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Introductions?

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Viva Venezuela

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When writing an introduction to your book what do you think works best? I've tried multiple different approaches and I feel like they are all terrible or untrue.
 

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I think introductions can have different roles in different books. My last book was a text book so the introduction was basically 1) what is the point of this book, 2) what will you learn from it, 3) here is a summary of the contents, 4) here is a summary of the over-arching themes.
 

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When writing an introduction to your book what do you think works best? I've tried multiple different approaches and I feel like they are all terrible or untrue.
That's like "how long is a piece of string?". It absolutely depends on the book, its contents, its context in the field, and the intended audience.

For books that update a field, I like an introduction that puts the book into the context of the literature. What was written about the field before, and what new material does this book bring to it? For books that are niche how-to manuals, I like an introduction that discusses what the book covers, its limitations, and where on the scale of clueless-to-expert the reader needs to be. For books that provide an utterly new perspective or cover an unusual subject, I like an introduction that explains why the author chose that subject and why I'm going to enjoy reading it.
 

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I think introductions can have different roles in different books. My last book was a text book so the introduction was basically 1) what is the point of this book, 2) what will you learn from it, 3) here is a summary of the contents, 4) here is a summary of the over-arching themes.
Did you use a hook, or do you think intros with hooks work better?
 

veinglory

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Did you use a hook, or do you think intros with hooks work better?
Maybe I am being lazy but textbooks don't really need hooks. The person you are hooking is generally faculty and that has more to do with who you are, what the book covers, and a pretty cover, than how the introduction starts.
 

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Oh. What I'm writing is a non-fiction about physics. It's new theories so it could be considered an opinion book.

I think I need to find the best ways to make it interesting. People don't generally read physics. It is tough even to get beta readers.

I'm having a hard time, because I don't want to go the way of sensationalism and say this book solves X amount of problems, but I don't want it to be drab either.
It's my conundrum .
 

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When writing an introduction to your book what do you think works best? I've tried multiple different approaches and I feel like they are all terrible or untrue.
Hi,

I read science non-fiction sometimes (if that's what the genre is called) and I'm looking through some of my books to see what they did:
- James Gleick - The Information - he wrote a prologue, not an introduction; in it, he sort of gives a history of the semi-conductor, Bell Labs, Claude Shannon and so on and then tying that into the concept of "information" - what it is, how it differs from "intelligence", how different fields essentially are all entangled with the concept of information, and its role in society. Then, he introduces the African drum before segueing that into the first chapter.
- Geoffery West - Scale - he uses the first chapter to serve as the Introduction, Overview and Summary - so he talks about big picture stuff and what he's wanting to attempt with this book
- Antonio Damasio - The Feeling of What Happens - he breaks this book into parts, the first one being the Introduction -- so, he doesn't have an Introduction per se, but uses the first chapter to explain consciousness and his approach
- Robert Sapolsky - Behave - he has an introduction; in it, he starts with a personal story, followed by what it means in a larger context (society), his Approach/goal of the book, and another personal story compared to a large and awful true-life story (kind of hard to explain without being more detailed) -- regardless, he puts himself into the Introduction - this is why "I'm" writing this, this is what "I" think about this subject ;Sapolsky is very informal like that, it's one of his strengths.

Oftentimes, the Introduction serves as just an opening of "why I wrote this book." You could expound on that with "why I care about the content of the book," or even "why you should care/why you should read this book." If you talk about different physicists throughout your book, you could bring 1-3 anecdotes about them in the Introduction: "Dr. X was in a lab late one night, looking at his research data, when a small and almost imperceptible outlier caught his attention. Upon further study, he discovered this is why A, B and C," or come such. Bring the characters, if you will, into the Introduction. Or, talk about your book in a larger context - why does it matter? If it's just because it's interesting stuff, that's fine.

At the end of the day, it's whatever you want to do. Just my two cents!
 
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Viva Venezuela

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Hi,

I read science non-fiction sometimes (if that's what the genre is called) and I'm looking through some of my books to see what they did:
- James Gleick - The Information - he wrote a prologue, not an introduction; in it, he sort of gives a history of the semi-conductor, Bell Labs, Claude Shannon and so on and then tying that into the concept of "information" - what it is, how it differs from "intelligence", how different fields essentially are all entangled with the concept of information, and its role in society. Then, he introduces the African drum before segueing that into the first chapter.
- Geoffery West - Scale - he uses the first chapter to serve as the Introduction, Overview and Summary - so he talks about big picture stuff and what he's wanting to attempt with this book
- Antonio Damasio - The Feeling of What Happens - he breaks this book into parts, the first one being the Introduction -- so, he doesn't have an Introduction per se, but uses the first chapter to explain consciousness and his approach
- Robert Sapolsky - Behave - he has an introduction; in it, he starts with a personal story, followed by what it means in a larger context (society), his Approach/goal of the book, and another personal story compared to a large and awful true-life story (kind of hard to explain without being more detailed) -- regardless, he puts himself into the Introduction - this is why "I'm" writing this, this is what "I" think about this subject ;Sapolsky is very informal like that, it's one of his strengths.

Oftentimes, the Introduction serves as just an opening of "why I wrote this book." You could expound on that with "why I care about the content of the book," or even "why you should care/why you should read this book." If you talk about different physicists throughout your book, you could bring 1-3 anecdotes about them in the Introduction: "Dr. X was in a lab late one night, looking at his research data, when a small and almost imperceptible outlier caught his attention. Upon further study, he discovered this is why A, B and C," or come such. Bring the characters, if you will, into the Introduction. Or, talk about your book in a larger context - why does it matter? If it's just because it's interesting stuff, that's fine.

At the end of the day, it's whatever you want to do. Just my two cents!
Thank you. It seems no one has much interest in non-fiction(especially not physics), and that's what makes the introduction so important.
I've read a bunch but I don't know which ones most people liked, or what approach they would like best for a physics book.
These are good suggestions. I'm glad to hear you liked the personal approach. I like that too, but people on the internet always advise against it.

I suppose I will just have to write a few different introductions and get feedback.
 

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