Saturday 20 April 2024

Who reads introductions? by Joan Lennon

Eugene de Blaas The Introduction (1883)

(wiki commons)

I'm nearing the end of the first draft of a non-fiction book for 8-12 year-olds, and I'm running out of excuses. I have to write an introduction, because non-fiction children's books have introductions. It's expected. But expected by whom? Who reads the wretched things? 

My guess is: kids - no; teachers, librarians and parents - yes. Same answer as to who buys (usually expensive) non-fiction children's books.

So while I'm hoping my 8-12 year-old readers will be flipping ahead into the good stuff, I need to convince their adults that that is a worthy idea. That my book is something they want their children to read.

Do I need to convince them that my book will help their kids pass exams, write essays, look smart?

Is it like a trailer? Do I want to spoil the best bits by waving them like shiny objects in the hopes they'll be hypnotised and buy? (You can tell I'm not a fan of trailers.)

I know it's nice if you have some sort of personal anecdote to explain why you wrote the book in the first place and to make you seem nice and approachable. 'I thought it would be interesting' doesn't really tick that box, but that's what I've got - and it has been really, really interesting!

How about 'I like the book! I like it a lot!' But then I would say that.

Any thoughts/tips/tricks on writing introductions gratefully received - from humans only. AI can get on with writing its own books.

Hey ho. Wish me luck - I'm going in.

(And I'm not even thinking yet about writing the blurb. I was maundering about those as far back as 2017 - That Blurb Word - as a way of avoiding writing them for the books I was finishing back then.)

Joan Lennon website.

Joan Lennon Instagram.

Non-fiction for 8-12 year-olds by Joan Haig and Joan Lennon, illustrated by Andre Ducci: 

Talking History: 150 Years of Speakers and Speeches pub. Templar Books 

Great Minds: 2500 Years of Thinkers and Philosophy pub. Templar Books.


Nick Garlick said...

I think if you can say what inspired you - and keep it short and fast - that's an excellent way to introduce a book.

Joan Lennon said...

Good advice - and short and fast is certainly what I like in reading somebody else's introduction.