Date Posted: 07/07/2016 | Category:
What Should You Call Your Introduction?
Book insides are usually split into three sections: front matter, text, back matter. The front matter will usually include the title page, copyright and publisher information, contents, acknowledgements or dedication and perhaps a list of previous works. Some books also include an introductory section: a foreword, preface, introduction or prologue. They are all there to introduce something about the book so why do they have different names? Are there any differences between them or are they just different words for the same things? Let's take a look at each one.
The foreword is usually written by someone other than the author who is either connected to the author in some way or is an expert in the field or topic of the book's contents. A foreword can give your book credibility as it shows that it has been approved and endorsed by a professional. Forewords are usually found in non-fiction works. A foreword will precede a preface.
A preface is written by the author and usually states their intentions or aims for the book's contents, explaining its purpose and scope. It can cover the book's creation and how it was researched or developed and can also include the author's credentials or qualifications if relevant to the subject. It often includes acknowledgements to anyone who assisted the author with the book.
Prefaces are usually found only in non-fiction works.
An introduction focuses on the contents of the book, and is usually there to give the reader some information before proceeding to read the main text. It is there to introduce the text itself, perhaps supplementing it or offering up a starting position or viewpoint that the reader should be aware of. It could also instruct the reader how to read the book - the best way to approach differing layouts or spread of information for example. Again, introductions are usually found only in non-fiction.
A prologue is part of the main body of text. It introduces the action and is a part of it too. A prologue can establish the setting and give background details or an earlier part of the story that is integral to the main text. However, it doesn't have to describe the beginning or what came before the main story, it can focus on any pivotal moment.
Some people say that if you have a prologue you must have an epilogue.... but I wouldn't force one in just for the sake of convention.
Prologues are usually found in fiction.
So in conclusion, yes, they are all different and you could have a book with all four! If you were to have all four, the usual order would be as above: foreword, preface, introduction, prologue.