I believe that the dedication of your book is not a trivial question. As an author, you can fall in love, thrill, make people laugh, or make all your readers fall asleep at your originality and creativity while promising many pages of enjoyment.
That said, we can come across funny, adventurous, sarcastic dedications, and there are even some in which we can see a bit of flirtation. Of course, there are also more formal greetings.
Writing your book’s dedication is an art in itself, and many of us like to open a book and run into all the emotions the author has exposed in a few lines.
How to Write a Book Dedication?
A common misconception that goes around writing a book dedication is that that is a sure-shot formula that turns a mediocre dedication into a good one. This cannot be farther from the truth. If you want to know how to write a book dedication, bear in mind that there is no particular way of doing it.
In other words, it is entirely your call how to dedicate a book. You can personalize your message for your loved ones or thank an acquaintance who helped you complete your book. The key is not to be professional yet personalizing your message in a way that the person you mention feels acknowledged and appreciated.
However, to understand how to write a dedication page in a book, you need to first understand exactly what a book dedication is. The following section will help you with that.
What is a Book Dedication?
Dedications are short texts that are written at the end or, where appropriate, at the beginning of a work that is generally written but can also be done orally, in dedications in audiovisual materials (films, documentaries, songs, etc.).
They are addressed to the person, people or institutions that in some way helped to bring a work to fruition, be it a book or any of the things mentioned above. Recognition is duly given to those who supported the author either financially, technically or emotional.
The dedications have been known since ancient times; we know of them, thanks to the existence of ancient texts, by authors such as Hemingway, King, etc., who expressed compliments to their patrons through dedications in their works.
This custom took root for centuries, being used as a means to please economically wealthy people, dedicating books, plays, and others to them to obtain their economic favor. This custom continued throughout the Middle Ages, and through the Renaissance to the present day, in broader cultural spheres than that of literature, dedicating sculptural and architectural works and paintings to economically wealthy characters or those who possessed some political influence.
However, the dedication nowadays no longer has that marked connotation, focusing more on thanking those who in some way cooperated or influenced the completion of a book or other work (such as movies or musical pieces).
The dedications are usually written briefly (although they can be extended). They are directed as a way of gratitude to those who help us in the culmination of work. Dedications are usually an emotional thanks to parents, friends, spouses, or institutions.
There are other types of dedications as well, such as humorous or focused in the way of reproach, to those who somehow discouraged or did not believe in the author, although it is noted that the most common are the dedications of thanks.
Usually, there is a particular section for the dedication. That is, there is usually a specially delimited area to carry out the dedication, either in a book, such as written or narrated dedications that are found at the beginning or end of a movie or documentary. A thesis, a book, a speech, even the booklet of an album are some of the places where dedications are inserted.
Steps To Write The Perfect Book Dedication
To begin with, we want you to know that there are as many ways to dedicate a book as there are ways to write them, and as a good author, you will also know that there is no single way to do either of the two.
Keep in mind that your book’s dedication should be rather short and direct to the point, unlike the acknowledgment section that is usually found at the end of the book. Whatever your intention and your recipient, consider the following aspects:
1. Choose who or what you want to dedicate it to
The common thing is that your book’s dedication is addressed to people, especially those who have helped you throughout the process, either with their emotional support or with their more technical support. You can start with your friends, family, or even your pet. If you want to get a little more emotional, you can also dedicate it to a famous person you admire and get inspiration from.
Now, as you will know, if you are an inveterate reader, your book’s dedication does not have to be addressed only to people. You can also address inanimate objects, something abstract, nothing, or nothing, both things to the time.
2. Choose the reason for the dedication
Once you’ve decided who or what the dedication will be for, it’s time to decide why. Why does that special person or thing deserve to be on one of the first pages of your book? Did it cheer you up on days when you just wanted to procrastinate? Maybe they brought you a coffee to your table when you needed it most? Did they loan you the money you didn’t have? Did they inspire you? Try to write down all these causes and choose the ones that inspire you the most. You can even tell a little story or anecdote. Get creative when it comes to expressing those feelings of appreciation!
3. Choose the format
When you have already decided for whom and why of your dedication, it is time for you to choose what shape you want to give it. This will depend mainly on your personality. If you are a funny person, you will most likely make a joke or be sarcastic in your dedication, while if you are more of an emotional person, a deep and heartfelt dedication will probably be the most coherent option.
Other aspects to consider
Although dedications can show appreciation for emotional or financial support, they can also make statements. For example, in Toni Morrison’s book “Beloved,” the dedication is addressed to “Sixty Million and more,” referring, of course, to the number of slaves who died as part of the slave trade.
Some authors use the dedication to show their point of view of society or to shock their readers with a quote that corresponds with the philosophy or point of view that the book tries to reflect. If you have a favorite quote or poem, you can also use it as a dedication.
When considering how you want your dedication to looking, you will need to consider your personality and what the book means to you. This final touch will represent who you are as an author and what you want the world (and your readers) to know about you before they start reading.
Sample Book Dedication
We have a book dedication example that can illustrate you:
“I dedicate this work to my daughter Erika who is the cause of my motivation in writing this book, to my wife Karen, who supported me at all times, to my parents who always supported me and who sacrificed to educate me, to my teachers, who insisted on getting their teachings into my head, to my friends, who always encouraged me to carry out this project, to those who helped me to get the materials and bibliographies, to the printers who provided me with their services, to my secretary Mary who endured hours and hours of dictations, and in general to all those who in some way helped me throughout these years, so that I could carry out this work, to those who provided me with what I needed to carry out the studies concerning this work that today concrete, I dedicate this book to all of them. I know that these words are not enough to express my gratitude, but I hope that my feelings of appreciation and affection will be understood.”
The following are some other book dedication samples.
“To Phyllis, who made me put the dragons in.”
We don’t know who Phyllis will be, but she certainly did a great job.
“To an old love who died without giving me time to ask for forgiveness.”
This dedication is full of feeling and might even make us cry.
EE Cummings had a collection of 70 poems that he self-published with the help of his mother under the name ‘No gracias’ after being rejected by various publishers. The dedication of his book is addressed to these 14 publishers, whose names for a funeral urn.
“The Deathly Hallows” was dedicated by JK Rowling to her husband Neil Murray, her children, her mother, her sister and all the readers who remained faithful to the saga until the end.
It is a verse shaped like a lightning bolt, illustrating the famous Harry Potter scar that everyone recognizes.
Charles Bukowski - ”Postman"
“This is presented as a fiction book and is not dedicated to anyone.”
Stephen King - “Wolves of Calla”
“This book is for Frank Muller who hears the voices in my head.”
One of our favorite dedications is the one written in the book “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.” It is written by C.S. Lewis to his daughter. The dedication goes,
“I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather.”
What we like the most about this book dedication is that it is simple, yet touches a reader’s heart. It also carries a range of emotions and a timeless choice of words that creates a soft spot in your heart for the author.
To Whom an Author Can Dedicate Their Book
You can dedicate your book to pretty much anyone you want. The purpose is entirely to thank someone or to write about someone who motivated you. The following is a brief list of people authors usually write a book dedication for:
Co-authors and editors
There are many other people you can dedicate your book to. Just make sure you are naming any and every one who is behind the completion of your book. You may shorten the list by identifying people without home you probably would not have been able to complete the book.
Mistakes to Avoid While Writing a Book Dedication
While writing a dedication might seem a simple idea that would come naturally, there are occasions where you tend to make some errors. These mistakes can hinder your book dedication’s potential to be outstanding. Some of these are just mind blocks that you need to overcome before getting on to writing.
Overly long dedication
Writers have a knack for words, but when they are constantly babbling about something without knowing when it stops, it can derail all efforts. A book’s dedication might seem personal, but know it is still a part of literature for your audience. Making ridiculously long dedications sometimes dry out the interest of readers. It loses direction and can be an off-putting first impression of your book.
Afraid of writing short dedications
Some writers actually go out and write a sentence or two words. The simplicity of fewer words is highly underappreciated in today’s world, whereas some writers believe that they must fill space with essays about their loved ones. Dedication is supposed to be an honest reflection of one’s words of praise, acknowledgment, and love for someone. It can be said in a simple way, providing a strong punch to it.
Writing a generic statement
If your dedication is for someone close to you, the worst mistake is merely adding words that one might pick off the internet. A dedication should carry a personal and sentimental value. It is often maintained with a personal touch, some quirky or enchanting phrase that is of common knowledge between you and the dedicated person. People often make fond memories with experiences, jokes, words, and nicknames. You may have all of that with someone in your life. Dedication is the best time to bring those up, and it shows how much you value them by remembering the small things.
Thinking you only have to heap praises
Again, dedication does not have to be a thread full of praises. Many authors did not attempt to write a dedication and ended up writing something to pass on that moment. They established the idea that they do not feel the need to dedicate their book to someone. It is completely your choice, and you must never be afraid to do something that you are keen about.
Dedicating a book is your way of thanking your readers for their trust in you, so put on a good face and do your best to do it right. Don’t let them down.
Ways to personalize a dedication.
Prepare several standard dedications at home and vary them according to what each reader transmits to you (a physical detail, the words you have exchanged, any reference to the book’s content).
Improvise, according to the feeling of the moment. Add any detail that makes it original: a drawing, a sealed stamp, calligraphy. Whichever way you choose, the reader must feel that you have dedicated your time and attention to him, as he has done when buying/reading your book.
Add the date and place, so the reader never forgets that moment. Use your writer’s signature, never your personal one. Write clearly. It will be useless if you write great content, but it is not clear enough for your audience to understand.
In a Nutshell
Writing a book dedication is a simple, yet tedious task. You want to write something that speaks to the reader and truly acknowledges the efforts of those who help you out. Our experts at Pro Book Writing can help you out here.
We have written countless dedications for our clients, each of which is personalized to add the emotional touch an author wants.
If you're looking for help writing a best-seller, need an editor, or simply want a publisher to take your book to the top, Pro Book Writing can help. Our book writing and publishing experts have already helped several authors find success.
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