Creating a dedication or acknowledgment page for your novel

In a past post, I wrote about front matter – all the stuff that goes before your story begins. With the passing of my mother recently, my mind has been on dedications.

Dedications

After the grueling process of writing and publishing a book, there may be someone special you want to thank. Now, nothing says you need to say thank you to anyone. In fact, I’ve only done two dedications out of five books.

Your dedication can be to a spouse (as was my first one), parent, sibling, another family member, friend, supervisor, colleague, or even your pet. This is a personal choice and you know what, there is no wrong answer.

Dedications should be short and to the point.

My dedication from my first book Summoned:

To my husband,

Without you, this book would not exist.

A couple simple dedications:

For my wife and children – Janie and Johnny

For Marla who made me include her cat.

I dedicate this book to my parents who raised me to love reading.

You can start it with “I dedicate this book…”, “This book is dedicated to…”, “To….”, “For…” or simply write a few lines without a formal address. Another type of dedication is the “In memory of…”

My dedication from my book The Heir to Alexandria:

In Memory of my friend Trish,

Wife, mother and friend

You are missed beyond words

If you have a lot of people to thank or acknowledge that would be for the acknowledgement section.

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgments are to thank all the people who have helped in the creation of your novel – the police officer you interviewed, your editor, your spouse for their support and so on. It is your way to show them your appreciation in a public (and permanent) form.

You can thank family members, friends, agents, editors, publisher, co-workers, contributors, advisors, teachers, and mentors. This section is all about them – not you.

To write your acknowledgements, first write down all the people you need to acknowledge. You can group them by category to ensure you don’t forget anyone. And make your thanks specifc.

Sample acknowledgement:

Thank you to Officer Frank D. Smith of the Littleton Police Department for answering my endless list of questions on how a small town police office runs. A big thank you to doctors Marshall Smith and Mindy Waters for pointing me the right way in my research and also answering all my questions.

I also want to thank my agent Scott Henderson and my editor Claudia Miller for keeping me on task and helping me hone this work. And last to my husband Jerry and my children, little Martha and Johnny, for your endless encouragement and support. I couldn’t have done this without you.

Another example:

Thanks to everyone on the publishing team who helped me so much. Special thanks to Mary, my ever patient editor and Randy, the greatest cover designer I could ever imagine.

And a very special thank you to Mrs. Smith, my fourth grade teacher, for encouraging me to write and for always believing in me. Finally, to all my friends and family who supported me along this journey: my mother Mary, my sister Sarah, my Uncle Bill, my best friends Kathryn and Joanne, thank you. I could never have done this without you.

Don’t worry about length. This is your time to thank everyone. Use as much space as you want but if you have a very long acknowledgement, you may want to include it in the back matter rather than the front matter. But a word of warning, if you go on and on, you risk watering down the gratitude. If you make your acknowledgment short, you risk leaving someone important out.

In the end, many readers will not care about the book dedication or acknowledgment. Many won’t read them or even later remember what was said. But to those that are mentioned, this is a great way to show that you appreciate their support and help.

Today’s Featured Author – Tonya Barbee

Please welcome author Tonya Barbee to my blog. Her book, The Little Girl Inside: Owning My Role in My Own Pain, was released earlier this year.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m an Army brat from NC. My dad was an Army Officer and my mom a college administrator for bursars and presidents.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

Encouragement from friends resulting from telling them my stories of life events.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

Most of who I am are written in my books. I love sharing when I know that what I write about is helping others.

Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write? 

I aspire to some day write full time. I work 9-hour days during the week, while raising a 12-year old busy son as a single parent. I find time to write during evenings and weekends after football and basketball games that my son is involved in.

Have you started your next project?

I’m always working on something. As concepts come into my head, I start writing about them. I have several in the fire now. If so, can you share a little bit about your next book? J just completed a collaboration project with ten other authors called, Sharing Our Prayers. It’s available on my website. And I’m finalizing the next project titled I am Still a Rose. To the sequel to the Little Girl Inside in which I fully describe what it was like to be married to a sociopath and bigamist. In I am Still a Rose, I wrote about how it all started. What happens to kids that don’t get therapy after witnessing traumatic events i their lives. I share my life with hopes of helping other women work through their issues, get through their issues so that they can move beyond their pain to become and attract better people in their lives. Broken people attract broken people.

What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?

The best thing is that you get to put your thoughts on paper and then publish for the world to read. That takes nerve! And the worse is I am still working through the ins and outs of getting it out to those that I feel the books and stories will inspire.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

It can take me three months to two years depending on what I allow to get in the way.

Who are some authors that inspire you?

I love James Paterson, Terry McMillan, Dean Koonz and a host of others. I just love to read books that won’t allow me to put them down.

Please tell us about your current release.

The Little Girl Inside Owning My Role in My Own Pain is about getting through the hardship of a bigamist marriage and accepting that I played a role in that hardship and needed to understand my role so that I would not repeat in future relationships.

If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?

Yes, I am Still a Rose is the sequence. It’s about the whole story. The original book only talked about the last husband and a few of the inequities of our marriage.

Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

Yes in my gray comfy chair with ottoman in my bedroom and occasionally at my desk in my bedroom.

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

Yes, grapes, pepper jack cheese and wheat crackers and occasionally a glass of wine.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

A Dollar Late a Dollar Short by Terry McMillan.

Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I love to dance and sing when I can but I can never remember the lyrics when I sing.

Book Blurb

Drug addict, cheater, emotionally unavailable, and bigamist. What’s the common denominator. It is “I.” “The Little Girl Inside” who is unable to distinguish between love, the need to be loved and to understand her role in her pain.

This book takes the reader through the many experiences of the author to include four marriages, and subsequently four divorces. More importantly, it takes the reader through the author’s decision to move beyond her own poor choices and to accept accountability for her failed relationships. This book details the author’s journey from a vicious cycle, consequently, realizing that she indeed had a role in her own pain. Can she own her role? Will she own her role? Turn the pages to unveil Tonya Barbee’s journey.

About the Author

Tonya Barbee, Founder of I am Still a Rose, LLC (IASAR), has a passion to help those who want to be helped. It took her awhile to realize that she had to make a change in her life in order to get the change she was looking for. After betrayal, emotional abuse, and other turmoil, she had to self-reflect, learn to forgive, and move beyond her pain. Her commitment is to help inspire and empower those that are ready to start a new chapter and to stop those vicious cycles.

IASAR will offer events, conferences, plays, and inspirational products that empower women to get past their circumstances to get to their triumphs. Tonya is an inspirational speaker who uses her experiences to uplift women who have had similar circumstances and are ready for resolution.  She’s spiritual, energized, funny, and eager to help encourage others to never, ever give up.

Tonya never dreamed of writing books but she’s always enjoyed telling stories and sharing profound testimonies. Her listeners inspired her to write and the rest is history. The Little Girl Inside is her first project, followed by a short story, a collaborative project with ten amazing authors who bared their souls through heart wrenching testimonies. Tonya’s short story is titled, Prayer Works, in Sharing Our Prayers which is followed by her latest (soon to be released), I Am Still A Rose, a sequel to The Little Girl Inside. She’s working on several other exciting projects so stay tuned.

Tonya resides in Maryland and enjoys spending time with her incredible four children and seven grandchildren that have stolen her heart.

You can purchase The Little Girl Inside on Amazon.

Today’s Featured Author – Paulette Harper

Today I welcome author Paulette Harper to my blog. Her book, That was Then, This is NOW, was released in August. 

Excerpt: Walking in Purpose

How can I live in my purpose? While it is important to define what purpose is, I believe purpose must start with God. When I began to recognize my purpose for living, I realized it was about producing a life that was fulfilling, complete, and satisfying. As a believer in Christ, I believe that I am in a place where I am fulfilling the purpose for which I was created.

What I find most rewarding is making sure I’m doing what I believe the Lord will have me to do. I’m a strong believer in the fact that if God wanted me to do something else, I would be and if He wanted me to be somewhere else, I would.  True happiness comes when a person identifies his purpose and lives his dreams with God in the center of everything he or she does.

Inside each of us is a yearning to know why we are created and for what reasons we exist. I don’t believe we will be satisfied in life or even enjoy the life we have been given apart from walking in our divine purpose.  Finding your purpose in life should be one of your greatest goals. For one to fulfill his role and assignment here on earth, one must be aware of his own skills, talents, passions and abilities. Once those qualities are identified it makes doing what we love easy.

Some of my life’s challenges and struggles lead me to God’s divine purpose and plan for my life.  I found that in my own personal struggles there were ideal and dreams that God had birth inside me that where pulled out when I went through the most challenging times in life.  I learned that God’s purpose and will in my troubles were being fulfilled through my life’s experiences.

I live by my own motto…”Intentionally Living Life on Purpose.”

Book Blurb

HOW COULD GOD HAVE A PURPOSE FOR ME AMIDST THIS MESS?

WHY DO SUCH BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?

If you’ve recently asked yourself these questions, Paulette Harper’s That Was Then, This is Now has the answers. Struggling to recover from a broken marriage and disappointed dreams, Paulette Harper gropes for meaning and understanding. And through her searching, God reveals Himself to her in ways she never before imagined possible. By sharing her struggles with transparency, she illustrates how a heart attitude of surrender allows God to use a broken vessel for His ultimate plans of glory.

That Was Then, This is Now, minsters to hurting hearts in every season in life, reminding them that God restores shattered lives, intent on using them for His sovereign purposes.

About the Author

In addition to being an award winning author of Completely Whole and Secret Places Revealed, Paulette is an inspirational speaker, as well as a writing workshop instructor. Her literary works have been spotlighted in a growing number of publications, including CBN, Real Life Real Faith Magazine, The Sacramento Observer and Black Pearls Magazine. She has also appeared on numerous local and online radio shows.

Paulette resides in Northern California.

You can find out more about Paulette on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase That Was Then, This is NOW on Amazon.

Publishing a book: Part 1 – traditional publishing house

Last week, I wrote the steps for writing a novel. This week I wanted to address what to do with that completed novel.

So you have completed your novel and are ready to publish it. What do you need to do now?

Alternatively, if you are planning to write a non-fiction book, you may want to look for a publisher ahead of time. Why spend the time writing the book if no one wants yet another book on pregnancy, exercise or whatever topic you pick? But if you have a non-fiction book with a fresh angle, you may find a publisher who encourages you to write.

When looking into publishing you have two options – go the traditional route of finding a publishing house (or an agent and then a publishing house) or the decision to self-publish.

Because these are two totally different routes, I will address them separately. First let’s look at traditional publishing.

Traditional publishing is where a company buys the rights to an author’s manuscript. Usually, an agent representing the author, negotiates a deal with the book publisher for the publisher to print and distribute the book.

The first step would be to research the publishing company or agent to make sure they publish the type of book that you are writing. You can also find out the guidelines to contacting them on their website.

If you hire an agent, they will use their contacts and knowledge of the publishing world to match your writing with a publishing house. Or you can contact the publishing house directly though you will probably have a better success if you have an agent.

Fiction Books

Once your book is complete, you will send a query letter, a sample of your writing and a synopsis to the publisher per their requirements. It doesn’t help your case to send more than what is required.

Non-Fiction Books  

You need to submit a book proposal that includes the proposed chapters and a sample of your writing. You would need to explain your expertise in the area.

Remember that both agents and publishing houses receive thousands of query letters and manuscripts each year. Some may send back a stock rejection letter but there are quite a few that won’t respond at all.

If you are lucky enough to get a contract from a publisher, they will then have their in-house editors work with you to refine your writing. They will be in charge of the marketing, distribution and warehousing of your book.

The benefit of traditional publishing is no out-of-pocket expense to the author. The publisher will make their money from the sale of the book. But the chance of getting published traditionally is hard and time consuming. You can send out many query letters, and months or years later you can be no closer to getting published. Many famous authors were rejected many times before finally became published.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to go the traditional road and be published by a major publishing house. But that is a hard road so many authors choose to self-publish their own work. I will address the steps of self-publishing next week.

Today’s Featured Author – Kevin A. Hall

Today I welcome author Kevin A. Hall to my blog. Kevin released his first book, Black Sails White Rabbits, in December 2015.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.  

I tend to be an all-or-nothing guy, which seems to carry into my moods sometimes too. It’s a double edged sword, like so many things. It can be fantastic to be immersed and effective, and it can be crippling to feel like I’m half-assing something and would be better off never having started it. I’m trying to learn to be able to be 100% comfortable with doing some things only part way!

What or who inspired you to start writing? 

My very first class in college (8 am Monday morning – OUCH!) was a creative writing class. I’ve always loved writing, but when I started living with manic episodes and depressions, it became part of my literal survival to write open, honest letters to friends, and to journal extensively. I taught myself to be honest during my early twenties, at least on paper. So maybe the answer is “I did.”

What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?

The best thing about being a writer is the click, the engagement of whole self and the completely disorienting evaporation of time. I have looked up from a writing session and realized it was five hours later. In no other activity does that happen to me. A few other things make time stop, but they don’t last for five hours! The worst thing about being a writer is that it is lonely. No water cooler jokes, nobody to give you a funny look when you arrive to work late the second day in a row, nobody dragging you out of the office on Friday afternoon for a few beers. Just you, the page, and your hopes and fears.

How did you come up with the title? 

It started as “Words, Words, Words; Accept My Life” which is a way-too-cute nod to my worship of Hamlet. I had written in the memoir about once quipping that I wanted to some day write a book called “Cancer Was the Easy Part”. That became the subtitle. The main title spent quite a bit of time as White Jackets, White Rabbits; (I’m a Herman Melville fan and White Jacket; or, The World in a Man of War is one of his other novels. Plus, there’s the double entendre with doctors in white coats. The Melville book is also how I legitimize the semicolon in my title. It’s a nod to both Melville and to Project Semicolon, a very beautiful mental health awareness initiative.) Finally I realized it really needs the “Black” to go with “White Rabbits”, and between carbon fiber sails and Tristan and Isolde, I had my title.

What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?

The last chapter was incredibly difficult. I had quite a few threads open, and I desperately wanted them to come back together in a positive, but not forced way. I have four outtake final chapters, which led me to realize I couldn’t do it all in one chapter. I closed a few threads before the final chapter. Eventually, I got really lucky one morning while reading, and had some specific words from David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King remind me of a Tom Waits song which has the exact same five words: “East of East Saint Louis”. That spark gave me what I needed to illustrate the delicate nature of maintaining a difference between “inside” and “outside” thoughts. I love that I hear voices, and writing the last chapter finally allowed me to express how it works a little bit, and to make peace with the challenges and blessings that my mind brings me.

What inspired you to write this book?

After toiling for a year and a half on a novel that just doesn’t work yet, my writing coach Stephanie Gisondi-Little suggested I try my hand at telling my story. I started by going back to my old journals and love letters (the love of my life at the time saved them, and we share a garage among other things now). Transcribing the journals and letters was so much more powerful than just re-reading them. The thoughts had to pass back through me and out my typing fingers, which helped me create the world in which Black Sails White Rabbits; takes place. From there I was off.

Excerpt

There are two ways to look at what happened to me in the fall of 1989. The safe, sanctioned explanation is to simply say my body attacked my brain, like this:

I got a fever of 104° F. My skin erupted in a violent rash all over my back, legs, and face. My brain swelled and pressed against the inside of my skull. My neurons short circuited. My brain caught fire. I went mad. It wasn’t MY fault, it was my body’s.

The damage done by those tempestuous weeks of fever and rash left my brain vulnerable. My previously dormant biological psychiatric illness never slept again. I was born manicdepressive. It was only a matter of time. My fate was always to make a scene. The diagnosis was simply the last one on stage.

It’s a forgiving perspective, which explains everything. This is helpful.

How I am is not me. It’s my Illness. It has a name, symptoms, and cure.

The other way to look at my challenges used to be unthinkable to me. Now, I see it as part of a wider perspective on a very complicated picture.

I had two academic passions. Mathematics, and French literature. I know, a bit schizo right? Backing up, I had only applied to two colleges. Brown University, and the United States Naval Academy. Not exactly sister schools. I was accepted for admission by both. Navy was an efficient path to having the Government pay for my fuel to fly jets. The easiest way to boil down the decision is to say that I didn’t want to be told when to brush my teeth or cut my hair.

I really liked math. But I was used to being the best thinker in math class. Not anymore. Not at Brown. As the leaves turned to reds and golds the fall semester of my junior year, I enrolled in two upper‑level math classes. Differential Geometry and Topology conspired to shunt me away from my handful of exceptionally bright classmates into the dunce’s corner of Euclid fans.

I adored French literature. When I opened a French book, I fell ass over teakettle into imaginary worlds two steps removed from waking, Anglophone life. Seventeenth century, nineteenth, twentieth…didn’t matter. A dreamer is freer in a second language. (Samuel Beckett, though Irish, wrote much of his best stuff in French.)

A description of my two majors as “bipolar” isn’t silly. Math: practical, precise, proven to be helpful in a world of men and money. French Lit: navel‑gazing, or escapist. Or else super‑serious Absurdism.

Not long before I was to graduate from Brown, I got ambushed picking up a girlfriend in New York City for one of our early dates. The whole clan was there in her parents’ Upper East‑Side apartment to size up the new tribeless boyfriend. Some had driven in from halfway out on Long Island. As I stepped through the front door, my date’s aunt fired point‑blank: “What are you gonna do with a degree in math and French literatchuh?”

So here’s the second, more complicated way to look at my meltdown: I was disintegrating, right down to my core. I wanted to continue to pursue math, I loved it. But it was becoming clear that I sucked. I also wanted to pursue French Lit, I loved it, but Aunt Mary‑Bette was right to ask. What, exactly, would I do with a degree in French literature?

I used to cling to the absolution that came with putting all my struggles down to bad luck, to a body playing mean tricks on me, and to a trendy diagnosis. However, I now believe that my mind—or perhaps my Soul—made sure I didn’t miss the invitation to see that I might be barking in the middle of a forest of hollow trees.

Joseph Campbell talks about the seat of the soul being that place where the outer world and one’s inner world meet. My outer and inner worlds were colliding head‑on when I dragged myself to the infirmary with a violent rash. I had midterms the following week, and I was going to fail.

Instead of stepping down, resting, and reflecting, I did the opposite. The second I got off the IV drip, I doubled down on the stress, tripled up on the caffeine, and went for broke on the determination. Then, I cracked.

Did my stress divert all remaining powers from my sanity force field?  Did madness pass into me from a fraternity party sneeze, or maybe the morning dew? Once inside my body, did the insurgents give me a fever, swell my brain, and cause me to lose track of what was real and what wasn’t? Maybe. That’s the chicken theory.

The egg theory is messy. It’s jagged. It has taken me twenty five years to swallow: the arrow points the other direction.

I was in trouble. I was smacked from peacock to feather‑duster when I realized that in the world of math I was barely a guppy in an ocean of white whales. There was no map for passing through magic French doors which led to a roof over my head and food on the table. At least, not a table set with the silver and privilege to which I had become accustomed.

In a world where “what do you do?” and “who are you?” seem to be interchangeable to potential future in‑laws, I couldn’t answer either question. I went insane fighting to keep the ideas of who I was and what I did separate. My mind was well on its way to splitting—which would have shown up soon enough—when my body flinched first with a fever and a rash. A few short weeks later, I played the madman and the fool, got arrested, then locked up to sit still and drool.

The Western, medical model had the cause outside the patient. So, give him pills, restore the neuro‑electrico‑biochemical balance, and get him back in the game. Job done. Case closed.

As soon as I stopped drooling, moved out of the locked ward, and caught my breath, I ran right back out on the field. Like nothing with spiritual or self‑identity implications had happened. I didn’t slow down. Not in class, not in training, not on the racecourse.

Well, my body tried its hand again at getting my Soul’s attention. This time, instead of crazy, it was cancer.

Book Blurb

Black Sails CoverYoung sailor and aspiring Olympic competitor Kevin A. Hall’s biggest dream was to raise a family. But within the space of three years, he was diagnosed with both testicular cancer and bipolar disorder, putting his family and Olympic dreams on hold. He soon found that surviving cancer was the easy part. Now a renowned Olympic and America’s Cup sailor with a wonderful wife and family, Hall shares a behind-the-scenes look at his struggles with mental illness in his riveting memoir.

About the Author 

AuthorKevinAHall_B&WKevin A.  Hall is an Ivy League graduate of Brown University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and French literature. Despite being diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1989, he went on to become a world-champion Olympic sailor, as well as racing navigator for Emirates Team New Zealand in the 2007 America’s Cup match. A two-time testicular cancer survivor, Hall has spent a successful 25 years as a racing navigator, speed testing manager, and sailing performance and racing instruments expert .A brief version of his story was featured in Joel and Ian Gold’s book Suspicious Minds: How Culture Shapes Madness, as the only non-anonymous case study of a patient with Truman Show delusion. Hall currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand with his wife and their three children.  Black Sails White Rabbits is his first book.

You can find out more about Kevin on his website or you can follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase Black Sails White Rabbits on Amazon.