The Art of Saying Thank You

As we all know, books don’t just happen to appear from thin air.  Behind any good author is a support team, equally excited about the dream of publication. They are ones who lend their support, knowledge, time and understanding–the closer ones who make sacrifices and allotments so the author can simply write without worry and distraction.  Thanking those people, the ones who don’t appear on the cover in bolded font and get all the credit, is an honor.

I’ll admit that I don’t always read the thank you pages in the back of a book.  Shame on me, I know those people are important.

But now that I’m tasked with figuring out who was vital in making this book come to life, it’s a whole new game.  There are so many people who deserve credit.  It should be simple … it’s just, after all, an open letter to all the people you have been thanking along the way.  But, it’s not.

How many times, in an award show, has an actor or actress taken the stage to accept an award only to get flustered and forget their husband or producer?  It happens.  It’s human error.  But, it matters.  Although there are no lights and flashbulbs as you put into words your gratitude … leaving someone out might still sting.

I found an amazing “how-to” page that I wanted shed light on who should be thanked.  The credit for the following belongs to


Writing the Acknowledgment:

Follow the steps below to write your book acknowledgment:

Step 1:  Make out a list of who you want to thank and why.  You can do this by hand or write it on the computer.  Print it out so you can examine it.

Step 2:  Take a look at your list.  Is it really long?  You can expect to have one page to work with.  Most book acknowledgments are one paragraph to half a page in length.  Any longer and readers will lose interest.

Step 3:  Consider whether the book will lend itself to a series.  If it does, you can break up your acknowledgment in to sections.  You could thank your family with the first book, friends with the second, and other helpers with the third.

Step 4:  Trim down your list until it fits in half a page or less.  This includes the entire acknowledgment and not just the names of the individuals.

Step 5:  Write a rough draft of the acknowledgment. Make sure you write why you are thankful to the person.  Don’t say, “I want to thank my wife”.  Rather say, “My sweet wife Gillian was so patient with my late nights, and I want to thank her for her faithful support in writing this book.”  You want the person to know that you are thankful and why.  A simple “thanks” is not enough.

Step 6:  Have an unbiased individual review your acknowledgment.  Have them give you suggestions as to how you can make it better.  Is there anything they think that can be omitted?  Take their ideas to heart. It could very well make your book acknowledgment much more exciting.

Step 7:  Re-write your book acknowledgement using the suggestions you received.  Fix any grammatical errors.

Step 8:  Proof read the acknowledgment.

Step 9:  Type the acknowledgment up and save it.  Make sure that the acknowledgment is written using the same font size and color as the rest of the book.  You don’t want it to look out-of-place.

Step 10:  Add the book acknowledgment page to your book and submit it to your publisher.


Good advice, I believe, and a nice templet for making sure you — as the author — continue to dot the “i” and cross the “t” in the home stretch.