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The Preface: Explain the Origin of Your Book

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John. (Revelation 1:1, NLT)

A Word For Writers

Once you’ve written a book, you have the chance to explain to readers why you wrote it. You can do so in the preface. 

While some writers don’t include a preface with their book, neglecting it can be a missed opportunity. Here is where you – the author – explain your book’s origin by answering questions like … 

  • What was the book’s seed idea?
  • What is the problem your book solves?
  • Who encouraged you to write the book?
  • Why did you see the need for your book?

The Apostle John wrote a short preface to Revelation, explaining that …

  • The book’s content was from Jesus, sent to John via an angel
  • The book showed events that would soon take place
  • The book was written to Christ-followers so they could prepare for the future

Indeed, John’s preface is injected with urgency. The pages to follow were not simply a telling of the future. Rather, he explained, “the time is near” (Revelation 1:3). His report was a must-read for the people of God.

John demonstrates a preface’s golden rule: in your preface, show how you saw the need for your book.

A Wise Word

Use your preface to explain the origin of your book.

A Word To Pray

Heavenly Father,

You want us to be prepared for the future. Thank you for sending John the content for the book of Revelation. As I write the book you give me, allow me to clearly explain its origin to my readers.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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