Writing Tips: Acknowledgements Page a Must!

"Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
                                                                      Marcel Proust
The final hour of self-pubbing my first book--a children's novel--is ticking away. Checked off on my final--fini--the finale--list:
  • Ms revised, edited, released to the universe and ready to go
  • Artwork complete by a talented and terrific illustrator
  • Book blurb ready to adorn the back cover
  • Website/blog up
  • Marketing plan set
Every Book Should have One
But wait. Any last-minute parts missing? You bet: the acknowledgements page! I put the question to one of my editors: should I include an acknowledgements page? She said, "Every book should have one."

Off to Google I went for my usual check-up, and I found a dissenting viewpoint (!). Though that didn't seem possible, sure enough an article was published in The New Yorker titled, of all things: "Against Acknowledgements," by Sam Sacks. Surprise! Believe it or not, there were parts I actually liked about Sacks's argument. Sacks makes clear that he is "as mindful as anyone of the pressures on the literary marketplace and the challenges of getting a novel bought and published; and the traditionally invisible work of editors is not only necessary but sometimes no less rigorous than the effort the author went to in composing the manuscript," (thank goodness). But in a nutshell, here are his reasons for opposing it:
An acknowledgements page at the end of a book can cloud the finale when it is, "in effect, an advertisement for a book the reader has already finished."
From Sacks's article, however, I did come away with two excellent nuggets to tuck away:
  • Save your thank you's for your Website, or
  • Include them in small print on the copyright page.
All in Favor, Say Aye
After careful consideration, I've decided to include an acknowledgements page as one of the last pages in my book. But who to thank and who must I leave out? According to Greenleaf Book Group, the acknowledgements page should be kept to one page. "A good rule of thumb is to stick only to the people who helped you directly in writing and producing the book . . . Common acknowledgment ideas are family members, sources for nonfiction pieces, your editor and designer/illustrator, your publisher, and your book mentor." Also, "Be parsimonious in your praise of animals, too. Sorry, Spot."
Here is an example of the people I'm most grateful to:
  • I've mentioned the courses I've taken in hopes of helping writers who have read my book and dream of writing their own book one day to know where to look to learn how and receive support.
  • Authors and editors such as Karen Cioffi, author extradinaire and owner of www.writersonthemove.com, and Carolyn Howard-Johnson, who writes for WOTM and never tires of helping writers, especially in her books, The Frugal Editor, The Frugal Book Promoter, and How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically; who have mentored me, offered their friendship, and are there for me when I need their help.
  • My family, who have given me their support and encourage me through many years of trial and error.
  • My readers who have read early drafts of my book and some who have shared it with their children and have offered invaluable advice.
  • The professionals at my publisher for their expertise and unfailing support.
  • My critique group who have offered advice and encouragement.
  • And the illustrator of my book, whose enchanting illustrations have made the characters come alive.
My book would not have been possible without my family members, friends and colleagues' advice and support. It is most gratifying to include them and give them my thanks in each and every copy of my book.


Handshake image by Sam Garner, AU, courtesy of: https://thenounproject.com.
Caption courtesy of: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/


Really? It takes drafts
three feet+ tall to write a book?
Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 100 articles for adults and children, and six short stories for children. Recently, she has completed her first book, a mystery/ghost story for children 7-11 years old, and is hard at work on Book Two in the series.  Follow Linda at www.lindawilsonauthor.com.

6 comments:

  1. How thrilled I am to be among those acknowledgments you decided to include, Linda. And, as it happens, my The Frugal Book Promoter acknowledgments in the acknowledgements of that book--and as it turns out, I wholeheartedly agree with the decision you made. It even includes a little anecdote about a conversation I had on the subject with a very famous author at a writers conference in St. Petersburg Russia that I attended.

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  2. I will look at your acknowledgements, Carolyn--your encouragement has meant a lot to me and I want people to know that--as many as I can reach!

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  3. Linda,

    Great post about acknowledgements. Thanks. I believe this page should be included but not at the front of the book (as many people do) but in the back. Surveys of readers show many people do not read these opening pages--not how you want to grab readers and begin your book.

    Terry

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  4. Linda, I'm so honored and thrilled that I'm included in your acknowledgements and in such an amazing way!

    I agree with Terry, I'd put the acknowledgements at the back of the book or I've seen many of the included on the copyright pages.

    And, I'm so glad your hard work is finally paying off with the soon to be published MG novel, "The Hilltop Ghost: An Abi Wunder Mystery."

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  5. Terry, I agree. I'm one of those nerds who reads acknowledgements, but I agree its place is in the back after your reader has enjoyed your book! They can get a birds eye view of the support and effort that went into the writing.

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  6. Thank you, Karen. It will be a dream come true when the book is published. You've been there for me, Karen, and I will never forget it. Don't we hope that our audience grows wider and wider as a result of our efforts.

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