By Judith Briles
That is … if you are going to thank anyone. First of all, do you need an Acknowledgment page? Maybe. Most books, fiction and nonfiction, have one but it doesn’t mean it’s a must have. My preference? I always include one. I’ve never created a book where there hasn’t been input, encouragement, support and work to create it. I bet yours is no different. So, I’m all for doing a shout out to those who have been with me on the book dance floor.
Acknowledgments are usually one of the last items on the book publishing “to do” list … the Thank Yous to the friends, family members, and the team that supported and assisted you in creating your masterpiece. My two bits: don’t ignore them.
When writing you can be quite simple, as in Thanks to George who believed in my idea and me from the get go; to broad, creating quite a spiel about what the person did for you. Think in the narrative … Many readers never read the Acknowledgment page (I’m one of those who does), it’s more of a “heartfelt note” from you to each one on your list who participated in some way to get your book birthed.
Note: An Acknowledgment Page is not a Dedication Page—dedications are usually short with minimal words and to one or just a few people.
Where do you place it? Today, I usually see them in the back matter of a book.
Many authors start with their family and friends, and forget the designers, consultants, printers and anyone who was a massive encourage in getting their book done. Don’t.
Let’s Start with Who’s in Your Village?
Part of the cheerleading team, friends are as critical as family members. Friends assist in doing reality checks—sometimes family members may be too nice—Mom is less likely to say that what she is reading is garbage. Friends can be a bit blunter—but not always. What they are is encouragers—and we all need them.
Parents, kids, siblings, aunts, uncles. Family. They are a tremendous part—from giving you “time away” to create and finish your book—to doing errands for you so you can stay focused—assisting with research—bringing food—even the pets can get into the picture.
Spouses and Partners
Certainly family, yet these individuals are special and are rarely clumped into the “family paragraph.” Many land on the Dedication page as well.
You love them … and sometimes cringe when they want to/tell you to delete and change. A good editor will make your thoughts, ideas, and words sing. ID the ones who helped you—you may have more than one. Let your readers know what she or he did—editors are often invisible in the process, and are so critical to your book’s success.
Assistants and Researchers
- Did you have interns doing work or anyone that tracked down info or items for you?
- Did you use the library?
- Was a librarian helpful?
- Who else?
Sometimes they are IDed in your book; others, the name and place are changed. You may do a “blanket” thank you or you can ID—space and circumstance will dictate which way you go. But, do acknowledge that they were part of your book. And, by the way, they can quickly become super fans of yours, shouting out to others that they were part of the book and to get a copy.
Graphic and Interior Designers
Here’s to those who create what’s between the covers. Their work is critical for visual sellability of your book, not to mention creating a book that can compete with anyone … a book that does not look “self” published.
Sometimes the Interior and Cover Designer is one in the same; sometimes not. The cover is all about getting the buyer’s attention—”pick me up”—the seven-second grabber to the buyer that you want (and need). The back cover really stands as the key marketing piece where many of the decisions are made to buy your book. Who created your design and copy and should get honors?
If you have photos or any type of art work, make sure you acknowledge them. It’s more common than not—photos and other art arrive in not top quality and low resolution. Your Illustrator and Photographers become your ally in fixing them up! For my AuthorYOU Mini Guide series, it’s the illustrations that cartoonist Don Sidle and my virtual assistant Leah Dasalla whip up that adds the eye-candy I’m looking for. Huge kudos always come their way from me.
Who are your role models, heroes and mentors who took you under their wing or influenced you (and often don’t know it)? One of my clients traveled to Florida to personally thank Tony Robbins for the impact he had on his life when he first came to America, giving him a copy of his book. Kudos to them for teaching you the ropes before you got tied up in them. Big thanks go here.
It’s common to have friends and professionals read your book—bravo to them (especially when they hung in with you through many drafts) … and thank them.
If you were able to get them—fabulous. Now thank them again.
Publishing and Writing Coaches
If you used a Book Coach, Writing Coach or Publishing Coach, say so and tell what they did and how they worked with you.
If you used a publisher, make sure you ID all the players that you interfaced with on the publisher’s team and what they did. It’s a good thing to do.
Some books have a Foreword. Sometimes they are written by the Author (in my opinion, they shouldn’t be). Forewords should be created by someone with a “name”—a name that would carry credence by the market you are targeting for your book. Thank them—their name just may be why your book is bought or picked up. By the way, please, please spell Foreword correctly … It’s not “forward”—something I see too often and not caught, especially from the self-published author.
Do you have a writing group that you relied on? What about a co-author … all this belongs here. Even the UPS, FedEx, postal carrier just might have earned a kudo or two. Heck, my friend Mark Sanborn built a multi-million dollar writing and speaking career around Fred, his postal carrier for years who delivered excellent customer service. You never know.
Indeed, it does take a village to create a book. Sometimes, it’s a big one; sometimes quite small. But it’s there. Share the good news in who brought yours to light. As I mentioned, many book buyers read the Acknowledgment page to see who was on your team.
Who knows … you just might find the “publishing pro” that you’ve been looking for to assist you in your next book. I have—I’ve connected with editors and others in the publishing field … pros that I’ve worked with just because I discovered them on the Acknowledgment page of a book or author that I admired and might be a fit for my next project.
What say you? Who’s on your list that makes you and your words shine?