1. Your foreword establishes your credibility. The writer might mention how she knows you. She can establish your expertise in the area. In addition, if she is seen as an expert in the field, her credentials may rub off on you.
2. A good foreword motivates readers to read the book: the foreword writer may discuss what problems your book helps solve, how you helped him or her, how you’ve helped other people and the benefits and results readers may gain from reading your book.
3. Fans of the foreword writer may even buy your book based on that connection. It’s true. If the foreword writer is a celebrity, their endorsement can sell books.
So, whom should you ask to write a foreword?
- A household name is always great as it can draw readership, as long as the link is clear. Either the person should be an expert in the field that the book covers, or the person should be someone that your core readers tend to highly respect or wish to emulate. For instance, Deepak Chopra might be a powerful choice for any kind of self-help book, even if his expertise is not the particular area you are writing about.
Other possibilities are:
- A person who is well known to your readers, even if not to the rest of the world
- A person who has powerful credentials in your field, such as the president of a national organization related to your book’s topic. In this case, be sure to include the person’s title or credentials next to their name.
How do you ensure the person writes something on target? It’s perfectly reasonable—once they say “yes”—to send a note thanking them and asking them to touch upon these things, for example:
- How we met/how you know me
- Why you think the book will help others
- Sharing the story of the client you sent me whom I helped with xyz
- Can you also share these particular credentials and skills of mine?
This kind of polite outlining will actually save the person time.
Many people are happy to write a foreword as it reinforces the idea that they are an expert in the field and/or provides free publicity to them. Occasionally, someone very famous will ask to be paid to write the foreword. This is not uncommon and you can decide whether or not it’s worth the endorsement but it may well be.