~ What you Need to Know to Write an Author Introduction ~
by Tam Francis
Set Yourself Apart with an Author Introduction
With the proliferation of self-publishing, indie and hybrid publishing, it’s become increasingly difficult to stand out or set yourself apart. Why not consider asking an fellow author or a more established author to write an introduction to your novel or story collection?
Where to Begin
A peer from my writer’s group asked me to write an author introduction to her upcoming short story compilation. I was thrilled and honored, but had never written an author introduction before. I turned to the internet. I found gobs of advice on writing author introductions for papers, self-written intros to your own novel, but not much on introducing an author or her works. This site was the only one that offered any insight to author introduction.
It is also important to establish what kind of introduction your author is looking for. First and foremost, read the story or stories and match the tone of the writer. For example, if it’s a humorous piece of writing, don’t write a dry serious author introduction. You are writing a recommendation of why the reader should keep reading.
Since I could not find a brilliant how-to blog on the internet, I turned to my personal library and found many books with author introductions. One of my favorite’s The Wild Party has a wonderful intro which helped. I read and reread author introductions in her genre and outside her genre. After comparing structure, style and content I found a commonality in the introductions that worked and compelled me to read on.
Below is a Do and Do Not list that you may find helpful when and if you are asked to compose an author introduction.
- Be brief
- Don’t talk about yourself
- Mention a few not all
- Have they won any awards
- Have they been featured in magazine, television or radio
- Compare with other known authors in genre
- How does the author fit into this genre
- What does she do that is similar or different
- What else have they written
- What did you like about their writing
- Favorite character and why
- Story (in collections)
- Action or detail which made it exciting for you
- Overall Concept (Romance in the time of Robots)
- Emotional tone (I laughed until I cried)
- NOT READ the book or stories
- DO NOT Review
- DO NOT give away any plot points
Below is the introduction she accepted for her collection:
I am fortunate to have met Gretchen Lee Rix through her “Scare the Dickens Out of Us Ghost Story Contest” established (with Roxanne Rix), at the historic Eugene Clark Library, the oldest, continuously operating public library in the State of Texas. Her love and enthusiasm for writing and writers is boundless.
I first became acquainted with her work through her novel Talking to the Dead Guys, a delightful, light-hearted, who-done-it romp through a small town and historic cemetery. Her quirky characters and lovable detecting dog elevated her novel above peers in this genre.
Since then I have had the pleasure of attending the same writers group and have witnessed the development of many of her short stories. In this new collection, Twisted Rixter, Rix illustrates her versatility and skill in weaving complex unpredictable short stories. Her love of mythology and fantasy is reminiscent of Neil Gaiman and Ray Bradbury.
In The Taking of the Rhinoceros, When Gymkhana Smiles, Ill Met by Midnight, and Saints and Sinners she deftly hints at forgotten mythos juxtaposed against a modern backdrop. My personal favorite was the amusingly warped characters and setting of Saints and Sinners, a familiar biblical subject with a gratifying twist. Within this grouping you will also find the charming Truepenny and The Return of Truepenny, but beware hidden claws.
To find out more about this book, click here.
Do you have any experience with writing author introductions? Do you read author introductions or skip it and dig into the book. Have you learned anything interesting in an intro?
Tam Francis is a writer, blogger, swing dance teacher, avid vintage collector, and seamstress. She shares her love of this genre through her novels, blog, and short stories. She enjoys hearing from you, sharing ideas, forging friendships, and exchanging guest blogs. For all the Girl in the Jitterbug Dress news, give-aways, events, and excitement, make sure to join her list and like her FB page! Join my list ~ Facebook page