Saturday, September 13, 2008

Forewords vs. Testimonials

I have been corresponding via e-mail with an author who read the article on forewords on my writer's website. He liked the article, but had this question:

Would you say people offering testimonials enjoy some of the same benefits of people writing forewords?

To which I responded:

I'd answer with a qualified "yes." The operative words are "some of the same benefits." To my mind, writing a foreword can benefit both the foreword-writer and the book's author, whereas giving a testimonial primarily benefits the person receiving it. (I'm not negating the goodwill fostered from saying nice things about people who have helped you. I'm merely saying that I consider giving testimonials more as networking, while a good case could be made for considering a foreword as marketing.)

In my opinion, the best personal result one can hope for from offering a testimonial is keeping one's name and reason for fame in front of the public without actually producing something new. In the world of fiction, for instance, Stephen King is brilliant at giving testimonials. He puts his seal of approval on an emerging author while simultaneously reminding the world who the true writing master is.

I believe that forewords hold more value than testimonials, however. I would argue that forewords hold more innate credibility than a testimonial. Anyone can write a few lines of glowing review. Not everyone is asked to pen a foreword. If done correctly, providing a foreword can bring the writer's work to the attention of a whole new audience while still introducing the larger work.

That's my two cents' worth, at any rate.

I spent most of the afternoon working with a writer friend and helping her polish a sample chapter for her non-fiction book proposal. The project she's working on involves telling part of her very remarkable life story. I find it utterly fascinating. I'm honored to be included in some small way to help make this project happen.

Tonight, I'll finish up a rough draft of a chapter for Ryan Gingerich's book. Then, tomorrow begins with a phone consult with a potential client and concludes with a drafting of a section for my Very Important Major Client.

It's good to be busy. And I must say that it's interesting work keeping all these projects afloat at once.

I generally like to work on only one Major Project at a time, but events have conspired against me. Due to reasons beyond my control (and the fact that I have difficulty saying "No" to valued long-term clients who come perilously close to begging for my help...), I've got several irons in the fire. Right now, all is copacetic. I just pray that I don't get burned...