Swoon Author Olivia Hinebaugh: Beyond the Acknowledgments
If I had to pick my very favorite thing about becoming an author (and there are a lot of favorite things), I’d probably choose having the chance to thank people in the acknowledgments.
Writing the acknowledgments made my manuscript feel even more like a book. As a writer, I always pore over the acknowledgments before I dive into a book. I love seeing who knows whom. I love to discover when two authors I admire are friends IRL. I love seeing just how many people it takes to make a book come together.
Making a book is such a team sport. Sure, I was the one who spent the most hours with these characters, but without the awesome team at Swoon Reads, it wouldn’t be a book. And if it weren’t for the people who have my back, this book wouldn’t even have been written.
In my acknowledgements, I got about three pages to list all the people who have helped The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me become a real book. And writing them felt like the equivalent of writing an acceptance speech at the some big awards show. (In fact, I wrote something to that effect in the acknowledgments.) Seeing those acknowledgments in the pass pages and the advance reader editions was amazing!
It really drives home just how grateful I am for the support I have from friends and family and the wide net of support I get from the writer community at large.
There are people I’ve never met in person but who’ve cheered me on throughout the drafting process. I have writer friends who will challenge me to word sprints, where we set a timer and see how many words we can get in that time. If I hadn’t had these folks checking in with me on social media, drafting books would have been a lonelier and much longer process.
And there were all the people who welcomed baby-writer-Olivia into the fold. The folks who were with me in the query trenches. These people lessened the sting of inevitable rejections and encouraged me to keep following the dream and keep writing. Some of these people were just starting out, too. Some of them were more veteran writers. Some of us got agents and publishing deals before the others, but the camaraderie and friendships didn’t end when we were at different phases of our publishing journey.
I also have people IRL that I can’t imagine writing a book without. I have the world’s best friends and critique partners who are always willing to give my work a read when I need it and encouragement even when I think I don’t need it. Honestly, without these author-mom-besties in my life, I don’t know where I’d be. Giving them each a paragraph in my acknowledgements was a great feeling.
And then there are the people who know me best: My family. Editing The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me was the first time I really had deadlines for anything longer than an article. I needed to spend entire weekends alone editing. I needed my partner to figure out meals and activities and take everything off my plate that wasn’t writing related. I’d always pieced together writing time at odd hours—when my kids were napping or busy playing. It was never all that efficient. Having deadlines was one of the best things that happened to my writing life. I’ve always had the support of my family, but this was on the next level.
And my kids. Gosh, they’re the best. I’m biased, of course. But my older two really understand what I’m doing now. They understand that a book is going to be in the bookstore with my name on it. They understand that I’m always coming up with stories and that I’m doing something I love. I’m prouder of that than about anything else. My youngest doesn’t get it, yet, but I know he will soon.
Then there are the people I’ve met since signing the contract. I’m so lucky I got to work on this book with my editor Holly West. I’m so lucky I got a flashy cover with amazing enamel pin artwork by an illustrator. I’m so lucky that a team of people believed in my book enough to edit it, proofread it, design it, and promote it. Plus! There’s the Swoon Squad. The other Swoon authors are incredibly supportive. When I have questions about the process (both publishing, and the unique Swoon Reads experience) I have a whole bunch of authors who are happy to answer questions and provide support. They are some of the kindest and most talented people I know, and I’m proud to be counted among them.
The life of writing and editing The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me has been like one big exercise in gratitude. Aside from being so grateful for the support, I’m so honored to get to share my story and my work. This is a dream come true, and I’ll probably continue to pinch myself for months to come.
In conclusion, hug a writer. Give a writer a virtual high five. And totally hit me up if you need some writerly cheerleading, because I honestly want to pay the support forward. There’s a lot of love to go around in the publishing/writing world, and getting to write my acknowledgments allowed me to put a little more love into the world.
(I actually mean it! Tell me what you’re working on. I’m on twitter @olivejuicelots and I love meeting writers and readers!)