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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Book Dedications - Yes? No? Indifferent? by Kaye Spencer

I’ve written dedications for each of my books (not short stories), and nary a dedication is particularly memorable, witty, or clever. Each one falls into the standard dedication category of:

To So and So, because...

This is perfectly fine, and I'm satisfied. It's meaningful to me and to So-and-So. But way led on to way the more I thought about this, and curiosity set in until I found myself tumbling down a Google-search rabbit hole for book dedications in the hope I’d discover ideas for crafting my own wildly witty efforts. Furthermore, I rationalized going on this procrastination-from-writing-adventure was preparation for my *date-to-be-determined* release with Prairie Rose Publications.

Here are a few book dedication examples:

  • To all those who lead monotonous lives, in the hope that they may experience at second hand the delights and dangers of adventure. (The Secret Adversary - Agatha Christie)

  • To my wife Marganit and my children Ella Rose and Daniel Adam without whom this book would have been completed two years earlier. (An Introduction to Algebraic Topology - Joseph J. Rotman)
  • To Grandma, for being my first editor and giving me the best writing advice I've ever received: "Christoper, I think you should wait until you're done with elementary school before worrying about being a failed writer." (The Land of Stories - Chris Colfer)
  • To my wonderful readers: Sorry about that last cliff-hanger. Well, no, not really. HAHAHAHA. But seriously, I love you guys. (The House of Hades - Rick Riordan)
  • Let me note, finally, that most of the research for this book was done in the libraries of Harvard University, the size of whose holdings is matched only by the school’s determination to restrict access to them. I am delighted to have been able to use these resources, and it hardly matters that I was afforded this privilege only because the school thought I was someone else. (No Contest: The Case against Competition - Alfie Kohn)
  • Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot. BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR. (Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain)
  • For all the storytellers and tale spinners who entertained the public and kept themselves alive, for Alexandre Dumas and Charles Dickens, for Mark Twain and Baroness Orczy and the rest, and most of all, for Scheherazade, who was the storyteller and the story told. (Stories - Neil Gaiman, Al Sarrantonio)
  • So long as there shall exist, by reason of law and custom, a social condemnation which, in the midst of civilization, artificially creates a hell on earth, and complicates with human fatality a destiny that is divine; so long as the three problems of the century–the degradation of man by the exploitation of his labor, the ruin of woman by starvation, and the atrophy of childhood by physical and spiritual night–are not solved; so long as, in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from a still broader point of view, so long as ignorance and misery remain on earth, there should be a need for books such as this. –1862 (Les Misérables - Victor Hugo)
  • To my creditors, who remain a permanent source of inspiration. (The Steel Tsar - Michael Moorcock)
  • To caffeine and sugar, my companions through many a long night of writing. (Ship of Magic - Robb Hobb)
  • To Mom, Who took me to the library. (The Particle at the End of the Universe - Sean Carroll)
  • What can I say about a man who knows how I think and still sleeps next to me with the lights off? (Dark Places - Gillian Flynn)
So, what's your stand on book dedications as a reader reading them and/or as a writer writing them? Yes? No? Indifferent?

And a shameless plug for my upcoming release...

The Comanchero's Bride
A fiesta. A threat. A wedding. A deadly lie.
What Fate brings together, another man's greed rips apart.

Until next time,




  1. Thanks for the first laughs of my day! I love these dedications. I dedicated two books and never remembered to do one for any of the 10 that followed. I guess I used up all my inspiration to dedications.
    Some of these are priceless...and funny if you read closely. Some are quite clever in that you don't know it's a compliment or not.
    I never would have thought to write a blog about this--very good!

    1. Celia,

      I particularly like, and relate to, the rather left-handed compliment/dedication to the wife and kids.I'm fortunate that I can spend a lot of time with four of my six grandchildren, but I have had to rearrange my writing opportunities from whenever the mood struck me to "you have 10 minutes...better write fast". *grin*

  2. Ha, ha. Love these book dedications. I always read the dedications because it gives you a little glimpse into the author's life or mindset when they finished the book. And I must admit, Rick Riordan's literary cliffhanger was simply cruel.

    1. Keena,

      I've only read Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books, but this cliffhanger reference is intriguing. I read the dedication, the copyright page, the prologue, the epilogue... every page, for the reason you said: for the glimpse into the author's mindset.

      Thanks for commenting.

  3. I don't always read the dedications. I'm interested in the story that follows. Still, there are times when, after finishing the book, I go back and read the 'preview'.

    The dedications you chose, I love. Still, I'm probably indifferent, even though I'm in a few book dedications. Doris/Angela

    1. Doris,

      It is flattering to be mentioned in a book dedication, and I have one. I've only specifically named a person in one of my dedications.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  4. I can see that I really need to up my game in the dedication department. Great post, Kaye!

  5. Who knew, right? bwahahaha I feel like such a dedication-slacker. *grin*

  6. These are great dedications. I wish I had written some of them myself. LOL I don't always write a dedication, but when I do, it has a special meaning for me.
    I am fascinated by dedications and read them. Sometimes they're just so-so like the author had an afterthought. But some strike at the heart or the funny bone depending. Books take deep thought, plotting, and a long time investment. They deserved to be dedicated to someone or some cause or ideal that means something special to the author.
    I had friends who supported me through all the years I worked hard at my passion and yearned to be good enough to be published. When at last, I became published, I felt such gratitude toward those few who encouraged me, I wanted to thank them by a dedication. It wasn't eloquent or funny, but it was certainly heartfelt. I wrote a dedication to my father in THE VIOLIN, a fictionalized story about my Uncle John. Because I knew how much my father loved and missed his brother, it was emotional for me, too. I wept when I wrote that dedication. I only wish I could have written the story before my father died.
    Dedications can have deep meaning to authors and the recipients. I like to read them. Loved your post on dedications, Kaye.

    1. Sarah,

      My only heartfelt dedication was in my first published book, and I dedicated it to my three grown children...who have yet to read the book. lololol

  7. Kaye, most of these were hilarious. The others had their own special appeal. I particularly like Twain's, and I feel a certain kinship with Rotman's. ;-)

    I may glance at a dedication -- and read it if it intrigues me somehow -- but in most cases dedications hold significance only for the person or persons mentioned. That said, I do think it's nice for authors to thank those who helped with the book or the author's personal journey.

    Wish I could come up with clever lines like the ones you found. :-D

    1. Kathleen,

      I, too, am lamenting my lack of creativity in writing a dedication. *sigh* Another Agatha Christie dedication that is noteworthy, although I don't know in which book this resides, is: to all who lead monotonous lives.

      That would be me most of the time, so I guess I can safely say she dedicated a book to me. lol