It takes a village to write a book, and the best way to thank those who’ve helped you, in some form or another, is by writing an acknowledgement page. An acknowledgement page is a special place in a book, one dedicated completely to inspirational, helpful, and encouraging persons in the author’s life. Whether big or small, this section is mighty in its impact.
An acknowledgement page is (usually) a one to two page section in the front matter of a book (though sometimes it’s located in the back of the book), and its focus is thanking and bringing attention to instrumental persons who helped the book become realized, written, and published. This page is different than the dedication; the acknowledgements page is broader and includes more people. The dedication is normally to one person, or two at most, and is more of a memorialization than a thank you.
The front matter also includes the contents page, the dedication, the foreword, the epigraph, the preface, and the prologue. The contents of the front matter fall outside the realm of the story, yet are staples in any book. The acknowledgement page is no different.
How to Write an Acknowledgement Page
You’ll need to first decide who is deserving of thanks and credit. Should you use their full name or just first? Do you have their permission to include them in the book? These are all things you need to consider.
Once you’ve chosen who to include, you’ll need to decide on the details. Don’t simply say, “And thank you to my friend Brian.” Tell your readers why Brian deserves your thanks – did he stay up all night reading draft after draft of the book? Did he edit the first manuscript? Or did he simply encourage you along the way? These are things your reader will want to know.
The tone of the acknowledgement page is the next decision. Writing this page will be interesting for fiction or poetry writers, because it will written be their voice – not a character’s voice or in a lofty, dramatic and poetic way. Acknowledgements are usually pretty straightforward and often sound like the writer’s speaking voice: conversational, succinct, and precise.
Acknowledgement Page Examples
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (Fiction):
Green opens his acknowledgements with, “I’d first like to thank Sarah Ulrist Green, who read many, many versions of this story with immense thoughtfulness and generosity.” This exemplifies specificity in acknowledgements.
Salt by Liz Tilton (Poetry Collection):
Tilton opens her poetry collection by thanking her closest family members and, “those who offered encouraging words in hallways, in emails, and in margins of poems and who may be surprised to find themselves listed here.” She then goes on to list integral people to her poetry.
We are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby (Nonfiction, Memoir)
In the acknowledgements of her hilarious book of essays, Irby thanks her family and friends, her doctors, podcast hosts, and her agent. This section has a similar voice and tone to the rest of the collection. It’s funny, conversational, and quirky.
It’s always a good idea to thank those who have been fundamental in your life. Your book is no different. Though self-publishing puts the author in control, there are still supporting roles to be played. The acknowledgement page is a great way to commemorate and memorialize the effort put into your book
Do Self-Publishers need an Acknowledgement Page?
Though the name “self-publishing” seems to imply that all the work is on the author/publisher, it’s actually not! Writers will find themselves dependent upon others throughout their self-publishing journey; whether this is in the form of friends and family who read drafts, colleagues or fellow writers who edit chapters, freelancers who design and help market the book, or companies that print the book, self-publishers will soon find they acquire quite the team!
In self-publishing, you’re never truly going it alone. It’s true that all of the major decisions are yours and yours alone (and this includes writing an acknowledgement page!), but there will be others along the way to help you out in any way you may need. Should you decide, that no matter how big or small a contribution someone made they deserved to be thanked, then you’ll need to write acknowledgements.