With Thanksgiving around the corner (ay yi yi!), I wanted to take a moment to talk about acknowledgments.
For you, the publication of this book may be the culmination of years of hard work, supported by a boatload of people. All those folks deserve public acknowledgment of their contribution to your scholarship (although be cautious about going on at length about your dissertation committee; more on that in another post!).
But the hard work of getting your book published isn’t solely comprised of your hard work, nor of the guidance and assistance of that boatload of people you’ve already thought to thank.
Your editor is probably working her tushie off, too. Consider this:
- You submitted a proposal. Perhaps it was… erm… specialized. And yet, your championing editor saw the inherent value in your core question; she saw the contribution you are making.
- She pitched your project to The Powers That Be. She had to advocate forcefully on your behalf, but—phew!—she succeeded in getting The Powers That Be to support your project.
- Next she skillfully harassed you so you (almost) never knew you were being harassed. She encouraged you in making your planned revisions, and she did her damnedest to ensure that you submitted the manuscript before your data was outdated.
- She identified the best readers for the manuscript. These weren’t necessarily the top scholars in your subfield, but rather the scholars who would read the manuscript in the requisite period of time, offer useful commentary, and care enough to tell the truth about the manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Then she sweet-talked them into reading your manuscript even though it was rather long and they had a zillion other obligations on their time.
- Maybe the manuscript was ready for publication, or maybe she had to fight tooth and nail on your behalf and even expend some personal capital in getting the R&R that ultimately led to the point of publication.
- After the review process she surely devoted extensive time to working with the other teams at the Press to get your book the publication timeline, design, and marketing plan you both felt it deserved.
- And if she really cares—which she does, considering the blood, sweat, and tears expended thus far—she will be its biggest champion after publication.
Say it loud. Or at least don’t whisper.
So when you’re penning those acknowledgments, try to remember that
- even if your editor wasn’t there as you struggled through grad school
- even if she didn’t spirit you away for a weekend of relaxation at The Most Crucial Moment
- even if she wasn’t the one who dug out the revolutionary source material at the library
- she was sure as manure fighting on your behalf when it came time for publication.
There’s no need to gush at great length, but after all that hard work, a generic “thanks to all at Press X”…?
Especially when you’ve managed to be loquacious and specific about your thanks to everyone else.
Try not to do this. Please.