Should you thank everyone you ever bumped into or pare it all back to the basics? Depends, says the Agony Editor at Q&Q. Personally, I’ve spent the last few books paring back: simple covers, no author photo, short bio, short acknowledgments, etc. But this was an aesthetic choice after years of just following the trends. That said, I have a new and selected coming next Fall that spans 25 years of writing… A few people needed thanked for keeping me in art, food, and friendship over the years. I promise I’ll get dour and Methodist again once this is all done.
Publishing a book is truly a team effort. There are editors and copy editors and designers and publicists. And there are supportive family members and friends, first readers, and the writers who have inspired you. All of these people should be – and deserve to be – thanked. The question is whether all of them need to be included in your acknowledgements section.
Your friend is right about one thing: people do read the acknowledgements. But that doesn’t mean you’re under any obligation to pander to a reader’s expectations. How a reader interprets those acknowledgements and what they say, or don’t say, about an author is completely subjective.