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My Two Cents on Dedications and Acknowledgments

Happy Sunday my lovelies! I'm so sorry I've been out the past couple weeks, but spring is already a busy, hard time for me personally, and add into that the fact that I decided to publish a book, and you have a recipe for over-extended! But, today I'm going to give you a short one… I'm giving you My Two Cents on Dedications and Acknowledgments.

Okay, so first, if you're a reader, I'm really curious, do you read the dedication and/or the acknowledgments? 

Admittedly, before I started writing, I didn't. Well, I'll take that back. I usually read the dedication (if it was short), but I never read the acknowledgments. So today, I'm going to try to talk about what should go into them, and why you should take the time to read them!

First, let's talk about the difference between the two. Dedications are meant to be short (one or two sentence) inscriptions thanking the person or idea who inspired the book as opposed to acknowledgements which can be longer and can call multiple people/things out. 

Because I have more to say about acknowledgements, I'll briefly give my opinion about dedications.

Personally, I love the type of dedication that hints to the broader impact the author means for the book to have on the world. Like when they make broad, thought-provoking statements about global issues or causes. Or I also really love when the dedication is a funny, personal special acknowledgment. For example, one of my favorite authors always puts some kind of inside joke between her and her husband. Ultimately, I think it's a very personal choice, but I usually try to make the dedication related to the book’s broader topic. And I hope readers read it and it makes them think about the issues we, as humans, face.

As for acknowledgements, they've never been something I ever really took the time to read. Mostly because they're usually at the end, and once I finish the last page, I usually don't go past that. Plus, acknowledgements always felt to me like they were more for publishers, editors and friends and family of the author, not for the readers. And ultimately, I still think that's kind of true. I have recently started reading them more, so I could get a sense of what to write in mine (🤭), but the point is, I completely understand why readers sometimes don't read them.

So authors, if you're struggling to decide who you need to mention, I'm quickly going to run down who I think are the most important few. Here’s who my research suggests you should include (and the order I think they should be listed in):

  1. Your family

Some people mention a broad “friends and family” and some people call people out specifically. Only the author knows how important it is to mention people specifically. But take into account that if you call out individuals, you risk forgetting someone, which could end up in hurt feelings/repercussions.

Personally, in The Cupcake Cowboy, I called people out, and just hoped nobody would get offended. I mentioned my kids and my husband specifically (because they are my whole world). I also mentioned my in-laws because they tangentially inform some of the characters in the book, and my sisters because they're my sisters, and they helped me out through the drafting process.

  1. Your agent and/or publisher

This isn't something I have, but if I did, this is where I'd put in the lineup of people to thank. If I had any advice, it would be don't leave people here out, because it could be viewed as rude and you don't want to offend the people paying to help you get your book in the world.

  1. Your editor/editors, formatters, art designers, cover designers, etc.

I don't have a ton of professionals who worked on my book. I had two editors for The Cupcake Cowboy and I will call them each out individually, and mention the type of service they did/or how they helped. Ultimately, this may be a little difficult especially if your book took a long time or you went through multiple rounds of edits/changes and you may have to choose to cut some people out. But I think it's important to mention the professional services you received to help your book. I have found editors and cover designers by reading the acknowledgments of books I liked. So if your professional services did a good job, make sure you give them props! 

  1. Friends or less “important” family members.

I would say, any friends or integral family you didn't mention above, should go here. I didn't really have any of these, or they kind of merged with the next section.

  1. Critique Partners, beta readers, and writing resources who helped develop the book.

You can choose to call them out individually or as a group. For Cupcake Cowboy and Irish Whiskey, I mentioned a few specifically and made a disclaimer that I know there were so many more that I can't call out because there are just too many. Ultimately, it's up to you if you even want to include this part, but I will say, I've seen my name in a few books recently, and it is really heartwarming! I never would've guessed that my help would ever be enough to warrant me being thanked, but I have been. So make someone’s day and let them know they helped you!

  1. Your readers

It's pretty widely accepted that people thank their readers, because the book is ultimately a paperweight if nobody is reading it. Thank the people buying your book, so maybe they want to buy the next one! 😂

And that's all I have. My acknowledgements may be way too long, but I want people to know that I realize I didn't get here alone. Acknowledgements can be long or short, quick thanks or longer and sappy, but ultimately, they should just be heartfelt. I've spent probably way too much time on mine, but I will say, try not to belabor them. Ultimately, it's just meant to help give props to the people who helped you, and not be a source of anxiety. Plus, try not to beat yourself up if you discover later you forgot someone. Just thank them personally (or put it in the next book🤭).

That's it folks! That's My Two Cents on Dedications and Acknowledgments.  Let the appreciation come from your heart and you'll be just fine.

So, here are my questions of the day… authors, who did I miss? Is there anyone else I should've mentioned? Readers, do you read acknowledgments/dedications? Comment below and let me know!

Happy Sunday my friends! I hope you have a fabulous week!


-Rose Rayne Rivers

Also, don't forget, ARC signups are now open, so sign up now to secure your chance to get an advanced copy of The Cupcake Cowboy.

Let me know if you have any topics you want me to cover in the upcoming weeks!

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