Writing your acknowledgments section is like deciding who to invite to your wedding. And if it’s your second book, it’s not unlike your second marriage. You have a chance to do it right the second time, to do it better. To include those you’d forgotten on the first go. If you mention one friend, in a certain circle, you open the floodgates, and then how do you not mention that one? It’s not as if anyone is actually expecting to be mentioned, but once they do read the acknowledgments, they might feel slighted if they see others have been mentioned, just not them.
At least with my wedding, I devised a rule. I wouldn’t be inviting anyone with whom I didn’t speak over the phone. I think it’s a good rule. There are of course those forever friends, the ones you’d always invite, even when you don’t have the chance to speak as often as you’d like. But over all, it makes sense to include those you really let into your world, in phone calls and panic attacks. Where do I draw the line when it comes to the acknowledgment section?
I’ve noticed the really big authors sometimes don’t even have an acknowledgments section. And those that do, they keep it short, maybe three lines, six max. I hate the acknowledgments sections that go on and on by the yard. It’s not special to be mentioned in a laundry list. It’s not a real acknowledgment if you’re just lumped in, not singled out.
Before you know it, you’ve acknowledged people who had nothing to do with the book, other than, being part of your life, in either an intimate (your closest friends) or random way (Instant-messenger-only friends who’ve read a chapter or two and simply replied, "I like it."). I also don’t like the blanket phrase, "thank you to all my girls," or "much appreciation for my supportive friends." What a cop-out. I truly wish I had the moxie to only thank and acknowledge those that touched the book in a meaningful way. That would be showing my truest appreciation. For the people who line edited, who said, "I think you can come up with a better word." To the people who genuinely improved Moose. Instead, I fear I’ll be walking down the (book)aisle, staring at the names and faces of those who in the end might be wonderful but who have nothing to do with this book.
Of course, there’s also the issue of where to seat the honored guests. That is, who comes first in the lineup, and why do authors always begin with thanking their publishers and agents or mothers? It’s too predictable. And then there’s the whole matter of the wording of the invitation. Thanks are due… owe a debt to…thanks to…my friends are too numerous to mention here, but I thank them too…my gratitude extents to…
All lines I’ll no doubt be incorporating into my weight list.