Writing a Book Acknowledgement

MOCK 01 Front Cover Scattered StonesThere are many sections to a book. The two important parts that need the most attention are the story and the cover (in that order). For the past several months, I have focussed on these two things; without a doubt, I want them to be as close to perfect as humanly possible.

As launch day approaches for Scattered Stones, book 2 in The Castle Keepers series, I need to start playing with the other parts that go into a printed novel, the little details that occupy the spaces between the front cover and the story, and the back cover and the story. Playing is the exact word I want to use.

This time around, I want to be less formal and allow a slither of my silly side to lighten and brighten these little details. I love fun, funny and silly. And I love putting a twist into things that readers don’t expect. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

I have never written an acknowledgement for any of my books, but I’ve seen many books that include them. In essence, it is a few words to thank the people who provided a helping hand to bring the book to life. This might be direct or indirect help.

I went on a search for acknowledgements and found this one by Nelson Demille, author of Wild Fire:

“…There is a new trend among authors to thank every famous people for inspiration, non-existent assistance, and/or some casual reference to the author’s work. Authors do this to pump themselves up. So, on the off chance that this is helpful, I wish to thank the following people: the Emperor of Japan and the Queen of England for promoting literacy; William S. Cohen, former secretary of defense, for dropping me a note saying he liked my books, as did his boss, Bill Clinton; Bruce Willis, who called me one day and said, “Hey, you’re a good writer”; Albert Einstein, who inspired me to write about nuclear weapons; General George Armstrong Custer, whose brashness at the Little Bighorn taught me a lesson on judgement; Mikhail Gorbachev, whose courageous actions indirectly led to my books being translated into Russian; Don DeLillo and Joan Didion, whose books are always before and after mine on bookshelves, and whose names always appear before and after mine in almanacs and many lists of American writers—thanks for being there, guys; Julius Caesar, for showing the world that illiterate barbarians can be beaten; Paris Hilton, whose family hotel chain carries my books in their gift shops; and last but not least, Albert II, King of the Belgians, who once waved to me in Brussels as the Royal Procession moved from the Palace to the Parliament Building, screwing up traffic for half an hour, thereby forcing me to kill time by thinking of a great plot to dethrone the King of the Belgians. There are many more people I could thank, but time, space, and modesty compel me to stop here.”

Grinning, I thought, I can do that. So here is the draft for my acknowledgement.

When asked who helped bring this book to life, many names come to mind. They may not be the names expected by some, but when you spend more time alone with your characters than with anyone else, you appreciate life a little differently.

In the spirit of those who kept me grounded, kept me writing, kept me inspired and kept me company all hours of the day and night and through all seasons, I’d like to thank…

John Wayne for shooting from the hip and teaching me true grit.

Gary Gygax for creating Dungeons & Dragons, my first real adventures in the fantasy world. If I had a dollar for every hour I played, I could build a castle.

Tibert, Diane and Dean Brody 2015 09 13 CCMA Halifax PICDean Brody’s voice for keeping me company late into the night as I wrote, revised and edited this story. Your songs, steady and true, ground me in what’s simple and real, the essence of The Castle Keepers series. It’s as if you and this Canadian girl grew up in the same neighbourhood, building the same forts and hanging out beneath the same apple trees. You had me at oatmeal. It was great to meet you at the Canadian Country Music Awards in Halifax, September 2015.

Captain America for staying true to yourself. Bronwyn was not modelled after you because he grew from the 80s when I did not know you. I gave him my honour, and though we (he and I) sometimes stumble, it’s a big part of us. When he personally suffers as he remains true to honour, I sometimes think of your struggles. Thumbs up to Chris Evans who drove this character home for me.

Kenny Chesney who provided the soundtrack while I wrote this acknowledgement, and all the scenes spent by the ocean, and whenever I wasn’t playing Brody. I’m looking forward to the sun, the surf and the songs at Cavendish 2016. From a Wild Child who lives on The Coast of Somewhere Beautiful.

Alexander McDonald of the Isle of Skye who set foot on Canadian soil in 1783 after enduring more than a year as a prisoner of war in the colonies, serving with British forces. Your courage and adventurous spirit guaranteed your Scottish blood entered my soul.

Terry Brooks for providing endless hours of reading adventure when I was younger, and helping to ignite the fantasy flame.

Harrison Ford for playing awesome characters my characters struggle to live up to. You have been an inspiration since I was a teen, and although I haven’t named a character Harrison yet, I’m sure he lives in my future somewhere. I didn’t get to meet you while you were in Halifax shooting K-19: The Widowmaker, but I hope you enjoyed your time in my wonderful province.

Isaac Newton whose law I’ve proven many times over the past three decades.

André Marek of Timeline (aka Gerard Butler) for the photo I stumbled upon after completing Shadows in the Stone. The image embedded in my brain for Tam Mulryan stared back from that picture, so I printed it and stuck it behind my computer during the creation of Scattered Stones.

Bryan Adams for teaching me I can win; I still have that autographed Reckless album from your 1985 tour in Halifax.

Tim Hicks for Stronger Beer and for being a great sport when we met in September, 2015, Halifax.

Sheila McDougall and Cheryl O’Neill for their constant and continual support while writing The Castle Keepers series. I know you think Kellyn has sailor mouth, and you wonder where I found her. Honestly, she’s a part of me, deep down. She’s who I strive to be more like. Her free spirit gives her wings.

Sidney Crosby for putting our home turf on the map. Every time I drive by that Welcome to Cole Harbour sign, I imagine my name below yours. Maybe someday. I always wondered if Mrs. Crosby, the playground duty at Caldwell Road School, was related. She was a patient lady, and I kept her busy.

Deborah Hale, the first real novelist I ever met. She showed me dreams can come true, and that I could a win twice: I still have that signed copy of The Wizard’s Ward.

If you need to write an acknowledgement, check out How to Write an Acknowledgement.

One of the best anti-thank you acknowledgements was written by Brendan Pietsch and is found here Is this the best book acknowledgement ever?

What about you? Do you include acknowledgements in your book?

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20 thoughts on “Writing a Book Acknowledgement

  1. Diane, this was a fun approach to acknowledgements. I’d been thinking of posting on acknowledgments but after reading your post I’ll have to reconsider. My take seems so bland compared to yours! Best. 🙂

    • You should post, Carol. My type of acknowledgement isn’t for everyone. Some will think it’s wrong, but that’s okay. There are probably more self-published authors who will stick what works instead of taking a chance.

      This is my sixth full-length novel, so I have room to wiggle and I’m brave enough (or stupid enough; there is often little difference) to create such an acknowledgement.

      Thanks for visiting, Carol.

  2. Hey – love the sentiments.
    I wrote a rather long acknowledgements ( a serious one because so many people helped me with the research) for my second novel and it was pointed out that it would have been better at the back rather than in the trad form at the front. This is especially true on kindle when you want to capture your reader as quickly as poss and they are not really interested in how encouraging your Aunty Joan was in doing the baby sitting while you wrote, for example 😉

    • Diana, you bring up an important point. I haven’t decided where to put this acknowledgement in the eBook format. It is long and will eat up some of that free sample Kindle offers. At least with Smashwords, you can choose your percentage, so it wouldn’t matter if you put it in the front or the back.

      I have already decided the book is going to all markets, not just Kindle. I won’t offer it for free, so enrolling it in KDP Select has no benefits. So I probably will put it in the front, but I’ll decide that when I format. In the papercopy, it is definitely going in the front.

      Thanks for visiting.

  3. Brilliant! Certainly it’s an interesting marketing concept. Although, I prefer to thank the people directly involved with my book, whether for their help, or their inspiration. 🙂

    • Thanks, Debby. Of course, marketing comes in to play (along with wanting to bring a smile to my face and that of readers), but I have to be honest, the three people who stuck with me for the hundreds of hours I worked on this book are noted: Sheila McDougall, Cheryl O’Neill and Dean Brody.

      The first two have read my stories and offered assistance whenever I asked. The last one, well, I write and edit better to music, and his four CDs are on rotation on my computer. They keep playing over and over again, providing white noise and a soothing melody. I don’t know if I can write in silence. Even now, I’m playing Tim Hicks as I write email and answer comments on my blog.

      But when I want to get right into a story, I need a calmer, more familiar music, and that’s Brody’s.

      And if it weren’t for Gary Gygax, I might not be writing fantasy. I might not have picked up my first Terry Brooks book.

      So while this was all in fun, there are deep meanings to everyone noted, but those meanings are often known to me only.

      I’m going to post the dedication soon, and there I thank another who was instrumental in introducing me to fantasy.

      I understand this isn’t the way everyone does it. And I’m happy about that. We are all different. I might be more serious the next book…or I might be more silly. Time will tell.

      • Don’t get me wrong Di, I think your idea and logic behind it is ultimately creative! This is certainly a new twist on acknowledgments. And like you said, depending on the book is what we feel appropriate for the acknowledgment. It’s quite a clever innovation. Maybe I’m just a little old fashioned or behind the times. Definitely something to consider for me down the road. And I’m sure you will update us down the road on feedback. 🙂

        • I was like you until I stumbled upon that Wild Fire acknowledgement, then I realised I don’t have to be so serious with what many would consider the serious side of a book. Sometimes I think we are led astray by traditional publishers who are all about business, and not much about fun. But if life isn’t supposed to contain some fun, what are we doing here? I want more fun in my life; I’m deficient in it.

          I certainly will let you know down the road how the acknowledgement was received.

          Thanks, Debby. I do appreciate the serious side of books, and I usually go that route, so I understand when others do.

          • Well, thanks again for enlightening us. It certainly is a different approach, and a lot more fun than being serious.
            And boy do I hear you on a little light in the ‘fun’ department! 🙂

  4. That was very clever! I do write acknowledgements in my books as I realize they would not have ever been published without some outside help. I was surprised to learn that many young readers read the acknowledgements.

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