When your novel is complete, and ready to be printed, you may reflect on the journey you’ve taken to get to this point and find that one or two people in particular helped in an extraordinary way. Or, you may find that you owe all of your work to one specific person. Perhaps this is someone who has inspired you or has been there for you throughout your entire life, and you decide that you owe it to this person. This is why authors have a dedication page.
What is a Dedication Page?
A dedication page in a book is found at the beginning, before the story starts, and it is a space for the author to – that’s right – dedicate the book to someone. The dedication normally isn’t long, sometimes only a sentence or two, and is a sweet, heartfelt way to honor someone in the life of the author.
Deciding on a Person
Picking one person for a book dedication page seems impossible, right? There are countless people in an author’s life that they could thank. From their parents, to their spouse or partner, to their college professor, to their childhood next door neighbor – the possibilities really are endless.
Dedicating a book to someone is no small gesture. A good way to decide on who you’d like to dedicate your book to is to think about the person who made this book possible. That’s the key here: they should be integral to the publication of the novel. This doesn’t mean they have to be an editor or a reader from a workshop; this could be taken liberally. If your mother was the first person to encourage you to write, then dedicating the book to her would be a beautiful way to thank her.
Writing the Dedication
You’ll need to decide how you want to write the dedication. Should it be short and sweet? Or long and detailed?
This, like anything else in the novel, will depend entirely on author style and preference. Most dedications aren’t very long. The shortest will be just two words, “For Mom” or “For Daniel.” Longer ones will feature a sentence or two explaining why the author is dedicating the book to that specific person.
Dedication Page Examples
- Dedications can be specific and serious: “This book is dedicated to / MY SON, GUY JOHNSON, / and all the strong / black birds of promise / who defy the odds and gods / and sing their songs” Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
- Or they can be general: “To those out on their own paths, setting little fires” – Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere
- Or they can be silly: “This is not for you” – Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves
However you decide to write your dedication page – serious or funny, specific or general – be sure it’s true to your style. As a quick little snippet, and one of the first things your reader will read in the book, it has to pull at the readers’ heartstrings, make them laugh, or make them smile.