Thursday, March 10, 2011


Do you read the acknowledgements in the front or back of books? The ones where the author thanks a list of people for their help in the writing of the book?

Before I embarked on this journey and before I had met anyone who had actually published a real live book I never read them. I mean, what was the point? It was just a list of people who meant nothing to me in the grander scheme of things.

But then someone I know actually got a real live book published *waves at Julie Cohen* and suddenly that acknowledgement page became meaningful. It became meaningful because my name was on it. Me. In a book. Being thanked for doing something I loved for someone I loved. I don’t think I could have been more chuffed than if it was my story between those covers.

And it didn’t stop there; to date at least four authors have thanked me in different books (and bless you Julie for thanking me in every one). It has meant that I know take the time to read those acknowledgements in books. Each one of those names listed now is a person to me. Were they at the end of the phone for a late night plotting session? There with a bottle of wine when their characters were misbehaving? Or the imparter of obscure knowledge?

It got me thinking… even if I never get my own stories printed I have been a part of other peoples. Maybe some academic in the future will wonder who is this person who is being thanked and write an obscure and little read dissertation on it. That is all right with me, because everyone likes to be acknowledged.


  1. Oh yeah! I always read the acknowledgements, but I read them AFTER I've read the book. It's my way of staying with the story a bit and getting to know more about the author.

  2. I was the same, Biddy, and hardly ever read the Acknowledgements until I was mentioned by a friend - now I always read them as well! Hadn't thought about the fact that someone might wonder one day who we are - great!

    I have to say that they are very difficult to write though. You don't want to do a Gwyneth Paltrow Oscars type thing, but the thought of maybe forgetting to thank someone vital is quite frankly terrifying! Also, will the people you thank be offended if you put someone else's name before theirs and so on? The worries are endless! Oh dear, more paranoia ... :)

  3. Lovely post - got me thinking!

    I think I've always read the acknowledgements - it's a way to try and get a little insight into the world of the writer. And since I think I was always curious about writers, I always wanted to feel closer to them, to have a bit of an 'in'.

    But there's nothing so good as getting your own name acknowledged. :-)

  4. Since starting my own journey into publishing I've found acknowledgements interesting to read. Like Anna said, it's a way to get some insight into the author's world, their writing process and the people who support it. In particular I find it interesting to see who mentions their agents/editors and who doesn't, and what that implies about their relationship with those people.

  5. I love reading the acknowledgements! It's like a little window into the author's private life.

  6. Brigid, being acknowledged in those sections of books is as close as I've come to being published too. My favorites are in Diana Gabaldon's A Breath of Snow and Ashes, and Karen Ball's Kaleidoscope Eyes. Those made me jump around with glee.

    If the book is good, and I don't want it to end, I'll read the acknowledgments and the copyright page and any other scrap of text to be found between the covers.

  7. I'm with Suz. I always read them after I've read the book, to stay with it for a little while longer. I've spoken with some people who hate acknowledgements, but I love them!

    And Biddy...? Thank you. :-)

  8. I always read the acknowledgments too. It's all a part of getting a glimpse into the author's life. And I'm looking forward to writing one when I finally get published.