Question #1: Do you know who you’re writing your memoir for?

If you’re still early in the process of writing, you might not know who you’re writing it for.

If that sounds like you, Biff Barnes at Stories to Tell explains why it’s important to ask yourself: “Who am I writing my book for?” and “Why are those people special to me?

Biff says that knowing your audience will help you pin down your voice, your tone, your vocabulary, what stories to include, and how to shape your book. (Click on “Memoir or Family History.

Question #2 (which is related to Question #1): Do you know what a book dedication is?

The dedication appears on one of the first few pages of a book and often begins with “For” or “I dedicate this book to” followed by names of people for whom you’ve written your memoir

So,tie #1 to #2 and there you have it: Besides all the reasons Biff listed above, you need to know who you’re writing your book for so you can write your memoir’s dedication.

Even in the early stages of writing your story, compose a rough draft of your dedication, knowing you can revise it later, just before you publish.

A word of caution: Don’t confuse a book’s dedication with your acknowledgments page. Lucille Zimmerman at WordServe Water Cooler says the book dedication is not “the acknowledgments page where you thank everyone who ever helped you” write, revise, edit, and publish your story,but rather it’s “that mostly blank page tucked in the beginning of a book, after the title page and publishing credits.”

Lucille is fascinated with book dedications. Her blog post, 7 Ways to Do Book Dedications, includes charming examples for you.

A book dedication should be personal. Joseph C. Kunz, Jr., emphasizes the emotional connection a book dedication can create and writes, “Whether your book’s dedication is only a few sentences or an entire paragraph, you shouldn’t miss this opportunity to give the reader a small look into your life’s story.” Click here to read his post, Book Dedications to Spur Your Imagination, which includes a dozen examples.

Study dedications in books you have on your shelves, or go to the library, or check out the “Look inside” feature on These will give you added inspiration.

When it comes time to craft your final version of your memoir’s dedication, keep this in mind: It doesn’t have to be dull and formal. Get creative. Give your dedication some charisma, some pizzazz. And have fun!

Also consider including an epigram below your dedication. An epigram is a concise statement that illuminates or summarizes your message. If used following a dedication, an epigram helps make your dedication relatable and memorable. It can even make your readers curious

An epigram can be a parable, a proverb, a quotation, a Bible passage, or something clever. It can be a line from a poem, an adage, a maxim, a witticism, a precept, or a prayer.

Here are a few examples of epigrams:

“The Masaai have a saying, Meata nkerai lopeny: A child is not owned by one person.”

“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping . . . will return with songs of joy” (Psalm 126:5-6).

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

So, craft a dedication for your memoir.

Make it special

Create a dedication with grace and charm and wit

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