Why I changed the dedication in my book at the last minute.
In December of 2021, I accomplished a long-term goal when I published my first book. The book, titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? is a collection of 80 important life lessons the universe has shared with me. And because the great lessons of life are typically dispensed after enjoying some egg foo young and chop suey, the book title was obvious.
Surprisingly, one of the more challenging aspects of writing the book was deciding who to dedicate the book to. I’m sure that doesn’t seem that hard. Especially when compared to say, writing the rest of a 290-page book. But it was.
First, I didn’t know how good the first book would be. After all, the first pancake on the griddle always turns out a little funky. So I didn’t want to dedicate a subpar book to someone really important to me. Although, I wouldn’t dedicate any book to someone unimportant to me. Hence the conundrum.
Second, from the beginning, I planned to write several books. So ultimately there should be several different dedications. Pairing each book with the proper dedicatee complicates things.
Finally, I wanted a simple, focused dedication. Not a long list of everyone I could ever thank. I would save that for the acknowledgements section in the back of the book. And for when I win an academy award.
Despite the challenges, I initially wrote a dedication that I liked. But late in the process, I altered the dedication several times. Which included both who I dedicated the book to, and what I wrote to them.
9 months after publishing the fortune cookie bookie I had more or less forgotten about the dedication dilemma. That is until this week.
A couple of days ago I opened the original digital layout of the book I received from my publisher, Ripples Media. The layout featured the original dedication. And while I am very happy with the final published dedication, I liked the original one too. It was playful. Yet meaningful. It featured both a pop culture reference and some humor. Which is my favorite kind of writing.
Instead of taking this dedication to the grave with me, I’d like to share it with you as a sort of deleted scene from my book.
The Published Version:
To my children Ava, Johann, and Magnus. I hope this helps.
The Original Version:
I’m dedicating this book to Casey Kasem. It’s a long-distance dedication.
But if I weren’t dedicating this to Casey Kasem (which I am), I would dedicate this to my grandfathers, Alton Archibald Albrecht and Kenneth Adam Sprau. The process of preparing the eulogies for your memorial services changed my life. It made me think about what is important and what lessons I will pass down to others. (I’m not sure if I have to mention that my grandfathers have both passed away or if the eulogy part made that kinda obvious.)
Why The Change
Ultimately, the fact that my grandfathers were highly unlikely to read the book, while my kids would at least crack the cover to see if their names were in the book, inspired me to dedicate it to my offspring.
Truth be told, Ava, Johann and Magnus are the reasons I wrote the book. I wanted to pass along a collection of the best lessons I have learned to them. Because even though I can’t be with them everywhere they go in life, they can always have the book with them. Even in prison. And as the book came together I could tell it was good, valuable, and something I could be very proud of dedicating to my children.
When you write a book, make it great, and dedicate it to people who may actually read your book. Who knows, it may inspire them to empty the dishwasher. At least that’s the dream.
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