Wednesday, August 30, 2017


One of the most special things of having a book published is having the opportunity to dedicate your book to someone. Even royalty consider such a thing an honour, so much so that Jane Austen received a 'suggestion' from the Prince Regent's librarian that she dedicate her novel Emma to him. Despite holding an unfavourable opinion of the profligate Prince, Jane knew ignoring the suggestion might be unwise, and so the first edition of Emma has a dedication that reads (somewhat sarcastically):
His Royal Highness 
the Prince Regent, 
this work is,
by His Royal Highness's permission,
most respectfully dedicated 
by His Royal Highness's
dutiful and obedient humble servant,
the author.

Of course, most of us these days are not coerced into writing dedications to people we don't like, which makes the selection of the people we do dedicate our books to rather important.

Some people seem to prefer the pithy "For so-and-so" kind of definition; others are renowned for writing dedications to (multiple) people that can take up half a page (each)! Personally, I think such such long 'dedications' read more as an author's note, which might be better served at the end - after all, readers want to read a story, not a lengthy dedication to someone they have never met :)

Regarding the dedications of my novels, I am trying to show my appreciation for people who have supported me on my writing journey. My debut novel, The Elusive Miss Ellison, I dedicated to my husband; my second,  The Captivating Lady Charlotte, is dedicated to my parents; my third, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey is dedicated to my sister, with a thank you 'for sharing your Georgette Heyer books with me.' With each of these I've been conscious of balancing the content with the dedication, which is why the most romantic novel had to be dedicated to my husband :)

Of course, now my first three books are dedicated, it leaves the door open for my next novels. Hmm, whom to dedicate to. My children? Good friends? Favourite Beta readers? It's a nice problem to have.

How about you? Do you notice book dedications? Do you have particular methods for selecting to whom you dedicate your books? Do you prefer short and pithy or something more lengthy?

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked part-time as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives.
Her Regency novels are available from Amazon, Book Depository, Koorong, etc

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  1. I always read the dedication. Like you, I prefer the short ones - they feel more meaningful.

    Karen Kingsbury used to write essays to each member of her family. The first time, it was fascinating. But it got tired fast. Especially when I realised reading the dedication echoed the book plot.

    1. Ha! That's rather funny. Yes, note to self: don't do that! Thanks for commenting :)

  2. Hi Carolyn, great post! Dedications are special, and they can provide the author with an opportunity to gift a copy of the book to the people included in the acknowledgements. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)