So how do you avoid inadvertently offending your editor in the acknowledgments?
A few rules of thumb:
- Say it loud, or at least don’t whisper. Try to keep your thanks–to everyone–at a fairly standard length and level of detail. Or…
- Exercise variety in the extent of your thanks. By all means, feel free to thank key people at greater length and in finer detail than the colleagues at your brand-new institution who gave you a course reduction so you could complete your book. But if you thank everybody–except one lone somebody–in great detail…? Well… remember the phrase “damning with faint praise”…? Try not to do that.
- Be specific. Call your editor out by name. Mention something he did that you found reassuring, or particularly helpful. For example, “He believed in this project from the start.” Or, “He accepted my calls without fail, and helped me remember the forest when I was in the midst of the trees.”
- Remember that The Press = more than just the editor. There are plenty of moments when the production team has worked hard to give a messy manuscript the sort of design that will enhance the experience of reading it… and they get little recognition. Similarly, the marketing department often gets left out because they’re not heavily involved at the time the book goes to press, but they are going to be vital in the success or failure of your book. If you don’t know their names yet, don’t hesitate to ask your editor for guidance.
The Academic Editor will be taking a brief hiatus for the holiday. Hope you get to enjoy the break and partake of some delicious eating and festivitating!