What the Acknowledgment Page Reminds Me

I’ve taken to reading the Acknowledgments page in every book I read.

Before I became a writer, I would get to the end of the book and flip the cover closed – leaving behind the part where the author thanked this person and that person for helping to craft the novel. Reading the book made me feel a bit closer to the author, but the other people she named seemed like strangers, insignificant to my story experience.

Now I understand that page is golden.

And it reminds me of something I’ve learned about writing: You don’t write well by yourself. Sorry, but it’s the rare individual who can crank out something beautiful and professional and worthwhile without assistance. The vast majority of successful writers have had beta readers, critiquers, editors, consultants, cheerleaders, accountability partners, and family and friends drawing out the best within them and helping them reach their goals. Reading the Acknowledgments page, I see who influenced and inspired the author.

Acknowledgements Page
Page from THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater

Being a writer isn’t a solo performance. As much as it may look that way based on your name on the cover, your best writing comes together when you enlist the help and encouragement of others.

Which is why I love writing communities like A Round of Words in 80 Days, WANA International, and RWA.

Among them are those beta readers, critiquers, editors, consultants, cheerleaders, accountability partners, and family and friends who help you whip yourself and your story into shape. You might be able to write a novel on your own, but it’s going to be much better with people on your side, evoking your best and keeping your focus where it should be.

Surround yourself with good people, the kind of people you wish you could acknowledge in every book – if only your Acknowledgments could be ten pages long – and then get to writing. You’ll learn what every successful writer, and the Beatles, already knows: Creativity flows best with a little help from your friends.

ROW80 Round 2

Speaking of community, it’s time for me to declare my goals for this round of A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80), the writing challenge that knows you have a life.

1. Read 12 books. Even though I completed 15 books last go-round, this number seems like a good goal point. Both nonfiction and fiction count.

2. Finish editing SHARING HUNTER, a young adult contemporary novel. I’ve been working on this novel for what seems like forever, but I believe in the story and the characters and I’m eager to finally get it all put together.

3. Edit one short story to publication quality. I have four short stories in drafts which all need to be edited and polished. I want to get through one of those four stories this round.

4. Publish and promote two short stories. I have two other short stories pretty much ready to go. I plan to self-publish both of these young adult paranormal tales during this round. Look for a demon story and a vampire story from yours truly in the near future.

5. Stay on top of ROW80 sponsor duties. Once again, I volunteered to be a sponsor for this fabulous writing challenge. I enjoy seeing the various updates and look forward to lots of progress from fellow writers. Indeed, I’ve already submitted my article for the ROW80 blog.

That’s it!

Do you read the acknowledgment page of a book? If so, what do you gain from doing so? Are you involved in a writing challenge? And how was your week?

21 thoughts on “What the Acknowledgment Page Reminds Me

    1. Thanks, Kathy! And I’m working on the blog look bit by bit, so it’s likely to keep changing here and there, now and then, until I get it where I want it. Thanks!

  1. I sometimes read the acknowledgement page. It depends on how it’s written. Some write it like an “insiders” message and others are more inclined to share with the public and provide us a true window into exactly why certain people were so important to the process. The later are the ones I read. My challenge right now is keeping up with everything I have going on: work (probably) starts on my website’s design this week, I’m maintaining my blog and online story, I’m completing work on my poetry collection (to be published), trying to work on the novel, will join the local RWA chapter (just joined RWA), and reading. That’s just this week. 🙂

    1. That’s a great distinction. There are indeed some acknowledgments pages that are too vague — as you say, like an “‘insiders’ message.”

      Hope you enjoy RWA! I dragged my feet on joining for a while, but I’m so glad now that I did. Have a fabulous week!

  2. I agree with you about the acknowledgment/dedication pages–I love reading those. If I don’t see one, it makes my wonder why the author didn’t put one in. Doesn’t he or she have anyone who helped?
    Ah–my week–it’s been long and it’s been very tough. My dad passed away last Sunday at the age of 94. The funeral was Wednesday. He and my mom have been in quite a few of my acknowledgment pages. We miss him!

    1. Good question: Why would an author skip thanking others who helped?

      I’m so sorry about your loss. No matter what age, it’s still tough to deal with the finality of a loved one’s passing. My sympathy to you and your family.

      1. Thanks so much, Julie. It’s tough sometimes–I keep thinking I’ll see him when I visit my mom, or that he’ll walk through my door.
        I also love the changes you made to your blog–nice picture, too.

  3. I’ve always read the acknowledgement and dedication pages. It feels like a glimpse into that author’s world.

    I’m sitting Round 2 out but I’m cheering you on!

  4. Julie, I love the new banner! Gorgeous!

    I do read the acknowledgement pages in books. It’s fun to see how other writers thank the people who have helped them.

    ROW80 is a fabulous thing. I haven’t participated in a long while, but I think about jumping back in at some point. I’m doing the April A to Z Blogging Challenge and made it through the first week. *wipes brow* Good luck with your goals! Your progress is inspiring.

    1. Thanks. I’m fiddling with the blog here and there, so there will probably be more tweaks. 🙂

      Wow on the A to Z Blogging Challenge! I always see that and think, “Yikes!” But I’m impressed with the posts that bloggers get from it. Lots of great stuff!

  5. I didn’t always read the acknowledgement page either, but I sure do now. I love reading who helped who along their journey. I like the really personal ones too. It’s its own glimpse into the writer’s life not everyone would bother with, but I love.

  6. I was always the nerdy kid who read the acknowledgement page. When I was young I thought of being named on the page as the best thing that could ever happen–well, short of being named as the author!

    Wonderful goals for this Round, Julie–and I love the new look of the site. Although I didn’t make it one of my goals, I want to revamp my blog too. All the best!

    1. Wow, I’m in awe of you people who knew as KIDS that they wanted to be authors. I loved books but didn’t make the connection back then that I could WRITE one!

      Thanks, Elizabeth! And best wishes with your blog revamp.

  7. I like the banner as well because it introduces both you and your writing focus so clearly. I’m still using blogger/blogspot but think about switching to WordPress now and again. And, yes, ROW80 is an amazing support system (even if I’m not sponsoring this round). May Round 2 go well for you!

  8. I love paranormal YA! I’ll be looking for those stories, Julie! Am curious: what made you decide to self-publish those two stories individually? Why not submit to lit mags or wait to publish a collection? (You have me thinking now about my own decision to go a different route. Why did I decide to do that rather than self-publish them individually?)

    1. Great question, Sione! Happy to share my thinking process. My goals are (1) to publish for wide readership — which I believe is more likely through online bookstores than a lit mag; (2) to test the waters of self-publishing; (3) to get my name “out there”; (4) to have the experience of working with short stories.

      I would happily submit shorts to an anthology I believed in (as I did with ORANGE KAREN), but I started writing YA paranormals and was having so much fun, I just kept going.

      Now I have six stories in various stages (first draft to publication-ready). I plan to release one each month and then compile them as a box set at the end. That gives readers more options to simply try a single story or purchase the whole set. Which makes particular sense to me because they aren’t all in the same paranormal set — one’s a vampire, another has ghosts, another a shape shifter, etc.; some teens only want to read vampires or ghosts, while others might be interested in all YA paranormal.

      We’ll see how it goes, though! I’m just having fun with the stories right now. The first one, EXORCISING MY SISTER, should come out in late April/early May.

Comments are closed.