Guest Post: Ask the Book Doctor

Style advice for the self-publishing author…

Q: When mentioning an album name in my book, like song titles, do you lowercase conjunctions (and), prepositions (of, for), and articles (a, the), even when they appear capitalized on the album covers?

Actual cover: Wheels Of A Dream

In my book: Wheels of a Dream

A: You have hit on a style issue. Advertising, labels, and such often capitalize things at will. Advertising style is not the same as Chicago Style.

Chicago Style, the standard for the book publishing industry, has specific rules for when things should be capitalized, written out, abbreviated, or punctuated. It says, in part, the following: “In title capitalization, the first and last words and all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinating conjunctions (if, because, as, that) are capitalized. Articles (a, an, the) and coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor) are lowercased unless they are the first or last word.

What you have in your manuscript, Wheels of a Dream, is correct as far as capitalization goes, but I’m not sure if it is an album or a song title. Chicago Style calls for putting quotation marks around the title of a song, but it calls for italicizing the title of a long musical composition, such as an opera or an album.

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Bobbie Christmas, book editor, author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), and owner of Zebra Communications, will answer your questions, too. Send them to Read more “Ask the Book Doctor” questions and answers at

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