Dear Ms. Snark, I am, like many others, a wannabe novelist attempting to get my first novel published. I wanted to ask you what you think about bibliographies for novels. Initially, I just thought that with many novels based on solid fact and research, it might be a good way to help point readers in the right direction if they want information about a particular subject covered in the story. The second concern for this is more recent: I've been following Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown's travails in the British courts for allegedly plagiarizing two (alleged) 'non-fiction' books (awright, I admit I have issues with considering 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' anything but the most egregiously dishonest pretense at 'non-fiction' there is) and I wonder if he might have avoided some of this if he'd only included a bibliography. My novel, like Brown's, plays with history and speculates here and there, and I've already included a brief piece in the back delineating what was taken from established history and what I simply screwed around with - but I also cover a few subject areas I *know* people are going to want to know more about. Not too many novels include bibliographies, what is *your* opinion?
Dan Brown's book could have come attached to your own personal librarian and it wouldn't have helped him one little bit. In case you think that lawsuit was about anything BUT trying to pry loose some of the money that book made, here, let me hand you a clue napkin to mop your fevered brow.
I think a bibliography for a novel is last century. This is the stuff you'd put on a website now. Just for starters you can update a web site easily and old editions of your book won't then be saddled with outdated info. Plus you'll save wear and tear on the personal librarian by not tattooing an ISBN above her spectacles.
If you put this kind of info on a website you're much more likely to get caught up in a google search about something OTHER than your book, and that can help draw new readers to you. A bibliography in the back of a book won't be of any help that way at all.
Plus..it's a NOVEL. You don't have to source a novel, you can make it ALL up. Even if you're Dan Brown.