How to use a Foreword
A foreword is different than an introduction or a preface (see Related Terms) and plays a different role. It doesn’t always include information that is explanatory or essential to understanding the book; it’s more personal, working to support the text rather than explain its purpose. The way a foreword is written will depend on whether it is composed by the author himself or someone other than the author. Either way, it is always placed at the front of a published work, before the main text.
- A foreword by someone other than the author may share:
- The story of the relationship between the foreword’s writer and the book’s author
- The connection between the foreword’s writer and the book’s story
- The story of some other interaction between the foreword writer and the book’s author
- Support and insight why the book’s author is qualified to write on the topic
- Something else interesting and relevant to the book’s topic
- A foreword by the author himself may share:
- The story of how the book was written
- The inspiration for the book’s content
- The idea that led to writing the book
- Acknowledgments to people who helped or inspired the author
On a small note, a foreword should always be signed and dated by whoever writes it!
When to Use a Foreword
Not all books have a foreword—it’s really up to the author whether or not they want to include one. A strong foreword can be particularly important when an author is publishing their first work or just emerging into the literature scene. Particularly, an author will choose to include a foreword when they feel that another person’s endorsement will help with the book’s success.
Specifically, books and other works of literature with a long history of publication (with multiple editions, reprints, or translations) almost always include a foreword. Oftentimes, each new edition of a previously published work is accompanied by a new foreword by a different writer, who provides insight about the significance of the work and its new edition.