Is a comma needed here:

I am seeking representation for my recent novel, A Better Song.


Yes, it is needed.

If something or someone is sufficiently identified, the description that follows is considered nonessential and should come after a comma.

In your sentence above, the starting phrase: "I am seeking representation for my recent novel" actually is a sufficient sentence, and what comes after is more of a description, that's why you use a comma between them.

Here is an example near to your case: Mark Twain's book, Tom Sawyer, is a delight.


It's not about looking more professional or what seems to be correct. Commas serve a specific grammatical purpose. You set off information in a sentence when the modifier is non-essential, meaning if there is a specific enough noun that the info modifies, then you set off the phrase, clause, or word. Titles and authors are essential; therefore, you do not need to set off either. The only time you need commas in the question of titles and authors is if that information is in an introductory prepositional phrase or part of some other grammatical situation that requires commas such as "In The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne, Hester Prynne suffers tremendously under the weight of her guilt and shame." You would not need commas in the sentence "The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne illustrates Hester Prynne's strugggle to cope with her guilt and shame."

  • Note that "'The Scarlet Letter', by Nathianiel Hawthorne, illustrates...." is also correct.
    – Freddie R
    Oct 30 '18 at 18:30

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