Dedications: How Do You Decide?

Congratulations! You wrote the manuscript, sold the manuscript, and revised the manuscript. You’ve seen the art and finalized the title. Now, it’s time to decide to whom you will dedicate your book.

If you’re like me this is when panic ensues and your first instinct is to dedicate it to every family member (both immediate and extended), all the teachers who impacted your educational years growing up, any friends you’ve managed to make and keep in your- cough- forty plus years on the planet, the librarian at your local library, your pets, your sister’s pets, your brother’s pets, your cousin’s pets… you get the idea.

The imposter syndrome demon that lives rent free in my brain is hard to ignore when it comes time for me to choose whom to dedicate my book to. I fear I will never sell another book and therefore will never have another opportunity to show those I love and appreciate just how much I love and appreciate them through a book dedication.

“Your friends and family know you love them – you don’t have to dedicate a book to them for them to know that,” you say. And I completely agree. And once the rational part of my brain reminds me of this, then I’m able to allow myself to think carefully about the message of the book and make a more reasonable decision.

Sometimes a book is dedicated to special people in your life who have watched, supported, and cheered for you since the beginning of your writing journey. This was true for my first book, Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon.

Sometimes, a book is dedicated to someone who sparked the idea for the story like my second book, Nothing Wee About Me. I also dedicated this book to my mom and dad because, well, because they are my mom and dad.

For my third book, Courage in Her Cleats: The Story of Soccer Star Abby Wambach (which releases today), I thought about the book’s theme of facing challenges and having the courage to believe you can overcome them.

I know, I know, I snuck in another bonus dedication on this one. As someone who has struggled with mental health, it felt important to remind anyone who needed reminding that they are tougher than anything life can throw at them.

I have lots of people that I love who absolutely deserve a book dedicated to them so I’ll keep on writing (and hopefully selling) stories until they all get one.

Kim Chaffee was in seventh grade when she first played soccer and quickly realized she was better at hand-eye coordinated sports than foot-eye ones. She’s always admired the physical and mental toughness of those that play the game at all levels, especially Abby Wambach. Today, Kim carries her courage in her climbing shoes as she learns the new skill of rock climbing. Kim’s latest book, Courage in Her Cleats: The Story of Soccer Star Abby Wambach releases today. She is also the author of Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon and Nothing Wee About Me! (both Page Street Kids) and lives with her family in New Hampshire.

7 comments

  1. Kim, thank you for this delightful post. It’s clear you pour your heart and soul into your dedications, and they are lovely to read. Congratulations on your new book…and your newest passion!

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  2. Sharing your book’s dedication and talking about who you chose and why can also be a fun addition to a book talk or school/library presentation! Congrats on book three Kim!

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  3. I dedicated my first book to my brother Tim who died in an industrial accident at age 19. I always said if I ever published a book, I would dedicate it to him and 35 years later, I did. It reads: To Tim – who will be forever young.

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