Producing a clear, well-styled text is paramount to the success of your manuscript. For guidance on how to prepare your manuscript for publication and what happens to your text on its route to publication, the following books can be considered your essential guides. They are also the bricks and mortar of the editing profession.
New Hart’s Rules: The Oxford Style Guide
First published in 1893, intended primarily for staff at Oxford University Press, New Hart’s Rules has since seen numerous editions and revisions. The most recent editions combine the more technical, typographical information of the early editions with the broader scope of The Oxford Guide to Style to create a compact, contemporary guide for writers and editors. Its 21 chapters span subjects such as US/UK spelling and punctuation, the use of italics and abbreviations, referencing and bibliographical systems and styles, along with specialist chapters on foreign languages, law, science and mathematics.
New Hart’s Rules is organized and styled with accessibility at its core: clearly illustrative examples and a comprehensive index ensures the guide is self-explanatory throughout.
New Hart’s Rules is available to buy here: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/new-harts-rules-9780199570027?cc=ro&lang=en&
Judith Butcher’s Copy-Editing: The Cambridge Handbook
‘No printer should be without this book. No publisher. No editor and certainly no self-publisher.’ – Writer’s Forum
Judith Butcher’s legacy is here to stay in the publishing industry. Her Cambridge Handbook for Editors, Copy-Editors and Proofreaders, familiarly known as ‘Butcher’, is widely renowned – now in several different languages – for setting the industry standard on good editing practice. As with its Oxford counterpart, Butcher made extensive revisions throughout her lifetime to reflect with the ever-changing techniques and technologies of the industry.
Many editors and proofreaders consider The Cambridge Handbook to be their bible for its clear directions on best practice in copyediting and proofreading – including, but not limited to, questions of style. But how can this industry staple aid upcoming authors in the production of their manuscripts? One of Butcher’s many revisions to her original 1975 text was publishing in new digital formats, such as ebook or mobi. Building an awareness of how these formats differ – and, importantly, how they impact on layout and content – allows you to make informed decisions about the production of your future book.
Butcher’s Copy-editing is available to buy here: https://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/arts-theatre-culture/journalism/butchers-copy-editing-cambridge-handbook-editors-copy-editors-and-proofreaders-4th-edition?format=HB
The Chicago Manual of Style
The Chicago Manual of Style is perhaps the most comprehensive and user-friendly of the style guides, both in its print and digital formats. Its online subscription option means that years of research on style are at your fingertips with a simple click. The Manual’s online platform is also home to an array of completely free video tutorials, blogs, forums and a user-friendly Q&A.
With Part 1 dedicated entirely to the publishing process – spanning books and journals, manuscript preparation, illustrations and permissions – The Chicago Manual of Style is the perfect resource for a first-time author.
The Chicago Manual of Style is available online here: https://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html
Bourchier style sheets
At Bourchier, we create a short, simple style sheet for each project we undertake. For our academic clients these reflect the client’s own House Style Guides, usually with specific adjustments to the book or article in question. For clients who do not have their own specific style preferences, we create a bespoke style sheet, according to individual preference and always with the target readership in mind.
But why do style sheets matter? They matter because, by helping the editor to iron out inconsistencies, misspellings and other such impediments they enhance the credibility of the writing and unclutter the reader’s path, focusing the mind on the text’s arguments and narrative force.