Thursday, April 23, 2009


Last summer and fall, five members of my writers' group had their books published. Two were nonfiction and needed forewords. In the spring we had discussed how to go about getting them. I had advised the authors to pick three top experts and then email the best first.
"But, he's never heard of me," one said. "Why would he write my foreword?"
"I wouldn't dare," the other said.
"You won't know till you try," I advised.

For two previous nonfiction books, I knew the individuals I had asked to write the forewords, so it was easy. For the other, I received a personal introduction from the subject of the book -- also relatively easy. However, my fourth book, James Douglas: Father of British Columbia, presented me with a challenge -- I didn't have any connections to use at all. So I took my own advice. I approached the one person I thought would be perfect to write the foreword. But I didn't think for one moment he would agree because he didn't know me or my previous work.

Last New Year's Eve, I emailed him and, much to my astonishment, an hour later had his reply saying he would love to write the foreword. I sent him the ms in March and, last weekend, his foreword landed in my inbox. It is all I wished for and set the book into context. My writer colleagues also achieved
the same result last summer with their first choices, which just goes to show that it never hurts to ask. Don't be shy!