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Sometimes when we think of the people who have advised us about a project—or regarding life in general—it’s difficult to remember them all.  And when we sit down to compose the acknowledgments section of a book, we may feel overwhelmed by the number of people who have assisted us.  Admittedly, this aspect to our work as authors can be daunting if we wait until the end to begin documenting those who have contributed to the final product.   

The simplest solution is to keep notes on the people and organizations that are of assistance to us as a project develops.  As I have moved from Prospect for Murder to Murder on Mokulua Drive, and from Murders of Conveyance to Yen For Murder, I have copied the Notes and Acknowledgment section of one manuscript to the next.  After removing references that are not pertinent to the current work, I continue to make quick notes as I progress through each book.  By the end of a project, I may not have beautifully composed text, but I have complete references that will allow me to polish the section. 

The easiest citations to track are for people connected to a library, institution, or government agency.  Of course, such organizations often have considerable turnover in staff.  That means you’ll need to verify whether a person remains in the job you’ve cited. Strategically inserting a phrase like “at the time” allows you to recognize a person’s help, even if you cannot verify their position as you go to press. 

Some individuals continue to provide meaningful counsel through several years of an author’s work.  In my case, this category of individuals includes both generalists and specialists.  Writers often need advice at unusual times, so it’s useful when someone is easily accessed, like my husband who is a retired U.S. naval officer.  Since I’ve described Natalie Seachrist (my protagonist) as the widow of a naval officer, I’ve had a number of questions about ships and naval protocols that he was able to answer quickly.

There are also people whose contributions move beyond their specific area of expertise. For example, Kevin C. Horstman, PhD (specializing in geological sciences and digital image enhancement) has shared concise knowledge of the realm of geology.  In addition, he’s provided understanding of geographical features and general scientific terminology.  This invaluable input strengthens my ability to write descriptively.

Through appendices and footnotes, an author can reference the contributions of technical, scientific and artistic professionals in non-fiction pieces.  Unfortunately, this is not appropriate to most works of fiction.  However, you can use prefatory remarks, or dedication of a book or other major work to such people.

As I prepared to produce the audio recording of Prospect For Murder, I was alert to aspects of the work that would enhance the listener’s experience. A major consideration was providing precise chapter breaks, so that listeners will know where they are within the book.  It is also of paramount importance of providing a distinct voice for each of the characters.  As someone trained in theatre arts, I knew that it is easy for a solo performer to become confused in presentation of multiple characters.  Fortunately, I was working with Jim Waters of Waterworks Recording. His experience in audio production positioned him to serve effectively as my director, as well as the recording specialist.

As this first book in the Natalie Seachrist series nears its release date of the end of July 2016, I am preparing Internet announcements through the website of Imaginings Wordpower, plus a new author website and Facebook page.  For these and other purposes, I’ve needed a professional photograph to accompany cover art and promotional text.  This task seems straight forward.    However, on the day of the shoot, the weather was muggy, the activity took place in a space cooled by evaporative cooling rather than air conditioning, and I was definitely having a bad hair day.

Perhaps I should have paid a cancellation fee and rescheduled the event.  But with deadlines looming, I proceeded.  At the end of the shoot I learned that the digital photographic firm could make image enhancements…at $35 for each element they adjusted.  By the time I would have had them amend several parts of the picture I’d selected, I could have spent as much as for the shoot itself.  Fortunately, a friend’s daughter, Lindsey Burlingame, offers graphic art fixes at a reasonable hourly rate.  While this valuable service does not fall within a normal range of publishing credit, in the future she may be one of my advance readers and I’ll be able to acknowledge her professional services in my notes section.

In summation, there are varied means by which you can thank and give credit to those who help you present your thoughts to the public!

Wishing you the best in your writing endeavors, 
Jeanne Burrows-Johnson, wordsmith and design consultant

For more ideas to strengthen your Wordpower© and branding, please visit my website:  Https://

To learn more about the Natalie Seachrist Series and my other writing projects, please visit my author’s website:  Https://

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