I'd been writing for five years and was working on my twelfth novel (all unsold) when The Wild Rose Press unexpectedly offered me a contract for Goals for a Sinner, the fifth in that pile of manuscripts. As you should all know by now, there is a great deal more to getting published than writing the book. The author fills out numerous forms to help with the creation of a cover, aid in PR efforts, and complete the details needed for the production like writing a brief biography--and indicating to whom you will dedicate your tome. While I had some vague ideas about dedications for a few of my books, Goals stumped me.
Being a football romance, who would want that dedication? I fell back on the obvious and dedicated it to my husband, a long suffering man who put up with my hours spent hogging the computer, late or slightly burnt dinners, and my despondency over many rejections. In fact, he'd recently taken me out for Chinese after an especially devastating failure when I was considering giving up. I actually got a fortune cookie saying, "Don't worry about losing. If is it right it happens. So I continued to write. And the next week got my first contract of twenty thus far. My husband never read the book, too afraid of being embarrassed by the sex scenes, but he did contribute by answering numerous questions about football.
After that, I dedicated one to the daughter who reads romances and whose many escapades have made it into some of my books. Then, the other daughter wanted to know where her dedication was. She reads mostly mysteries, and I did acknowledge that in one of my two mystery novels. Can you believe my son wanted his dedication though he does not read my books--but highly recommends them to female friends. His book contained a scene from his childhood, the only part he laid eyes on. I'd always intended to dedicate Queen of the Mardi Gras Ball to my mother (that 12th book I was writing when Goals took off) because I'd used some stories from her childhood of growing up in the 1920's. When it was finally published, I proudly gave her a copy, considering it one of my best books. She did not read it. I received numerous excuses as to why: the print is too small (I sent her an enlarger bar), her glasses weren't working well (bugged my sister to take her to an eye exam). In the end, we discovered she had advanced macular degeneration and could barely see at all. She'd been bluffing for some time. The book remained unread.
I moved on to doing dedications to my sister and two editors, but finally ran out of ideas. I hesitated in dedicating A Trashy Affair, one of my favorite books, because of the title. It is really about recycling, but has quite the slightly trashy hero on the cover. I asked if any of my many librarian friends were game. Two responded, and I mentioned both in the dedication. Unfortunately, one did not like the book, had some P.C. issues about it, and I never heard from the other. I did toss-ups to my Facebook friends on two more books. First one to respond got the dedication. I did warn that it was very sexy in advance. In the meantime, one of them got religion and never read it. Don't know about the other. In fact, I've dedicated books to four people without telling them. None have mentioned this. I assume they also did not read the books or didn't like the story and didn't want to say so.
I do try to personalize my dedications. None of this to R.G. and D.D. stuff for me, though I sometimes don't mention last names lest embarrassment occur. I attempt to tell a bit about them like "wonderful librarian" or "superior quilter" or "loves mysteries". But all in all, dedications are quite tricky. I've always thought it would be great to have a book dedicated to me--but what if I don't like the story?