The New Book
As I write this I am feverishly in the final days of getting my new book together. My publisher, Mercer University Press, has made it clear from the start I need to have the manuscript to them by the last day of June. Now that is a firm date and not some nebulous some day it will be due kind of thing.
The bulk of the book is completed. All of the stories have been written as have the prologue and epilogue. All that remains now are the acknowledgements and the dedication. Those two tasks should be easy enough to get done – but they aren’t.
With the acknowledgements I always feel I am leaving someone out. Of course there are always more people to thank than I actually list but I do the best I can. Since this is my sixth book you would think I would be more adept at this, but I’m not. I have tons of friends and family I could put in this part but it would make the acknowledgements longer than the actual stories that make up the book.
And what about my fellow authors? There are so many people who have been more than generous to me along the way. They have offered encouragement and suggestions, as well as a safety net when I felt I might fall or fail. How can I possibly name all of them, and if I name only a few what will the others think?
It is a quandary. I have so much respect for these people that I want to get down and kiss their feet. The least I can do is mention them in my thank yous. But again there is that “room” problem. I can’t let this thing run on and on.
I have found my name listed in the acknowledgements of some books and it is a real thrill to see it there. It is also humbling to think the author thinks enough of you to have your name listed as someone who has played a special part in the creation of this book. Knowing how this affected me, I am more than particular about the people I list in my books.
Then there is the matter of the dedication. With the past books I have covered my wife, my sons and all my grandchildren. Now I could start listing my friends but again we have that “who do I select first” question. A dedication is a very special thing. It means this is the one person you want to be remembered in this particular book. It was in effect written for him or her.
I have never had a book dedicated to me so I really don’t know how it feels, but I do know that in the past I have worked long and hard to make the right choice for the person to whom a book is dedicated. I have worked on the selection as well as on the wording of the dedication. I take it seriously, very seriously.
When I am writing the stories included in my books, that is the easy part. I am a storyteller at heart and so putting some of my adventures down on the pages is just like telling a story to a friend. I like to talk and I like to write and the two become pretty much the same. It is when I get to these two sections that I have my trouble. “Acknowledgements” and “Dedication” are two of the most important parts of my book and definitely two of the more difficult aspects.
Pick up a copy of BACK TO THE GARDEN next spring and you will be able to see how I resolved these issues.
Jackie K Cooper is the author of five books, the latest being THE SUNRISE REMEMBERS. His sixth, BACK TO THE GARDEN, will be published by Mercer University Press in the spring of 2011.