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Features | 3 Reasons I Read Novel Acknowledgements (and a bonus)

I never used to read the acknowledgements.

But I've grown to love them, and now it's rare that I end a book without reading the thanks from the author/s which fill a page or two at the back.

Acknowledgements are fun to read because they're not only are a way, albeit small, to celebrate the fact that an author has completed a book (no mean feat!), but they tell you a lot about how the author came to finish their stories, and how we eventually got to hold it in our hands. While some authors take up pages to write their acknowledgements, never leaving anyone out, some keep it short and simple and clump everyone into larger groups. But whatever way they thank, it's so neat to be able to see just who was involved 'back stage', those people who the author counted on to get the story out of their minds and onto paper. Without those people, it's often likely we wouldn't read the book we hold.

Here are three reasons I read novel acknowledgements (and maybe you should, too!):

1. Author support 

Authors love to thank the people who have supported them in the colossal journey that is book writing. You know how they say it takes a village to raise a child? It also takes a village to publish a book. Perhaps even a city. Usually the acknowledgements are filled with those support people who have either aided the author in their every day lives (perhaps a partner doing more around the house, doing the school runs; or friends giving them plot hole solutions or character development ideas; the dog/cat who provided top-notch cuddles when things were getting difficult), or have worked with the author to get it published (the editor, the team of people in marketing at the publishing house etc).

2. Author insight

In any story you're gong to get a little bit of the author's personality, their likes and dislikes, their morals and values interwoven into their books. But in the acknowledgements you also get things like their journey to the end result you're holding, how long it's been stewing in their minds, why they wanted to write this particular tale. You sometimes even get a little bit of their writing process, or specific locations they most like to write and muddle over words and sentences. It's an insight into the author and how they created what they've created.

3. Author shoutouts 

One of my favourite things to read in the acknowledgements are other author shoutouts. Especially in Young Adult/YA books, the community of authors seems quite tight nit. If you're ever on Twitter and you follow a YA author or two, then you might see them tagging each other, responding to each others tweets, encouraging them in their stories, giving shout outs of their own. I love seeing the names of other authors that I've read in the acknowledgements of the book I've just finished. It's so neat to know that authors have each others' backs, and they're willing to bounce ideas off one another, help each out, call each other and generally be a squad of kick-butt storytellers.

Bonus: They're speaking to you

How neat is it when an author addresses you, the reader? Often near the end of the acknowledgements you might find a line or two that begins 'And to you, dear reader', or perhaps 'To my readers', or even something along the lines of 'Thank you, reader, for sticking with me throughout this series'. You know the ones I mean. Getting a shoutout like this is so neat; it connects the author and their support and their publishers with us, the readers.

Here's a snippet at the end of V.E. Schwab's acknowledgments in A Darker Shade of Magic, which I just love:

What do you reckon? Do you read the acknowledgements?

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