You’re an author who has taken great care in providing your readers with valuable content. You thoughtfully considered the delivery of your message and written a book that’s full of information and provides your unique expertise.
Writing a book can take time. It also takes research and assistance. There are people who supported and encouraged you during the process, and those who were your sources, who provided technical assistance or their knowledge of the subject matter, as well as testimonials or endorsements. Someone might have penned a foreword for your book, and then again, another person might have fed you with advice or their expertise in the publishing industry.
An Acknowledgement Page is the place where you have the opportunity to thank those people and give them credit for their contribution to your book. It’s a way to publicly display your appreciation for their assistance and support.
Where is an Acknowledgement Page placed in a Book?
Usually, an author’s acknowledgement page is included in the front of the book after the inside cover page and the copyright/information page (which includes the ISBN, copyright information, publishing information, and sometimes, a disclaimer). Some authors put the acknowledgement page before the Table of Contents, if your book has one, and others place it directly after the Table of Contents.
Who Should be Acknowledged?
There is no set policy regarding who to include in your acknowledgements. However, as a rule of thumb, most authors include:
1. Their family members. Their parents, spouse, children, or siblings who supported their efforts while writing the book.
2. Their sources. Considerate authors use this opportunity to thank those who did research or provided them with data, case studies, etc., for inclusion in the book. Is your book about forensic science? If you interviewed people in the field to gain clarity or insight, the acknowledgement page is a good place to thank them for their time and assistance.
3. Their editor. Many authors take a moment to publicly express their gratitude for their editor’s expertise and time in polishing their manuscript.
4. Their illustrator. If you used an illustrator, this is an excellent time to thank them for their skills and contribution to your book.
5. Their graphic designer or book cover designer. It’s common to give credit to the individual who designed your front and back cover design and copy.
6. Your mentor(s) or book coach. Thank the people who contributed to your success and who taught you the ropes. Their contribution to your success is noteworthy and, most likely, invaluable.
7. Your publisher. That’s a given.
There are a few standard guidelines you should follow when writing an acknowledgement:
1. An acknowledgement page should be one page in length. If yours goes over one page, revise or rewrite it so it can fit on one page. A two-page acknowledgement is too long and runs the risk of making your reader lose interest.
2. Before you get started, take a few minutes to review other acknowledgement pages. Pull a few books off your bookshelf or take a trip to your local bookstore and get a feel for the way they’re written and the content you’ll need to include.
3. A simple, “Thank you to my wife, children, publisher, and editor” is not sufficient. You should list the reasons why you are acknowledging the individuals. For example, “This book would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of my wife, Jane Doe.” Or, “Words cannot express my gratitude to Editor Smith for his/her professional advice and assistance in polishing this manuscript.”
4. Don’t get too wordy. People have a tendency to think that they have to be elaborate in their acknowledgements and appreciation for fear that they’ll leave something out. Short and sweet works well on the acknowledgement page.
5. Don’t thank every single person under the sun and list their contribution. If you have four children, group that acknowledgment together: “For understanding my long nights at the computer, I’d like to thank my children, Jane, John, Jack, and Joy.” Also, don’t over include too many people in your acknowledgements for fear that someone will be left out or offended. Include those closest to you and the project—the others will understand.
6. Have a third-party review your acknowledgements page before it is set in stone. Did you inadvertently leave an important person out? Is it written well? Could it be written better or condensed even further?
When you’re done, you’ll have a well-written acknowledgements page that gives credit where credit is most definitely due—to the people who helped you make your book possible.