Before you can write a preface, you have to understand what a preface is for. The preface is what introduced the book and the author to their audience. It tells your readers the genesis of the book-what is the book about?

What was your motivation and your inspiration for writing it?

Rather than telling it, see if you can share a story that illustrates it instead. I sent out an email to my email list the other day about how one author’s books literally saved my life. If you missed it, I highly suggest taking a few minutes to read it. It will be the preface, or, at least, part of the preface of one of the upcoming books that I’m working on.

It’s on this blog at: It generated quite a few wonderful responses because it hit a chord with people. If you can do that in your preface, you’ll have your readers begging to set aside time to actually read your book! And after all, isn’t that why we write them?

Next, explain who is the book for, and then why they should listen to you.

What gives you the right to write it?

You could also outline the process for writing the book, the challenges you faced and how long it took you to write it.

If it’s a new version, you could talk about how this book is different that the prior edition or editions of the book, including relevant information about what took place after the earlier edition.

So, you might be wondering, how long should your preface be?

A preface can be from a few paragraphs to three pages. Shorter is better but if you include a story, it will probably be longer. But, if you use a story, make sure it is compelling and explains the point you are trying to make. You don’t want to make your preface long for the sake of being long. You want it to compel your readers to read your book!

Once it’s finished, be sure to edit it. And if you need help with content or with editing, many book editors can provide this service, we do it as well.

You can contact us at

Ellen Violette helps busy creative visionaries, leaders, speakers, and authors, write, publish, launch to #1 bestseller, and market their book to get more clients, make more money, make a bigger impact, and leave a legacy. She is an award-winning book and business coach, podcast host, CEO of Create a Splash Marketing & Grammy-nominated songwriter.