Thursday, March 25, 2010

It's Your Fault: Writing the Book’s Dedication

From the dedication in a recently published non-fiction book: “A lot of authors say that they could not have written books were it not for the help of this person or that person. I’d like to say that this was the case with my book, but nothing could be further from the truth. I got no help from anyone.”
Ok, so this might be a bit…pointed…for a dedication, but it serves to underscore the intent behind a book dedication. Most books require a tremendous amount of work, and much of that work is done in solitude. For first- time authors, all that solitary work is also usually being done without any kind of guarantee that the work will ever see the light of day. And so, for those who are helpful to the author along the way, even if it’s just in the form of encouragement, the gratitude is often deeply felt. And the desire to express that on the part of the author is strong.
Truth is, for as solitary an act as writing a book can be, the path from idea to book shelf is never a solitary one. Many people are involved in successfully bringing a book to market.
But of course, not all dedications are made to those who played a direct role in getting the work finished. Many authors, when writing the book’s dedication, are more inclined to think about the spouses who went without them to dinner and parties, or who suffered through months or years of angst or writers block. They think about their children, their parents, friends and teachers.
Writing the dedication, then, just becomes an act of ensuring that the contribution made by all those people is acknowledged within the book itself. Or, in the case of the author mentioned above, not.
Who will you dedicate your book to?

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