July 23, 2019

End credits for books?


We at Melville House would like to think most of you know how many people it takes to publish a book. It doesn’t just end with the author and their editor, but includes the whole team, as well as proofreaders, designers, our incredible intern staff, and more. Over at the Guardian, novelist/journalist David Barnett discusses the limits of the acknowledgements page and offers insight into a new way of thinking the publishing juggernaut—end credits, just like movies.

Barnett writes of his British publisher, Trapeze Books, latest attempt at righting the wrong of forgotten acknowledgements.

“They asked me if I was amenable to this for my forthcoming novel Things Can Only Get Better, after trialling it in Candice Carty-Williams’s hugely successful Queenie. Of course I said yes—not only because I think it’s a brilliant idea but also because whenever I write my acknowledgments, I always fear I’ve missed somebody out. Looking at the two pages of names at the back of Queenie, I realised that I had previously left out lots of people.”

But other than an author saving face, why would an “end credits”-type acknowledgements page be a good idea? I like what Trapeze editor Katie Brown thinks about it, and how it shows “people—young people, specifically—that there are a wealth of jobs in publishing they could pursue.” Plenty of people new to the publishing career think it all starts and ends with publishing, but what they might not know is how fun so many different aspects of publishing a book might be.

Barnett wonders if people will stick around and read two pages of acknowledgements—but, plenty of people do stick around for at least some of a film’s credits. Surely, you readers are just as excited about who’s behind the books?



Alex Primiani is the associate director of publicity at Melville House.