If you’ve heard anything about citing sources for a book, then chances are you’re probably extremely confused about what to do.
That’s because there are so many different ways to write citations—from APA to MLA to the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS).
You could literally spend dozens of hours reading different articles online with different opinions about which school of style to follow—personally, I think that would be a big waste of time.
That’s why I’m writing this article: to help you get straight to the heart of writing perfect citations for your book.
How to Write Citations Properly
For the style of your citations, we recommend following the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) guidelines for bibliography entries.
Here are some examples of what the citations would look like:
Grazer, Brian, and Charles Fishman. A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life.New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015.
Smith, Zadie. Swing Time. New York: Penguin Press, 2016.
Citing Sources When Writing a Book
You should put your citations in a separate section at the very end of your book. The section should be headed with one word: Bibliography.
You should then organize your citations by chapter. So, every source you referenced for chapter 1 of your book should be listed underneath the Chapter 1 heading in your Bibliography.
Using Endnotes or Footnotes
Depending on your publisher, you may not need to add footnotes or endnotes inside the manuscript for each of your citations.
Although some authors and publishers do use footnotes or endnotes, it can often be distracting to the reader, and for that reason many publishers don’t use footnotes or endnotes.
Don’t Skip Citations
Citations are very important for a serious work of nonfiction, especially if your book delves into the sciences. When you’re researching and writing your book, make sure to write down citations for every source you’re using, even if it’s just a simple web page, eBook, or Wikipedia entry.
If you fail to properly cite your sources during the research and writing phase, it will take far more time and effort to cite your sources after your manuscript has been written.
There are also some excellent online citation generators that can help make your work even easier by formatting your citations for you in the style of your choice.
You Can Always Change it Later
The good news about keeping your citations simple and following the guidelines mentioned above is that you can always change it later.
If you find a publisher for your book, they’ll make sure your citations are organized properly and follow their house style guide. As long as you follow one style with all of your citations, it should be very easy to work with your publisher to update your citations as needed.
Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments below!
If you liked this article, you might also find these guides helpful:
- How to Find a Literary Agent
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- TCK Publishing Submission Guidelines for Nonfiction
Tom Corson-Knowles is the founder of TCK Publishing, and the bestselling author of 27 books including Secrets of the Six-Figure author. He is also the host of the Publishing Profits Podcast show where we interview successful authors and publishing industry experts to share their tips for creating a successful writing career.