Should You Use Footnotes, Endnotes or No Notes?
Footnotes and endnotes are used in printed documents to explain, comment on, or provide references for text in a document. You might use footnotes for detailed comments and endnotes for citations of sources. The Reference tab in your Word document will be your source for both Footnotes and Endnotes. You also will have the ability to ID what type of numbering format you want.
I repeatedly get questions in the AuthorYOU workshops and meetings about the use of Footnotes and Endnotes. My usual advice is–don’t, at least with Footnotes. Unless you are doing an academic or clinical type of book, they tend to clutter a page up and disrupt reading. Otherwise, it’s best for reader ease to either describe in your text the source.
Go with NO Notes when possible and fully describe your resource in the body of your writing. If you choose, at the end of the book, you can have a section with References and include your valuable resources PLUS I think it’s a good idea to add a line as to why you recommend it—just my two bits.
With using an Endnotes page, either at the end of each chapter or a separate section at the end of the book, you will have full details of the referenced material.
Footnotes will appear at the bottom of the page they appear on. If you have several … a page could be half text with the detailed Footnote breaking the page up.
No Notes example: Writing in the body of you work on toxic behavior in the workplace would look like this:
Judith Briles reveals in Stabotage! that if a woman worked in health care, she was 42 percent more likely to be undermined by a coworker and that 55 percent of women employed in a health care environment experienced sabotage, abusive and bullying behavior. Yikes!
—the author (that’s me) of the work is cited as well as the title of the book.
Judith Briles reveals in Stabotage! that if a woman worked in health care, she was 42 percent more likely to be undermined by a coworker and that 55 percent of women employed in a health care environment experienced sabotage, abusive and bullying behavior .[i] Yikes!
—the author of the work is cited as well as the title of the book plus a reference citing at the end of the sentence which will give additional information at the cited work.
Research shows that a woman working in health care is 42 percent more likely to be undermined by a coworker and that 55 percent experienced sabotage, abusive and bullying behavior.[ii]
Blah, blah, blah …
[ii] Briles, Judith (2013). Sabotage! How to Deal with Pit Bulls, Skunks, Snakes, Scorpions & Slugs in the Health Care Workplace. Denver: Mile High Press.
—in this example, the author/title of the book or study are referred to as “research”; the reference citing at the end of the sentence tells the reader to travel to the bottom of the page if more information of actual work is desired. Above is what that would look like.
Your Endnote would show at the end of the chapter … or at the end of the book, with each chapter identified that contained Endnotes. Examples would be:
For end of chapter:
1 Briles, Judith (2013). Stabotage! How to Deal with Pit Bulls, Skunks, Snakes, Scorpions & Slugs in the Health Care Workplace. Denver: Mile High Press.
For back of book or final section:
1 Briles, Judith (2013). Sabotage! How to Deal with Pit Bulls, Skunks, Snakes, Scorpions & Slugs in the Health Care Workplace. Denver: Mile High Press.
Ideally, avoid footnotes unless it’s academic, historical, or reference. Otherwise, move to Endnotes or citing the source within your text in a narrative. Your readers will most likely be happier.
What say you?
Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 37 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms, Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers, and How to Create a $1,000,000 Speech. Her personal memoir When God Says NO-Revealing the YES When Adversity and Loss Are Present is a #1 bestseller on Amazon. Collectively, her books have earned over 45 book awards. Judith speaks throughout the year at publishing conferences.
Throughout the year, she holds Judith Briles Book Unplugged experiences: Publishing, Speaking, Marketing, and Social Media. All are two-day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. Join Judith live for the “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” podcast on the Toginet Radio Network HERE.
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