A preface is a small introduction to a book, usually written by the author. It shouldn’t be mistaken for the foreword, which is an introductory note written by a person other than the author. The foreword usually precedes the preface.
The preface can include all or any of the following:
1. A little description of the book in general lines, without unveiling the plot, the characters (if it’s a fiction work), or the conclusions. Rather than revealing too much, always leave room for a little bit of mystery. Make your readers curious enough to want to read the book. Intrigue them. Talk about the questions you ask in the book but let them find the answers themselves by reading it.
2. The reason why you wrote the book - in this part you can explain how you got the idea of writing the book and which were the decisive factors that made you commit yourself to such a complex task. You can also refer to the origin or genesis of your work.
3. The purpose of your book - Point out what your potential readers would gain if they read your book and all the benefits they would get from it. Explain how it would help them, entertain them or enrich them (either materially or spiritually).
4. Refer to your target audience. Whom did you have in mind when you wrote your book? Why did you choose to write for that particular audience? These are a few questions you can answer in your preface.
5. The reason why you chose to write about that particular subject (e.g. you are very familiar with it, you were interested in it, it is close to your heart, you are intrigued or fascinated by it, etc.)
6. Resources and sources of inspiration. Talk about what inspired you in writing the book, the resources you’ve used in your work (e.g. bibliography, websites, etc), and your experience and knowledge accumulated through journeys, study or research.
7. How long it took you to write the book
8. How you feel about your work. Explain what makes you feel like that. Talk about what you’ve learned and about how writing this book has helped you as an author and as a human being.
9. Advice on how to read the book. Explain how your book is structured. Include any special notes related to the structure or the content.
10. Experiences you had or incidents that occurred during the writing period.
11. Acknowledgements – express your gratitude by thanking the people who helped you and encouraged you in the process of writing your book.