Dedicating a book to someone is a big deal.
And since you’ve no idea whether your current work in progress will be your last, you want this one to count.
We all make mistakes, whether it’s a TMI blog post, an impulse tattoo, or something else.
Some of us just postpone the regret until after we’ve published the evidence.
We’ve got some ideas to prevent your book dedication page from being on that list.
Read on for a detailed how-to and some must-read examples.
- What Is The Dedication Page in a Book?
- What’s The Difference Between a Book Dedication and Acknowledgments?
- How to Write a Book Dedication Page
- 1. Make a list of people, groups, or things you’re considering for the dedication.
- 2. Brainstorm some example dedications with people from this list.
- 3. Make your dedication personal — and as cryptic as you like.
- 4. Remember your target audience.
- 5. Read plenty of examples.
- 6. Once you choose your subject, try a variety of different dedications.
- 7. Choose one and try it out for a week or so.
- 11 Dedication Page Examples
What Is The Dedication Page in a Book?
At its essence, the dedication is a personal note from the author to someone important to them. If you dedicate your book to someone, you show your reader that this person or this group holds a special place for you.
That’s true even if your dedication is sarcastic or tongue-in-cheek. Something about that someone (or group of someone) makes them important enough to call out in one of the first pages of your book.
We hope it’s something you enjoy remembering.
What’s The Difference Between a Book Dedication and Acknowledgments?
Dedication pages in books are similar in some ways to the credits an author might include on the Acknowledgements page, but there are key differences between the two.
Dedications are generally short and focused on one particular tribute. They also don’t have to address someone involved in the book’s creation.
Acknowledgment pages typically include a varied list of people or groups who helped make the book, along with anyone else the author wants to acknowledge for their help or support.
How to Write a Book Dedication Page
Writing the best book dedications involves a process, even if you don’t consciously recognize using one. What seems like a stroke of inspiration is usually the product of behind-the-scenes creative development.
With that in mind, use the following steps to create a book dedication you won’t regret.
1. Make a list of people, groups, or things you’re considering for the dedication.
Start a list of people and things you appreciate. Brainstorm a list of at least ten possible subjects for your book’s dedication. Here are some ideas:
- Your spouse/partner and/or children
- Your parents or one parent
- Another family member
- Your editor
- Your book cover designer
- Your mentor
- Your best friend
- Your favorite actor/celebrity crush
- Your favorite teacher/college professor
- Your therapist
You can keep going. Jot down whatever or whoever comes to mind. Some of them will feel like better candidates than others. But we’re not there yet.
2. Brainstorm some example dedications with people from this list.
Pick a few of the candidates from your list and free-write some dedications — a few for each of them.
Play with different approaches but keep in mind the reasons why this person or group made it to your list. Include that.
People like to know why you’re grateful for them. It’s nice to hear, “You make my life better.” But it’s far more powerful to hear how you make someone’s life better:
- “You challenge me in ways no one ever has.”
- “I trust you always to have my back — but also to be honest with me.”
- “I see in you what I want to create in myself.”
The secret ingredient in every powerful dedication is vulnerability.
3. Make your dedication personal — and as cryptic as you like.
The tone of your dedication will probably depend on which subject you ultimately choose. But be genuine with your words – even if you’re keeping it light or using an inside joke that no one else will understand.
No one else needs to. Even readers who don’t know what you’re talking about can pick up on the clues that you’re being vulnerable with someone important to you.
The person or group you’re dedicating your book to has a backstage pass to your true self. You’re under no obligation to give that to everyone who reads your book.
Just give them a peek.
4. Remember your target audience.
Remember that, even if your dedication is cryptic or “safe,” your target readers will see it. You don’t have to pretend to be someone else for them, but you do need to remember that they’ve taken time out of their day to read your book.
All we’re asking is that you remember to be kind. Be considerate of the readers you’re hoping to attract — the people you’re addressing with your book.
The dedication is part of that. And it’s one of the first things your reader will notice.
Share a bit of yourself. Offer them a glimpse into the personality behind the book. Use the dedication as another way to help your book stand out from the competition.
5. Read plenty of examples.
Look through the Kindle book previews on Amazon — or any eBook previews available with online booksellers — and check out the dedication pages. Spend some time exposing yourself to different kinds of dedication messages from various authors.
You’ll probably remember only a few of them, but those are the ones that will stand out for some reason. Ask yourself why. See if you can explain it in your own words.
The better you can articulate that special ingredient, the easier it is to use it in your own writing. Imagine your readers saying, “I was curious about this book already, but the dedication cinched it for me.”
Have you ever felt like that?
6. Once you choose your subject, try a variety of different dedications.
It’s decision time. Go with your gut and choose the subject of your book’s dedication.
Then brainstorm a list of possible dedication messages for them. Try a variety of different tones or focal points.
Try cryptic. Try off the wall. Try serious. Try everything you can think of.
Just get the ideas out onto a page, so you can make that list and see how it feels to write (or type out) each one. What you’re feeling can strongly indicate whether a particular message is a good idea for your book.
This is not the time to self-edit, though. Ditch the filter and just see what comes out.
7. Choose one and try it out for a week or so.
Once you’ve settled on a dedication message from your unfiltered list, make whatever changes you need to get it just the way you want it.
Then add it to your book’s manuscript and just sit with it for a week or so. Make sure you read it every time you get back to your book — for writing, editing, formatting, or whatever.
Read it out loud, too. Listen to your own voice as you read it. How does it sound to you?
If you feel a need to change it in some way, go ahead. Then sit with that revision for a bit to make sure you still like it days later.
11 Dedication Page Examples
Since we’re encouraging you to read lots of examples of dedications by other authors, it’s only fair to include some in this post. The following may or may not inspire your book’s dedication. We hope they at least provide some entertainment.
Book Dedication to Child Examples
#1 — from Skullduggery Pleasant: Death Bringer by Derek Landry
The author’s tongue-in-cheek tribute to his nieces makes this a memorable dedication. It’s longer than most of the others, but it doesn’t waste a word.
#2 — from Graduate Texts In Mathematics – An Introduction To Algebraic Topology by Joseph J. Rotman
The author dedicates his book to the most important people in his life while acknowledging that his responsibilities to them delayed the book’s creation. It’s both a gentle joke at their expense and a reminder that, ultimately, they come first.
Children’s Book Dedication Examples
#3 — from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
This gentle note to Lucy (after which he named one of the most important characters in the story) from the author is a token of his affectionate regard for his goddaughter.
#4 — from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
In this message, the author charmingly asks the indulgence of his young readers as he dedicates his book to a significant adult in his life.
In this way, he shows his affection for the children who will enjoy the story he’s written for them while acknowledging the child in the person to whom he dedicates his work.
Dedication to Parents Examples
#5 — from Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe
This honest and endearing dedication makes the author instantly relatable to all readers who can picture themselves saying the same thing to their parents. It could be a reference to an ongoing conversation with his mother — or just a gentle “I told you so.”
#6 — from a book by Judd Apatow
Readers who can relate to having lifelong mental health issues that started with the parent-child relationship are already nodding their heads. And as Brené Brown says, one of the most powerful phrases in the English language is “Me, too.”
More Related Articles
#7 — from No Way Back by Matthew Klein
It’s not everyone who is willing to dedicate a book with explicit sexual content to their mother. Klein does, with a relatable caveat. And he can probably guess at her reaction.
Book Dedication Examples to a Friend
#8 — from Skullduggery Pleasant: Dark Days by Derek Landry
For this book, Landry dedicates his work to his “best friend and muse,” whom he calls out as the only person on Earth who doesn’t find him funny.
Landry devotes the page to an affectionate, if back-handed, tribute to a friend who was the inspiration for one of his key characters.
#9 — from Spindle by E.K. Johnston
Right away, fans of Settlers of Catan will note this dedication to a friend who did the game dirty.
Maybe Rachel had the best intentions, but her offense must henceforth be known to every reader of his book. On the plus side, she and the author can still be friends.
Assorted Funny Dedication Examples
#10 — from The (Un)official Teacher’s Manual by Omar Akbar
For this dedication, the author speaks directly to his target audience in a way that tells them he knows (firsthand) their pain. As an author writing the kind of book he wished he had when he was starting out as a teacher, he knows all about the job’s downsides.
#11 — from The Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
Gaiman dedicates this book to his readers to embrace all of them, whatever their connection to him and whether or not they’ll ever meet face-to-face.
He starts by acknowledging a familiar source of disappointment and then does what he can to rectify it with gentle humor and sincere regard.
Now that you’ve looked through the above examples, we hope you found some inspiration for your own book’s dedication page. Take the steps described above and get started on some of the ideas taking up space in your head.
Whatever you write — and to whom — we hope it makes you smile every time you read it.