Writing nonfiction often requires authors to use citations throughout their book. A citation is a formal way of giving credit for material used or referenced from another source, such as a book, journal, or website. Understanding citation best practices for nonfiction, including why, when, and how to use citations, will help you create a book that is ethically and legally sound.
The best practice for nonfiction writers is to cite any of the following material:
There are many ways to cite references in a book. When choosing a style, consider your book's genre and your publisher's preference. If you're unsure which style is appropriate, research books similar to yours and note which citation style is used most.
Chicago Manual of Style, notes and bibliography citation system:
Sometimes it's not enough to simply give credit for sourced material—you may need to obtain permission from the copyright holder. In some cases, even if you're only quoting a small amount of text, you still may need to ask permission. It's not always about the amount of content that you use, but the percentage of the total work. Another consideration is specifically which part you quote. For example, if you quote the heart of the work, even if it's just one line from a book, you may need to seek permission.
By understanding the best practices for citations in nonfiction, you can create a book that is helpful to your readers and meets the expectations of publishers and the academic community. When you are familiar with how to cite sources from the beginning, you can stay organized and avoid the headache of tracking down sources after you've written your manuscript.
This is very helpful. I didn't realize that I had to permission to quote song lyrics.
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