Friday, September 10, 2010

DREADED AUTHOR QUESTION: Will You Put Me in Your Acknowledgements/ Dedication?

By Isabo Kelly

This is a tricky question on many levels, thus the reason it's dreaded. Who goes into the acknowledgements of a book and who a book is dedicated to are very personal things to an author. This is where she gets to thank the people who supported and helped her in the shaping of this particular novel.

And let's be honest, there's only so much room for these thank yous. You can’t thank everyone you’ve known since grade school. At least not all in one book. With luck, you’ll publish many many books and have time to thank everyone. But with each novel, there are certain people who contribute significantly. Those are the ones you want acknowledged.

Over the course of a writer's apprenticeship, while they're learning the craft and making their novel come to life, there are an awful lot of people who can claim to have contributed in one way or another. Aunt Betty for giving you your first romance novel; Tom the waiter who lent you a pen so you could jot down that idea you didn't want to loose; your family who managed to patiently not nag you while you were writing—or at least forgave you for shouting "Leave me alone, I'm writing!" at them more often than you want to remember.

Big and small, a lot of people contribute to a writer's development. But does that mean you have to put them in your acknowledgements?

No. In fact, you should only ever put in people you want to include. There will always be a select group that you feel really made the formation of any given book possible. And those people should be thanked. The people you thank can change from book to book, too. It's entirely up to you. Just don't let anyone bully you into including their names because they gave you a stick of gum once when you were thinking through a plot hole. Now if they bought you a coffee...

Just kidding. You should always thank those you feel need thanking. Everyone else will just have to accept your in-person gratitude.

So how do you answer this incredibly awkward question then? If it's someone you truly intend to include, let them know. They'll be thrilled. Actually, they probably won't be the ones asking. Make sure they see the acknowledgements anyway. They're the people in our writing life who really deserve the public gratitude. If the questioner is someone you've no intention of putting in your book, just grin and laugh it off. They probably won't even notice if they're not acknowledged. And if they do....

I say blame your publisher. They can take it. ♥

Isabo Kelly (aka Katrina Tipton) is the author of multiple science fiction, fantasy and paranormal romances. Her Prism Award Winning novel, SIREN SINGING, has just been released in paperback from Ellora’s Cave ( For more on Isabo’s books, visit her at

In this monthly series, Isabo talks about the often uncomfortable questions every author gets asked, and how to handle those dreaded inquiries. If you have gotten any of these “dreaded” questions, please share them with us here. If you have an answer, all the better.


  1. It is amazing what some will ask an author. That said, having once been on the receiving end and seeing my name in print on an author friend's acknowledgement, I have to say it was totally unexpected, and incredibly heartwarming.

  2. See that's because you're one of those who didn't ask, Anne :)