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Updated January 18, 2023
How to make an emotional connection with the reader in a subtle and understated way
This snappy, clever, pithy, succinct, and concise little guide will help you quickly create a great book dedication in four easy steps. The book’s dedication, if written properly, can help you cleverly make an emotional connection with the reader in its own subtle and understated way.
What You Will Learn
1. You will learn how and why a book’s dedication can help you connect emotionally with the reader.
2. You will learn how to decide to whom to dedicate your book.
3. You will learn why adding a few extra words of explanation to your dedication can dramatically increase its marketing power.
Finally, your book is approaching the finish line. And now, you may be agonizing over the book’s final title, the cover design, the acknowledgment page, and the dedication. And everyone has an opinion about that – except for the dreaded dedication.
But don’t worry. The dedication can be one of the easiest things to create for your book with some planning. So, don’t let yourself get stressed over your next dedication. Follow this helpful little guide to creating a great book dedication for your book.
Step # 1. Pick The Right Person Or Persons For Your Book’s Dedication
This process is not as complicated as it might seem at first. You already know who the important people in your life are. Such as family members that significantly impacted your earlier life or more recently.
You also know who was instrumental in helping you get your book started and finished – such as with emotional support, financial support, or actual physical help in putting your book together. If this is your first book to be published, you will most likely want to dedicate it to someone within your immediate family.
You already know the answer if you have a spouse or partner and children. But beyond this, consider an important business partner, colleague, college professor, book editor, research assistant, sibling, or close friend. Your choice is very personal, so there is no wrong decision.
If a second person is equally important to you and your book, don’t be afraid to dedicate your book to two people. But you must limit it to no more than a couple of names. If you dedicate your book to more than this, you will diminish the importance of your dedication.
And don’t forget you still can list the other important people who you want to give recognition in your book’s acknowledgment section. After all, the dedication is reserved for someone that played an essential role in your life and your book.
(FUN FACT: The word ‘acknowledg(e)ment’ is typically spelled with this extra letter e outside of the US and Canada. Inside the US and Canada, we usually don’t use that extra letter e. Not all spellcheck programs will catch this since both are technically correct. Grammarly does see it and explains the difference to you. -JCK)
Step # 2. Use the Appropriate Title for That Person
After you have decided to whom you will dedicate your book, you will need to determine how you will identify them. This is also not a complicated process. This step is also based on your personal preference and your relationship with that person.
The title can range from formal to informal or something in-between. On the formal side, your dedication could be addressed to Dr. James Freeley, or Mr. Deke McClelland, for example. Informally, your dedication could be addressed using someone’s nickname, “Jimbo” or “Bubba,” for example.
There is also in-between formal and informal where your dedication could be addressed to Jim Freeley, Mom and Dad, or My good friend Gene, for example.
Step # 3. Explain Your Reasoning for Your Book’s Dedication
Here is your chance to explain why you chose the person you did for your dedication. Why are you honoring this particular person? This will double as an explanation to that person, as well as to your readers. And by explaining your reasoning to your readers, you are helping to create an emotional connection with your reader.
Although your explanation for choosing this person might only be a small opportunity to make an emotional connection with your reader, you must NEVER pass up an opportunity to emotionally connect with your reader. Remember, everyone reads the dedication.
A. Why Make an Emotional Connection?
You must never forget that to have a financially and critically successful book, you must connect emotionally with the reader. To get buyers to buy your book in the first place, then get them to read the entire book, then like what they read, and then want to buy more of your books, you MUST make an emotional connection with them.
Therefore, do not waste this opportunity. Do not simply write, “For my wife and kids.” This short and vague dedication is not enough. It comes off as lazy and standoffish to the reader.
B. How to Be Creative and Forthcoming
Instead, you should be more creative and forthcoming. For example: “To my wife Michele – it’s a privilege to share my business, life, and love with you. And to my children Eric and Erin – your growth provides a constant source of joy and pride.” This openness will give the reader a small insight into your life and character – which will help solidify the emotional bond between you and the reader.
But a word of caution here. Do not write a funny anecdote or private joke about the person here. This attempt at comedy could easily backfire on you and potentially make you look silly and unprofessional – unless you are a professional comedian, and a joke would be appropriate here.
Step # 4. Address the Dedication
This simple and direct dedication is the simplest and easiest step of the process. Here are a few simple examples: “This book is dedicated to . . . “, “To . . .”, “For . . .”, “I dedicate this book to . . .”, “In loving memory of . . . ”, or simply just start writing your dedication without any formal address. I’m sure you can think of other ways to address your dedication. But the general rule here is to keep it simple and respectful.
As you can now easily see, with some planning, the dedication can be one of the easiest things to create for your book. But it can also be a subtle way to make an emotional connection with the reader cleverly.
And you must never forget that to have a financially and critically successful book, you must create an emotional connection with the reader. So please, don’t underestimate the potential power of your book’s dedication to helping you sell more books.
Questions to Think About
1. Do you have a favorite book dedication you have written?
2. What kind of feedback, if any, have you received about your book’s dedication?