Wednesday 15 February 2023

Bells and whistles

 The edits are done, for the moment. There will be some tidying up next week, I think, but it's almost there. 

One of the last things to be added are the Dedication and Acknowledgements - alright, yes, that's two things. When I am writing them I often wonder how many people actually read them. 

As a reader I find them fascinating - a little glimpse into the writer's life. The Dedication is often very personal, a thank you or a memorial to someone who is or was  significant to the writer. Friends and family usually figure heavily.  Loved ones who have passed on are often commemorated as influences. Family can also feature in the Acknowledgements often with thanks for patient tolerance of author distraction and increased absence as deadlines loom, or apologies, ditto. Dogs and cats also appear, often credited for their vital assistance. 

Acknowledgements are also the place to thank your experts - the people you have consulted for specialist information.  I find those particularly interesting- it's often surprising who has helped and with what. I've had help with forensics, Italian, and for the new one, matters Egyptian. It is scary approaching people, although I have to say it gets easier when you have a few books published, even if you are not a household name. And everyone I have approached has always been willing and gracious in sharing their expertise. It's traditional to point out that any mistakes are down to the author - if you are using facts to write fiction it can happen. Not many of us have the chutzpah of best selling crime writer Harlan Coben who often blames his experts! But if you are a writer of that stature, you can get away with it! 

Agents, publishers and editors often get a mention - if you are an aspiring writer it can be a good source of information on who represents or publishes who - although of course that's no guarantee that they will be interested in your manuscript - but they might.  

The newest addition to the extras is the thank you letter. It is good to be able to thank your readers. You are why we do it, but it is also a plea for those all important reviews. That's not the author looking for flattery - reviews can apparently open up all sorts of opportunities with those mysterious algorithms. Don't ask me how, I have no idea, but if you do have a moment to spare and you enjoyed the book, or even if you didn't, your review counts.  

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