topic. Many authors also take this opportunity to thank people who helped them through the process of writing the book. The preface is also a very important selling tool since the author tries to show the reader the knowledge the book brings to their lives and why is it worth reading it.
The basic difference between the preface and the foreword is that the author writes the preface, while a third person writes the foreword.
Although it is not mandatory to write either a preface or foreword, if the author decides to do it, the foreword should come first, followed by the preface.
The pages containing the preface and foreword aren’t numbered as part of the book where Arabic numerals are used. Instead, lowercase Roman numerals are used for these sections of the book.
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Pamela Hilliard Owens is the founder and CEO of Detroit Ink Publishing, a company that helps authors with their ghostwriting, writing, editing, formatting, manuscript preparation, and self-publishing projects. Contact us here to schedule a free consultation about your needs.