You’ve written a great book. You said everything that needed to be said. Except now you feel like there’s something else that needs to be said.
This is where knowing how to write an introduction for a book can really help you out. A great introduction isn’t going to be ignored because it introduces the reader to what your book is actually about.
Many introductions become long and winded, discussing the “journey” that the author endured to write the book. Maybe some readers love that kind of story, but most are going to skip it. To make your introduction be a powerful tool that will secure more sales, consider these 5 key points instead.
#1. Give it a good hook.
If a reader does happen to read your introduction, it’s going to be the first thing they see. That means you’ve got to hook the reader into wanting more. This is your chance to speak directly to a reader. You can make this happen right in the first sentence.
“Do you find yourself struggling…”
“Do you need help finding a way…”
“Are you trying to figure out how to…”
Then you just fill in the rest of the question. By asking a personal question that matters to your targeted readers, you’ll be offering them an introduction to a “value proposition.” In other words, you’re making a promise to answer that question within the book. Put that value proposition into the introduction and you’ll have the start of a good introduction.
#2. Describe the benefits of your book.
Now that you’ve given your introduction a good hook, it’s time to define the actual values a reader will experience by investing time into what you’ve written. These are the specifics that you are going to be promising to provide your audience if they continue beyond the initial introduction.
This is not a place for generalities. Include a handful of specific benefits that will happen when someone reads your book from start to finish.
“You will know how to complete…”
“You will be able to master…”
“You are going to discover a way…”
When you are specific with the benefits, you may turn away some readers. This is true. You’ll also keep a lot more readers who want something specific to happen with their investment into you.
#3. Talk about why you wrote the book.
This is the component of the introduction that gets a lot of writers into trouble. You may have struggled a lot with the writing of this book. Maybe you caught a disease. Or you got bitten by a tiger. A shark tracked you from Seattle to Bermuda and attacked your boat. The goal here is to turn your experiences into another benefit for the reader.
“Sharks have always bothered me. When one followed me to Bermuda, I thought it would rip my leg off. I wanted to share how I dealt with my fears so you could cope with your own experiences.”
Keep this section of the introduction to a short paragraph at most. You’re not writing a novel. You’re writing a one-page introduction. Try to remember that.
#4. Offer a preview of what the reader should expect.
This is the easiest part of the introduction. That’s because you will be including small snippets of information from the rest of your book. Think of it as a “free preview” so the reader knows what to expect if they keep reading.
“Did you know that 95% of people who get bitten by tigers actually smell like beef when it happens?”
The goal here is to be consistent with the facts that are going to be presented within each chapter. Use quotes if you wish. Short stories can be good. A few helpful tips might be enough to really hook a reader as well.
#5. Transition the reader into the book.
This is your “call to action.” It’s a relevant inclusion in a book introduction because you’re selling the reader on what to expect from the rest of the book. A gentle prod to keep them moving to your first chapter or section can be helpful.
The trick here is to balance motivation with an actual command. A call to action must be politely forceful in order to be effective.
“Keep reading to discover when I’m no longer scared of tigers or sharks and you don’t have to be either.”
Some writers feel like the “command structure” in a call to action is a bit rude. So they’ll add some manners to it.
“Please keep reading to discover when I’m no longer scared of tigers or sharks. Thanks for your time and together we’ll make sure you don’t have to be afraid any more.”
Manners are good for the dinner table. Not always so good for an introduction.
Knowing how to write an introduction for a book will help you engage potential readers so they’ll want to buy it. Hook them immediately, provide something valuable, and push them toward that value so they’ll want to have it. When you can do that, you’ll be able to engage your readers on a deeper level.