As you are gathering the front and end matter for your manuscript, you may find yourself wondering what the differences are between a foreword, a preface, and an introduction. These are three separate and very important elements that appear in the front pages of books, and they each have their own specific functions. The roles of these pieces are often confused.
One of the questions our team often hears is, “Who is a good fit for Greenleaf Book Group?” It may be a surprise to some that our answer is, “Not everyone.”
Whether or not an author will benefit from working with Greenleaf has everything to do with the goals of that author, and the goal to share a book with the public is almost always just the tip of the iceberg. A myriad of needs, hopes, and preferences underlie the desire to get a book in readers’ hands, and those priorities dictate what publishing model will work well. Some authors prioritize creative control. Others seek literary acclaim. Still others want a straightforward way to summarize their knowledge for potential clients. There is a publishing model for every type of author, and while ours isn’t for everyone, authors who do excel through our process share a few key characteristics.
Are you someone with an interesting personal story to tell? Do your experiences offer others a new or unusual perspective? Have you collected anecdotes from work and life that you feel could be of particular value or provide insight to people? If so, you might have a memoir to write.
If you’re writing a nonfiction book, you’ve probably already heard this advice—write a proposal before you write your book. The foremost reason to start with a proposal is that, if you’re pitching to an agent or publisher, a proposal delivers the most pertinent information about your project in the shortest amount of reading time. In a few pages you can lay out your goals for the book, your credentials, and how you fit into the current market. This allows agents and publishers to determine if and where you’d fit into their current list more quickly than if they have to dig for the information themselves.
Bloggers make great candidates for book writers. They already have a wealth of content to draw from, know who their audience is, and more often than not, already have a platform. So for bloggers who have built a loyal following in their industry, a book may be the next logical step.
Any author will tell you: Writing is a long and arduous process. After you have brainstormed ideas for your subject matter and then completed your detailed outline, it’s time to begin your prose. You know what you planned to talk about, and you want your articulation, punctuation, rhythm, and descriptions to be perfect. But this can be intimidating. You might find yourself writing and rewriting your first chapter or even your first few paragraphs over and over again. You might find yourself stuck.
When you first decided you wanted to write a book, you probably pictured it flowing freely from you, the muse speaking through you about your particular topic of expertise. In a perfect world, this would be the case. Unfortunately, and more realistically, this “muse approach” rarely works. Writing a book is difficult—even for the most experienced of authors. A strong outline can be one of the most useful tools you can use to get you through the writing process. Unlike the muse, who can be a tad fickle, your outline will always be there.
You did it! You’re a published author. It was a long road, full of twists and turns and the unexpected, but you came out the other side and can now find your book among the other titles you’ve admired for years. There are things you probably wish you’d known at the beginning of this process that you know now. Some advice from your future, published self to your past, unpublished self might include the following:
- Your book will not be what you envisioned; it will be better.
- The publishing process will take longer than you think.
- There are more moving parts to the process than you imagine.