Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading

Q. At the beginning of each interview in my book, I use an “epigraph” from the interviewee. My publisher, citing CMOS, tells me that the epigraph, which is not signed, cannot be centered. This makes the one or two-line epigraph look like a misprint. Can you tell me what is correct in these cases? The editor has never cited a specific CMOS reference, but just tells me “That’s the way it is.”

A. The position of an epigraph is normally decided by a graphic designer as part of a coherent design for the book as a whole. Depending on the design of the rest of your book, centered epigraphs might look amateurish. Your editor is probably referring to the design specifications, and he or she may be reluctant to ask a designer to change the specs. It’s fine to express your concern and ask whether the design can be tweaked. Centering is only one of many options.