Research, outlining, brainstorming – you’ve just poured a boat load of work into the development of your eBook and if you’re still plugging along, you’re doing a lot better than 99% of the aspiring writers out there.
Now it’s time for the part that most of us dread – the introduction. Personally, I can’t write a lick until I’ve gotten this 2-3 page piece out of the way. But, you may be different. I’ve heard of a rare breed of writer out there capable of writing like mad men on any given part of their book, regardless of the order, introduction be damned.
I wish I could follow suit, but for me and likely quite a few of the readers out there,the introduction comes first.
So, what exactly should this dreaded snippet contain? Let’s take a look at what a good introduction does and what a bad introduction fails to do:
A good introduction does many things. First and foremost it introduces you, the writer. You are more than just a simple scribe. You are the name attached to the book that most people will associate with. So, your story needs to be one that builds credibility, showcases your expertise and shows that you are both interesting and entertaining.
Don’t bore people into abandoning your book. At the same time, don’t tell them your life story. They only need to know the key details that convinced you to write your book. This can almost always be done in 1-2 pages. After that you move on to cover the contents of the book and the message you want your readers to take away from your book.
The problem I see with so many introductions is that eBook writers attempt to model them after published non-fiction, writing 10-20 pages of introduction. The whole concept of an eBook is that the content within is immediately desirable. Someone needs it right now and your introduction shouldn’t get in the way of that.
With that said, how does a bad introduction differ? First, it tends to be either too short or too long. If you don’t provide enough context for your book right away, you limit the audience’s perception of you, the writer. At the same time, if you write too much, you bore the heck out of them and they quickly move on. There’s a fine line in between that provides just enough information to be interesting without drowning them in minutia.
Another common bad introduction habit I see is to describe every chapter in the book. If someone wants to know about each chapter, they can read those chapters. The introduction isn’t designed to give someone an overview of each section, but to provide a thesis for the entire book.
Basically, what exactly was your book written to do? Are you teaching readers how to train a dog? Meet a woman? Make money? Whatever the purpose of your book, tell them up front and then describe what the strategy or method you are about to share has that differs from those of other books.
What do you have to offer and what makes it different from your competitors.
If you keep your introduction simple, to the point and contextual, it won’t take you an hour to write the whole thing and finally jump into the good stuff you’ve been waiting for.