"It is my great and now useless regret
that I never wrote anything really worthy
of her attention,
no book that I could dedicate to her."- Raymond Chandler
(of regretting never having
dedicated a book to his wife)
Why should authors write dedications in their novels?
Well, take Christopher Moore's dedication to LAMB which persuaded me to buy the book:
If you have come to this book for laughter, may you find it.
If you have come to be offended, may your ire rise and blood boil
If you seek an adventure, may this story sing you away to blissful escape.
If you need to test or confirm your beliefs, may you reach comfortable conclusions.
All books reveal perfection by what they are and are not.
May you find that which you seek in these pages or outside them.
May you find perfection and know it by name.
Great dedication, right?
A dedication is the first thing a reader sees after the title.
Sort of important don't you think?
At best, a dedication should be reflective of the book's content, an inviting taste of what is to come.
Sadly, many dedications are dreary, non-inviting catalogues
of favorite aunts, perfect spouses and the profoundest platitudes.
Dedications really do tend to bring out the worst in authors.
But with a little effort on your part, dedications can be moving or funny ... or both.
With a bit more thought, you can strive to compose one that is timely yet timeless --
You may fail at that but the effort will improve the dedication over one done just out of rote.
If you bore the reader with your dedication, she may decide the book itself is only more of the same.
I, myself, am very glad I wrote this dedication for HIBBS, THE CUB WITH NO CLUE:
To Sandra Thrasher.
I ask forgiveness from the children who read this book for dedicating it to a grown-up.
I have a serious reason: she is my best friend in the world.
I have another reason: this grown-up understands everything, even books for children.
I have a third reason: she is fighting a cruel illness. She needs a smile.
If all these reasons are not enough, I will dedicate this book to the child from whom this grown-up grew.
All grown-ups were once children -- although few of them remember it.
And so I correct my dedication:
To Sandra Thrasher when she was a little girl.