July 13, 2015

Acknowledgment Pages: Yea or Nay?

In today's world, it seems like just about everything is widely debated — and there are fervent arguments made for every side. Acknowledgment pages are no exception.


A quite involved discussion happened in the comments section on this post by former agent Nathan Bransford. And even my tweet on the subject received a variety of answers.


Honestly, when it came to Mending Heartstrings, I didn't think much about my acknowledgments. They were quite succinct and fairly easy to write as well. I'm pretty sure the entire paragraph came to me one day in the shower. With Mortal Musings, for some reason I found myself struggling — and doing hours of research on opinions, conventions, and other authors' published acknowledgment pages. 

Some people help me with all of my books, which can make acknowledgments repetitive (assuming someone would read more than one such page). There are only so many ways to say thank you, after all. Of course, there are also some people I feel pressured to thank even though they did nothing helpful at all (but that was true the first time and politics are part of the game). 

Personally, I do appreciate the opportunity to thank the people who have been supportive of the process, like my beta readers or those who offer their opinions on the design for the cover, and more importantly, they seem to appreciate being thanked in such a way as well. However, they're a pain in the butt to write after the first one, and I almost never read acknowledgment pages myself, which I only realized as I started researching. Maybe I will now start. 


Overall, I've noticed opinions tend to fall into four categories: 
  1. I hate acknowledgment pages, and I think books should never have them because they're boring/narcissistic/name dropping/some other reason. 
  2. I really don't care, but having them in the book doesn't bother me. If you don't like them, just don't read them.
  3. I like acknowledgment pages, but too often they're a boring list of names, and they should have more personality.
  4. I love acknowledgment pages, because they show us more about the author and the author's support system, and they give credit where credit is due.

Where do you fall? What's your take on acknowledgment pages? I'd really love to know!


4 comments :

  1. I say yea. I read everything, cover to cover. I think I learn something about the author through little things like acknowledgments.

    sherry @ fundinmental

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    1. This is part of why acknowledgment pages are so difficult to write! I'm curious what people learned about me through the ones in Mending Heartstrings, and terrified of what they might learn through the ones in Mortal Musings ;-)

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  2. Interesting piece, Aria. I can't decide which of your categories I fall under. Certainly, NOT number 1. But I'm varying between 2,3 and 4, which are all not bad.
    Sometimes, I read the acknowledgement page (if it's only one page) and sometimes, I don't. Some books require research, so it would be interesting to know how the author compiled it (Not just using Wikipedia and the internet) but by interacting with actual people.

    Still, some people just list their entire family tree in the acknowledgements and that's a total bore.

    So it depends on what the author is putting in that acknowledgement page and how long is it. If it's one block paragraph, most readers will skip, but several bullet points, or a list for/from research, then I think it would be interesting.

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    1. Thank you for the thoughtful response, Nada!

      Listing your whole family is just disingenuous to me — did those people really *all* help you? So I thank "my family" in general, and the people who truly helped know I actually mean them. Anyway, it's a pretty interesting page / part of the process.

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