Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bibliography Reminders

Most of us learn how to cite sources in high school.  Yet, about 50% of the
nonfiction submissions that I receive for Stories for Children Magazine fail to format bibliographies correctly. Surprisingly, some writers use out of date sources.      In fact, one writer listed a source that had been published over 50 years ago!

Here are some rules to remember: 

*Alphabetize the sources by authors’ last names.
*Italicize book titles and the names of journals.
*Don't capitalize each letter of a word in a book title.
*Include the publishing city and the state if the city is obscure.
*Place titles of journal articles in quotes.
*Aim for five to ten current and reliable sources.
*Try to include primary sources.
*Provide dates for interviews

Don’t get lazy with the bibliography.  Submitting an incomplete or improperly formatted bibliography is unprofessional.  You win not win over an editor with a sloppy biblio. 

My favorite reference is the Chicago Manual of Style.  I refer to it often.  I would suggest that writers invest in a copy or visit the website.  It’s a wonderful source to refer to whenever you’re in doubt.

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