Who Do You Thank in a Numismatic Book?
Over on Coin Update Dennis Tucker of Whitman Publishing published a thoughtful article on who authors should thank when writing a numismatic book. Here's an excerpt.
I added the thank-you meme. -Editor
by Dennis Tucker
"It takes a village to raise a child," the old saying goes, and the same could be said about creating a good numismatic book. This brings to mind the most prolific
numismatic writer of all time, Q. David Bowers. One of Bowers's not-so-secret ingredients of success is an impressive network of helpful collaborators. His long career as an
author has benefited from other researchers sharing their findings and bouncing ideas around (of course, he always returns the favor). This flow of information is good for
everyone involved, not to mention the hobby community as a whole.
When you're writing a manuscript for a numismatic book, don't try to go it alone—look for opportunities to collaborate. And while you do, keep track of everyone who helps you
along the way. You'll want to thank them in your book's credits and acknowledgments.
A credit is public indication of a source of information, ideas, or other content. (This can include scholarly footnotes/endnotes and citations; broad crediting for general
inspiration, numerous acts of help, and the like; or credit for specific content.)
An acknowledgment is an expression of gratitude.
Here are a few types of people and organizations you should thank in your numismatic book. Compile a list or spreadsheet as you work. Creating a manuscript can take months or
years, and it's easy to forget or lose track of contributors if you don't write them down.
Helpful research collaborators. Everyone who answers (or asks!) questions, follows up on leads, shares knowledge, or otherwise aids you in gathering and processing
Assisting organizations. Libraries, museums, archives, history centers, foundations, educational nonprofits, and similar sources. You can thank both the organization and
any particularly helpful staff or officers. Often a communications department or copyright office will provide specific wording for certain kinds of credit (e.g., a museum might
want you to list archive or collection numbers, donor names, or other source information).
Licensors and others who require credit. Unless your book's images come completely from your own photography and/or the public domain, you'll need to license or
otherwise get permission for illustrations. Permission might be granted in exchange for credit in the book, or it might also require payment. Often it will require specific
wording (e.g., "Image courtesy of the Town of Schroeppel Historical Society Museum") spelled out in a contract or permission letter. Keep especially careful track of such
requirements as you go along.
Early readers and editors. Anyone who takes the time to read, critique, and offer feedback on drafts and revisions of your work is doing you a great service. Be sure to
thank them publicly!
Personal inspirations. This can include a formal dedication to a loved one or a colleague or mentor, or broader acknowledgment of the help, sacrifices, or other
inspiration provided by individuals or groups.
Door-openers. This might seem like a "kitchen sink" approach, but it's good form to thank those who don't necessarily roll up their sleeves and dig the trenches, but who
put you in contact, grant permission or entry, smooth the way, grease the wheels, open doors, write letters of recommendation or reference, make introductions, and otherwise share
their own connections and access, either personal or professional. It might be tempting to think, "Well, that person had to say ‘yes' to my request; it's their job"—but ask
yourself, "Could they just as easily and defensibly have delayed or ignored me, or simply said ‘no'?" It doesn't cost you anything to acknowledge professional courtesies.
Excellent points! Thank you. See the complete article for a detailed case study from Dennis's book, American Gold and Silver: U.S. Mint Collector and Investor Coins and
Medals, Bicentennial to Date. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
Who do you thank in a numismatic book?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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