First, it is common when writing a book to suck up hours or days of peoples' time without paying them in return. Maybe you sat with an old sailor for two days in order to learn exactly how to tie knots properly, to get that detail right in your book. Maybe your friend invested a solid week helping you proofread your content and look for typos and other issues. By forever immortalizing them in the book, you give them world-wide praise and commemorate their efforts.
Your acknowledgements page also helps to demonstrate to your readers that you did your due diligence in creating your material. You didn't just make up the part about how a race car driver acts - you were there on the track investigating it. It helps your reader feel reassured that you presented valid information.
I recommend the acknowledgements page go at the end of the book. You want your reader to dive into the book's content as quickly as possible when they open the first page, so they get sucked in and absorbed. You want to remove all hurdles to that connection process. You don't want a "wall of dedication" to act as a barrier to that initial hook.
Also, by having it at the end, they appreciate your book and its content before learning what you went through in order to create it. The acknowledgements page makes more sense once they know the details of what the book is about.
Here is a sample acknowledgements page from one of my medieval romance novels. Yours of course will reflect the people and situations you were in while writing your own book!
My mom, dad, and siblings, who encouraged me to indulge in my medieval fantasies. I spent many long car rides creating epic tales of sword-wielding heroines and the strong men who stood by their sides.
Jody, Leslie, and Sarah, my childhood friends who enjoy my eclectic ways and provide great suggestions.
Peter and Elizabeth May, who patiently toured me around England, Scotland, and France on three separate occasions.
The editors at BellaOnline, who inspire me daily to reach for my dreams and to aim for the stars. Lisa, Cheryll, Jeanne, Lizzie, Moe, and Terrie provided insightful feedback to help my polishing efforts.
The Mensa Writing Group for their feedback and enthusiastic support. Lynn and Dean both offered great advice!
The Geek Girls, with their unflagging support for my expanding list of projects and enterprises. Debi's design help is invaluable.
Academy of Knightly Arts for several years of in depth training and combat experience with medieval swords and knives.
B&R Stables who renewed my love of horseback riding.
My son, James, whose insights into psychology help ground my characters in authentic behavior.
Bob See, my partner in love for over 20 years and counting. He enthusiastically supports all of my new projects.
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