How to Write a Dedication

And the dedication goes to…

A young man in a white t-shirt is holding a black pen up to his lips with one hand and a notebook in the other hand.
Don't let yourself get stressed over your
next dedication. Follow our helpful tips to
guide you through your next dedication page.

When you have finally completed the gruelling yet wonderful process of writing a book, short story, dissertation, etc., you are then faced with the difficult decision of dedicating this source of all your hard work to someone special. Here are some helpful tips to ease your anxiety and assist you in writing a dedication page.

Picking a person 

The most difficult part of writing this piece of front matter is choosing who you would like to dedicate your work to. Some writers may find it to be the most difficult part of the whole process. When choosing who to write your dedication for, think about the process you just went through and who helped you get through it. This could include a variety of people, including a parent, sibling, or other family member, a spouse or partner, a friend, a supervisor, a colleague, or even a pet. This is a very personal choice and there is no wrong decision.

Naming names

After you have decided who you will write your dedication for, you must decide how you are going to identify them. This will be based on your own personal preference and what is appropriate, according to your relationship with that person. The identification could vary from formal to informal.

On the formal end of the spectrum, your dedication could be addressed to Dr. So and So, Mr. X, or even Mother and Father. In between formal and informal, there are options like Mom, Dad, My sister, My friend, a person’s first and last name (no title), etc. On the informal side, you could use the first name or nickname of someone you know.

Reason for the dedication

The next component in writing your dedication is explaining why you chose this person. Many authors provide a reason for their dedication selections. As with the whole dedication process, this is an extremely personal and subjective decision. The dedication could simply be: “For my mom”; others may choose to explain their decision: “For my mom; without her I would not be here.” You may want to write a funny anecdote about the person, an experience you shared, or even a private joke shared only by the two of you. As seen in our example dedication page, there are many types of dedications, each with it's own style. Your reason is completely dependent on your personality and your relationship with the person to whom you are dedicating your work.

Addressing the dedication

There are many ways you can address your dedication. You could write, “I dedicate this book to …”, “This is dedicated to …”, “To: …”, “For: …”, or simply just start writing your dedication without any formal address. It should be on its own page so everyone will get the hint that it is a dedication page, even if there isn’t any formal address. Take into consideration the person you have chosen to dedicate your work to, your personality, and the formality of your relationship and the address will follow suit.

Alternative dedications

It has been extremely popular over the years to write a dedication page using alternative formats. Authors have used poems or funny anecdotes to express their gratitude. In the past, many dedications were often written in the style of a formal letter.

The most important things to remember when writing a dedication are to keep it simple, concise, and ensure that it truly reflects your personality and your relationship with the person the dedication is for. Remember to get your finished dedication edited by one of our manuscript editors. You don’t want to overlook calling your spouse the pettiest person in the world when you really meant the prettiest person in the world!

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