Sometimes books have a bit at the start written by someone famous. How do you go about getting that? Do people usually pay for it or is it something done out the kindness or because the person loves the subject matter so much?
As Eric said, either you or your publisher generally asks someone if they would mind reading your work and writing either a forward or endorsement. Depending on the time the person has and their inclination, they may say yes. My own research and experience are that paid endorsements mean very little.
r ranson wrote:
The next question: Do people actually read that bit? Does it add value to the book to have a forward by someone with clout in the subject matter?
I like to read forewords, introductions and notes from the publisher etc. when I sit down with a new book. I like to read those few pages as I can learn about the author themselves, pertinent information on the chapters ahead, or in a foreword, interesting insight from another author I may be familiar but not familiar with the author in hand. To me, it does add value to have a foreword by a widely known/famous person/author as it will give me reason to look further into a lesser known author. Perfect example, The Independant Farmstead by Shawn and Beth Dougherty, with foreword by Joel Salatin. I was looking at Salatin books and only came across this one by chance because he had written the foreword, and because I admire Mr. Salatin and his farming techniques, I purchased this book.
"Study books and observe nature; if they do not agree, throw away the books." ~ William A. Albrecht
I am hardly famous R Ranson, but I would gladly write your forward for you. I assume the book is based on your passion; sustainable yarns and clothing? To that end, I am a 9th generational sheep farmer, longer if you go back to the Mayflower where my family had the first sheep shearing shed of New England. but I also teach classes on sheep farming, and farming in general, and write professionally. Considering all you have done for me over the years, to do that completely free would be a small token of my appreciation of your kind-hearted character.
Equally I say this with modesty...I know you can probably get someone better to do this than me; I am just offering nonetheless.
I read Forwards, mostly because I am a prolific reader and thus read a book cover to cover anyway. Still I think it is nice to read from a different perspective for a few pages. I do not think they would be part of book publishing today though if Forwards did not have merit of some sort.
I am writing a forward now for a book on the Opioid Epidemic. It is not about the issue at hand because I have never been an addict, nor been a councilor in recovery,, but rather depicts what it is like to be philanthropist for the cause. II hope it inspires others to invest in peoples lives. In short, Forwards I believe, can be powerful.
r ranson wrote:Sometimes books have a bit at the start written by someone famous. How do you go about getting that? Do people usually pay for it or is it something done out the kindness or because the person loves the subject matter so much?
I think it has been sorta covered but here goes. Publishers of previously unpublished authors will get someone known to read the manuscript and if that person likes the book they usually write either the forward or they write an inside the cover blurb.
It is usually the author (once they have become known) that requests the second book or they already know someone that is well known and they ask them "would you please write the forward for my new book? I'll be happy to give you a copy to read first".
If you go hang out in a book store you will see a lot of people pick up a book and go straight to the forward, read it first then they either put the book back on the shelf, flip to the first few pages of the first chapter or just purchase it because of that forward.
If they were not powerful sales tools, there would be fewer of them and they would be shorter in length.
The back cover is usually an About the Author bit, and most book readers will check that out unless they are already familiar with the author.