Does Anyone Read Introductions?

by | Jul 31, 2023 | Publishing, Writing

Does anyone read introductions?

Public speaking 101 tells us there are three parts to any message, the introduction, the body, and the closing. And it is the communicator’s responsibility to use the introduction to tell their audience what they are about to tell them, the body to tell them what they are telling them, and the closing to tell them what they were just told.

So it is with a book.

An introduction can be a valuable part of the reading experience, provided it is utilized correctly. Introductions are much like the first of two sentences connected by a semi-colon; they should be kept in mind while the next sentence (or, in this case, the book) is absorbed.

Great introductions will:

  1. Act as a roadmap for the reader.
  2. Equip the reader with an understanding of what the two of you are talking about.
  3. Present the lens through which the subject matter will be examined.
  4. State the benefit of accepting and implementing the ideas and propositions offered in the book.

Authors must not settle for telling; they must ensure their readers have every opportunity to learn. To that end, authors need to understand that some, if not many, readers will skip the introduction altogether. As such, the most important parts of the introduction should be craftily repeated in the first chapter. Now, don’t be lazy and copy and paste your favorite parts; instead, restructure them, so they are both an introduction to the reader starting in chapter one and an amplification of the introduction for those who started at the beginning.

Your goal as an author is to ensure the reader learns what they want to learn from you; this is the implicit agreement when readers pay for what you have to say.

Marcus Costantino, Contributor