Writing the Acknowledgments Page

I’m one of those people who loves to read the Acknowledgments pages of books.

I get a kick out of the short, covert shoutouts that authors write to those folks who have helped them pen or publish their work, such as “This book could not have been written without Schlep — you know who you are” or “Joe, thanks for the hot dog.” I try to imagine what Schlep and Joe look like and just how that hot dog played into things.

But when it came time to write my own Acknowledgments page for Baby Grand, something that I anticipated excitedly, I was struck by how difficult it was to put in a page or two all the people who have meant something to me throughout the process of getting my first novel published. If only I had started some kind of list at the very beginning and jotted down all the Schleps and Joes who had helped me along the way, I’d at least have a head start. But I didn’t. (Or maybe I did and can’t remember where I put the darn thing.) Plus, I didn’t know how to go about organizing this page. Was there some kind of rule? Business before personal? Most important to least important? Age before beauty?

So I did what any stymied person would do, I googled “How to write the Acknowledgments page of a book.” A few interesting things came up, including an article that suggested making three columns — Yes, No, Maybe — and then getting rid of the Nos and Maybes, and then slicing the Yeses in half.

That seemed a bit harsh, so I just started to write, hoping something would come to me. And, for the most part, the list of names flowed from my fingertips.

I’m sure like many Oscar, Emmy and Spelling Bee trophy winners who have forgotten to thank their spouses or their parents in their acceptance speeches, I am bound to have left someone out.

But they’ll be the first ones on the list for my next novel, which I’m writing now. I just created the Acknowledgments document for that one, so let’s hope I can find it when I need it.

Have you ever written an Acknowledgments page? How did you go about it?

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5 thoughts on “Writing the Acknowledgments Page

  1. Dina,

    Congrats on writing your acknowledgments page. I could relate to everything you said in your post. I remember spending an entire afternoon and early evening working on mine in the summer of 2008. When a new publisher released my first novel on Kindle this past July, I spent a couple of hours updating the acknowledgment page to reflect the changes and the new people who have come into my life since the first publication. I’m already making mental notes for my next novel.

    Good luck and looking forward to reading Baby Grand.

  2. I’ve written one for every book so far, and they are definitely difficult to write. The people influence my writing in the most random possible ways; I can’t just cut them out.

    I usually go for the most interesting ones. A slew of my friends have helped me create Book 1; a great family I know was the driving influence to Book 2, and Book 3 was uniquely inspired by two people (who have character counterparts). Book 4, the one I’m creating right now, I have no idea whom to dedicate to. My editor, yes. The place where it was written (almost in full) – of course, as well as the person who put it together. But who else?

    I look forward to your story!

  3. As soon as I started reading this post I double checked the list I’ve been working on. Is it okay to have 10 acknowledgment pages? :)
    Although a large part of the writing process is spent alone, It’s incredible how many people can have an impact on your work. Without support, critique, advice and the inspiration of others, my debut novel would be a very different book indeed. Writers do need their space to write but we all need plenty of visitors to our remote log cabins in the wilderness to help us to see the wood from the trees.

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