I’m a new girl at this publishing lark. And a not very cool one at that. I get quite giddy and gushy and over excited at all manner of things. Understanding this about myself, I observe what the great and the good say and do in order to inform my own behaviour – I don’t want to look like a twit,do I?
Yet there is one place where I’ve come a bit unstuck. It is the matter of Acknowledgements.
There is a school of thought, from some people I very much like and respect, that a long list of acknowledgements is a little showy. That it implies your great Work of Art is so extraordinary it required a raft of people to beat it into existence. This really bothered me and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it. No-one wants to be the Oscar winner that won’t shut up, do they?
And I haven’t even won anything! Although it sometimes feels like I have.
Maybe it’s because Academic Acknowledgements show the depth of research and wealth of fellow brains involved in a thesis? So when novelists write long lists of acknowledgements, they are ‘bigging up’ their work? Maybe I’ve completely missed the point of what ‘Acknowledgements’ are all about?
I don’t want to be the new kid everyone is laughing at for being such a thicky pants she gets everything wrong…
So I asked my editor for guidance, how many words I could have for my acknowledgements?
Uh oh. Mine is a shade under 400 and that’s having cut and cut and cut.
I made a list:
Reasons to keep it brief:
- Acknowledgements aren’t ‘thank you’s’ in the sense that normal people know them, they are something more academic that you don’t understand and you will, therefore, look like a twit and more experienced writers may scoff at you.
Reasons to follow your heart:
- You enjoy reading other people’s acknowledgements
- You may not get another chance to thank, in print, people who’ve helped you along the way.
- They may not be thank yous in the normal sense of the word but maybe they should/could be?
- People who don’t like them don’t have to read them.
- You don’t actually care that much if you look like a twit if you feel you’re doing the right thing
- This arrived and made your day:
Because of this:
Thank you so much Inbali, a reminder of a lovely day, of being a tiny part in your new project and a book I know I’m going to love. You helped me make up my mind. The email to my editor has been sent (begging forgiveness and a few extra words).
Also, I haven’t called them ‘acknowledgements’, I’ve called them ‘Thank Yous’, because that is what they are.
I am not an academic, try as I might, I know no better. A lot of people did help me on my publication journey and I do think my book is better for it. I’m not saying it’s the Best Book Ever. But it is the Best Book it Can Be because of the help I got along the way. A lot of it.
Mind you, the fear of looking like a twit had some effect. It’s half the length it could have been. Maybe I’ll only look like half a twit.