Recently one of our blog readers posed a question about writing the acknowledgments section of her book. In response, here are five pointers that may help authors get to grips with their own acknowledgments section. If you have any other questions on this topic drop us a line in the comments.
1. Acknowledgment pages are by their very definition personal and therefore are often written less formally than the rest of the book they reside in. However, be careful to thank people in a way that is not too different in tone from the tone of the rest of the book. Readers of what purports to be a serious book may be put off the author’s jovial appreciation of friends and family.
2. Be judicious in the number of people you thank. Don’t stray too far beyond the people who actually helped you in terms of writing your book. Be parsimonious in your praise of animals, too. (So many authors thank their faithful friends of the quadruped variety.)
3. Find ways to break up the repetitiveness that tends to enter these pages — “And I’d also like to thank …” You can do this by categorizing the people you’re thanking. For example, you can divide your thanks into expressions of gratitude to those who helped you with research; those who reacted to early drafts of the manuscript; and the support team who kept you sane throughout the process. That’s three thank-yous instead of possibly ten. Jim Beqaj, the author of How to Hire the Perfect Employer, cleverly thanks those who helped him get started down the field, those who got him over the goal line, and those who cheered him on throughout the game.
4. Be aware of privacy issues. If your book is an exposé, the people you thank might feel exposed, too.
5. Make sure you spell names correctly. It’s more than a little ironic to misspell the name of someone who means so much to you.
Hope this helps!
If you have questions about writing or publishing drop us a line in the comments below.