Do books have to have these? I put the first two in my first sci-fi novel, because I had things I actually wanted to say in them. Now I've written another, which is actually a much better book, I have no inspiration for them at all. If I was being honest, I'd put:
Acknlwedgements: My own fantastic fiction machine of a brain for coming up with this.
Foreword: You're reading it.
Preface: I'm not telling you the plot. Read the damn book.
I'm not doing traditional publishing, so I don't care what they would think since they aren't part of the picture. Thoughts?
Nope. If no one else had any hand in helping you get publish-worthy, no point in pretending they did. There's usually someone, though, whether that's an editor or a graphic artist or someone who kept telling you not to give up or who supported you financially or birthed you from their womb all those years ago.
A foreword would be written by someone else who can offer insight into your work or a fresh perspective the reader might care about, especially if it was previously published and has some literary or historical significance. Unless the book relies on some odd storytelling device or method that warrants an out-of-character explanation before they jump in, a preface would be unnecessary, too. Both of those are usually better suited to nonfiction (or collections), I think. And the more disclaimers that precede a story, the more amateur I presume what's to follow is likely to be.
Acknowledgements certainly aren't necessary. As Gordon said, forewords are written by someone else, and prefaces are generally for non-fiction. I've seen a lot of people dogging prologues recently, but I personally dig them if done right. If you want to give the reader a kind of introduction to the story without establishing your main characters, main themes, or main story arc, I think a prologue can be a good way to do it. I even see it in films. For example, Jaws begins with the couple who goes swimming at night. This scene is the prologue and hooks you before you meet Brody.
Thanks guys, that's very helpful.
Even if you do one, it doesn't have to be a big long thing.
Thanks. (X for Y) or (X1 and X2 for Y) or (X1 for Y1 and X2 for Y2).
I gotta say, I would wonder about a book that NO ONE besides the author had a hand in.
I don't think he is claiming he alone, with no help ever at all, created the book because he doesn't seem like an idiot. I think he is just saying no one helped enough to earn a dedication for that book because it was mainly a personal project.