Dedicated

To the Murderati community
Pre-published, published, no plans to ever publish
Under the skin, we’re readers all 

As you may know from the many times I’ve said this here, when I was a young man, I wanted to be a rock star. I could write songs, play the guitar and sing.  I had long hair.  I even perfected my autograph.  I was ready to go. But the world wasn’t ready for Rockstar Rob and eventually those arena stage dreams gave way to reality. 

A wife, a child, another child, a house, dogs & cats.  A different type of dream. 

But all along, in the background of everything called life, I was preparing myself for one of my biggest-come-trues:  writer. 

Being read to (OK technically I wasn’t in control of that).  Reading. Writing. Writing. And then Writing More. From songs to a 7th grade short story writing assignment.  From the tentative beginnings of more than one novel to teleplays (including a Movie of the Week!), to screenplays, and to completed novel. 

When that novel got me an agent, I was thrilled.  When that agent got me a book deal, I was on a high like no other.  Editing, copy editing, galleys, ARCs.  I had no idea what to expect–everything was exciting, shiny and new.  During the copy edit phase, there were two pages inserted into the manuscript.  One for the acknowledgements, the other for the dedication. And while I knew that just about every book is dedicated, I honestly hadn’t thought about to whom mine would be. 

The first person who came to mind was my father because he was my biggest supporter, and died when I was twenty, before ever seeing any hint of success, career- or family-wise.  But my mother had also been a big supporter and often financially backed my dreams.  But if I included my parents, how could I exclude my sister? 

And if I included my initial nuclear family, how could I ignore my current one?  My kids–young adults with very busy lives–could not have cared less.  But this was something my wife made clear was important to her, and Leila is always right (this is why we’ve been together for 35 years, folks) so the dedication of Kiss Her Goodbye reads:

For my father, mother, and sister,
who always supported the dream

And for Leila, Lani, and Matthew,
who long ago fulfilled it 
 

I’ve had seven more books published since (two will be out by mid-year). Dedications vary from a single person to multiple names, all family or close friends.  But I don’t have that large of a family and my circle of close friends is small, so at some point–should I be so lucky–I may run out of people. 

So, Murderati community, do you read the dedication?  Wonder who those people are to the writer? 

If you’re writing your first-to-be-published novel (whether it’s your first or your fourth, fifth, sixth completed novel), have you already thought about your dedication? 

If you’ve been published, to whom did you dedicate your first book and why?  Was it written before you made your deal?  For those out there who have multiple books (I’m talking Tess & Allison numbers), do you start the cycle over once you’ve hit, say, twelve books?  I think Leila would like to have me dedicate every book to her.  😉 

And if you thought from the title of this post that I was going to tell you to Write, Write and then Write More–yeah, well, that too. 

Write, Write, and then Write More.  Whenever you can.  However you can. Because you can.  

13 thoughts on “Dedicated

  1. Zoë Sharp

    Hi Rob

    Most of my earlier books were dedicated to my husband, Andy, because without him they would never have been written. I've also dedicated books to my second agent (for coming to the rescue) to my parents (the plot of THIRD STRIKE revolved around Charlie's relationship with her parents), to my fellow LadyKillers (Danuta Reah/Carla Banks, Priscilla Masters and Lesley Horton) and the latest is dedicated to David Thompson of Busted Flush Press.

    I usually keep an acknowledgements file as I go along, with a brief note about what piece of info came from whom, so I don't forget anyone when I'm compiling that page.

  2. Karen in Ohio

    I do, and I also wonder, especially if the writer is engaging enough to make me wonder about them personally.

    My own first book had a lengthy dedication. I'd change it now, if I could. Oh, well.

  3. JB Lynn

    I do read them and wonder.
    I recentlly had to write my first dedication page and struggled with it mightily. When it came back in copy edits, I seriously considered deleting the whole thing, lol.
    Interesting to know that the struggle continues thru multiple books…I'd better start thinking about the next one now….

  4. TerriMolina

    I read them and the acknowledgments too….I've been on that list a couple of times (so cool) hah
    My first book, a novella, I dedicated to my family as a whole…because it's so large and it would have added more pages to the book. (hah) and my first writer friend and critique partner. Then I added a "special thank you" paragraph.
    I have a new novel coming out (sometime this year) and they wanted the dedication added to the rest of the paperwork they sent for me to fill out. This book I dedicated to my sister, Becky, first then my husband and kids.I also added a short list (so it didn't get too out of hand) of my reader and writer friends who helped/wncouraged me with the book and wouldn't let me give up on it.
    Looking forward to your new releases! Btw, my daughter wants an autographed copy of DATDM (we'll have to figure out how to get that from you). She loved it and wants to start collecting autographs of the books she loves (so if anyone knows Jodi Picoult…haha)

  5. Rae

    I absolutely read the dedications and acknowledgements. They can be really intriguing. I'm also big on author's notes, which are sort of a different thing but often contain background that makes me enjoy the story even more. I'm thinking in particular of Ariana Franklin's notes to her great book, City of Shadows; it was a fabulous story,and her notes made it all just that much more enjoyable.

  6. Debbie

    Absolutly I read the dedications and yes, I wonder who the people are. I can't imagine how anybody narrows down the dedications, anymore than I can figure out how academy award winners narrow down their thank you list. And they have the added pressure of time constraints! If my MS were ever published, I think I would dedicate it to Kathlean Davies, who is not only a character, but a real life friend into her third year living with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).
    Love the post Rob…looking forward to all the comments.

  7. Cornelia Read

    Rob, what a lovely, lovey post.

    My first book was dedicated "To Grace and Lila, who are both sweetness and light." My daughters… most important people in the world to me.

    Although I did consider dedicating to my then-husband: "To James, without whose complete lack of support and encouragement, this book might have been finished twenty years ago."

  8. Rob Gregory Browne

    Hahahaha, Cornelia. I would have LOVED to see a dedication like that. And, yes, I always read dedications. Especially those by my literary heroes, because I know a lot of them hung out playing poker in New York, so it was interesting to see who got the nod.

    Terri, have your daughter email me at rob(at)robertgregorybrowne(dot)com and I'll make sure she gets a personalized copy of Down Among the Dead Men.

  9. Stephen Jay Schwartz

    Great blog topic, Rob.
    I dedicated my first short story to my mom, who deserved it. My short film, about my father's suicide, was dedicated to my father, of course.
    My two books have both been dedicated to my wife and kids.
    The acknowledgments is where I have fun…I basically wrote a love letter to my wife in the acknowledgments for BEAT.
    As far as dedications in the future…I don't see how it can ever be anything other than my wife and kids forevermore.

  10. JT Ellison

    We really can't do it without them, can we?

    My first book's dedication: For Randy and my parents: Love you more.

    I didn't want to leave anyone important out.

    From there on, I've dedicated each to someone who was greatly influential – my brothers, friends, editors, agents, but every single book is also dedicated to Randy, without whom I wouldn't be doing this.

    My acknowledgments are getting more streamlined – they could be a book all to themselves.

  11. Rob Gregory Browne

    My acknowledgments have become more streamlined as well, JT. I think in the last book, I put something like, "To all the usual suspects. You know who you are." I'm sure I went on to name some names, but it seems to get a little redundant after a several books. I'd check, but I don't have the book in front of me right now.

    While I do read dedications, I rarely read acknowledgments, and I prefer them to be at the back of the book rather than the front. I don't want anything to slow me down from getting to that first page.

  12. Robin

    I read the dedications and think they are sweet, etc and makes me wonder about the person, family, etc. No, I never gave it any thought what my first dedication would be but now that you mention it – definitely my hubby who supports me unconditionally.

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