Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Please and thank you are the magic words

The really very talented and very, very helpful Emma Darwin (Author of the Mathematics of Love) recently blogged about the issue of acknowledgements in books.
It seems, so I’ve learned from my online writing group, that this is quite a touchy subject. Some people like them. Some people hate them. Some people think they can come across a little false and indeed that they can take away from the business that is being a writer - itself a disgustingly solitary profession, especially in the actually writing stages.
But no writer is an island. My books are indeed written by me, but they would be not be written without the support and advice of others. Yes that can be something as simple as Mr Allan not throwing the head when I turn down some quality time together in favour of a whimsical glimpse into the life of Grace Adams and co. It has also at times for me meant people opening up, very honestly, about their experiences of counselling, loss, infertility and the trials of single-parenthood. I may have rewritten their words to make them fit in with my characters, but such insights into life are invaluable. I’ve got a great imagination but the very last thing I want to do when writing about personal issues is patronise those people who really have been there themselves.
Once the writing is done, a whole other team of people come on board to make things work. Having spoken with other people in the business I know how completely lucky I am to have an agent who doesn’t ignore emails or adopts an “only speak when spoken to” mentality. She’ll kick my arse when I need it, but allows me to kick hers back some times too and she works like a demon to support me. It would be remiss not to acknowledge that publicly.
Similarly I have a publishing house behind me who know what they are doing 100% - and inspite perhaps of their track record as market leaders in Ireland still operate on a very friendly and approachable basis. I also know they have put in hours and hours of their efforts making sure my book had the best chance possible of making it to the bestseller list.
I’m not trying to be false, or arse licking, in my acknowledgements I’m just trying to show that all these efforts are very much appreciated.
And well, maybe I like acknowledgements so much as I’m a nosy cow and love to read about authors’ great aunts and husbands, and the pet names they have for their children. It’s nice sometimes to realise that authors are real people.

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