You’ve written a work of nonfiction! You should celebrate, too, because that’s truly an amazing accomplishment. You’ve researched and read and discovered copious amounts of information to create said masterpiece. It may sound obvious, but that’s the only way to sound unmistakably knowledgeable about your chosen topic—use those authors who came before you, along with established research and credible opinions, as support for your own argument. Separating fact from opinion is imperative to maintaining your credibility as an author.
Now let’s talk about the second element to this whole nonfiction process: including citations for those sources within your work so you give credit where credit is due—or else it’s plagiarism. (And you don’t want to get kicked out of school.) But seriously, if you don’t provide source citations—whether you’ve quoted verbatim from another work or used your own words to summarize borrowed information—you could end up with a whole host of problems. You might fly under the radar, but why would you take your chances? There are a number of ways to cite your sources, and one method of doing so may be more suited to your specific situation than another. Did you use just a few sources when writing your book? A footnote here and there (as needed) may be all you need.
Try not to get overwhelmed when you do take on this seemingly insurmountable task. We know this is an incredibly difficult and complex undertaking, and in some cases, it may take a significant amount of time to complete. We are here to help. Your editors here at Palmetto Publishing Group are happy to respond to any questions you may have about bibliographies, endnotes, footnotes, and everything in between, whether that means holding your hand the whole way through or answering the most basic and simplest of queries.
That’s why we’ve come up with this incredibly helpful guide. Over the next several blogs, we’ll provide a plethora of fantastic information to arm you with a basic understanding of source citations, along with examples to use as templates when you eventually create your own. All you’ll have to do is figure out the relevant source type within the examples provided and then plug in the information for your particular source.
Next time, in the first installment of “Source Citations for Dummies,” we’ll begin to dive deep into (insane) specifics dictated by The Chicago Manual of Style. And remember, if you need to, please get in touch and ask your editors questions. We don’t expect you to know all these rules! Sometimes it’s even difficult for us—and we’re the professionals.