Footnotes, endnotes, and bibliographies. Few words strike more terror in university students than those three. Citations are hard and often cumbersome, especially for those of us who wrote our papers on typewriters instead of special computer software that makes inserting citations and formatting quick, easy, and accurate.
As much as we may not like them, however, citations are important for non-fiction writers, even in this age of .epubs and .mobis, neither which readily accepts traditional citation formatting from the .doc and .docx most of us use.
That doesn’t, however, mean that we are excused from citations altogether. Bibliographies readily publish to digital formats and remain essential for a professional looking and functioning non-fiction book. Bibliographies are not simply about academic honesty (which should always be the way we work). They add tangible value to our books that readers demand, expect, and will pay for.
Never more was this more noticeable to me than when I read/reviewed two well written, well-researched history books for a friend kind enough to invite me onto his podcast to talk about the differences between narrative history (which I write) and historical fiction. After reading and enjoying his work I looked to the end to find his source materials so I could consult them too, perhaps at the enhancement of my own works in progress.
There was none.
When I asked about it he explained to me his audience is non-academic (same as mine) and therefore he didn’t need citations.
Except you do, not only because non-fiction readers expect to see bibliographies, but because bibliographies do something more than please your university professors. In providing your sources used (either in the form of links to websites or print books using the Chicago manual of style for citation formatting) you add tangible value to your books. You empower your readers to continue learning where your book leaves off. You also empower them to fact check your work which in turn improves your personal credibility as an expert and therefore building your brand.
Bibliographies can also convince readers considering many different similar books on the same basic topic to choose yours. It’s a resource for them that I’ve been told many times by readers themselves they not only value, but specifically picked MY BOOK for.
The same goes for other resources you might offer in appendices. For example, on my latest book, “Hypatia of Alexandria” I publish an appendix featuring the latitude and longitude of several Roman Empire cities. Why is this important? Because it allows readers to tangibly see how latitude and longitude affect the night sky. It’s an astronomy resource for a book about one of the ancient world’s greatest astronomers. With this appendix, you don’t have to take my word for it that the constellation locations change depending on how north or south you are. You have the information at your fingertips to see the star charts for yourself and see the stars themselves when you go outside on a clear night.
The more value you add for readers, the more books you sell. Make your next non-fiction as reader-centric and valuable as you can and watch your sales soar!
WANT TO SHARE THIS TIP? TWEET THIS:
🐦CLICK TO TWEET🐦 #Authortip from @BookDailycom: Why Your Why Bibliography Matters by @laurelworlds www.bookdaily.com/authorresource/blog/post/1996655 #amwriting #authorchat
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born, raised, and educated in Lincoln, Nebraska USA Laurel A. Rockefeller is author of over twenty books published and self-published since August, 2012 and in languages ranging from Welsh to Spanish to Chinese and everything in between. A dedicated scholar and biographical historian, Ms. Rockefeller is passionate about education and improving history literacy worldwide.
With her easy to understand fireside storytelling style, Laurel A. Rockefeller is the historian for people who do not like history.
In her spare time, Laurel enjoys spending time with her cockatiels, attending living history activities, travelling to historic places in both the United States and United Kingdom, and watching classic motion pictures and television series.
Connect with her on Twitter.