Some time ago, my fiction agent joked that whenever my book sells, my edit letter from the acquiring agent would be blank. Because she knows I'm kind of ridiculous when it comes to language. Well, my deadline is coming up for my nonfiction book now, and soon I'll be getting my first edit letter from a publisher. However, because I'm an editor myself, I figured that if I knew what style guide they use, I could deliver a cleaner copy.
So I asked for the style guide, and yes, they had one I could use. And what's even better is it's based on Chicago, the style guide I generally use and am most familiar with. I read through the eight-page document and found nothing surprising. There were a couple preferences with numbers and percentages (numerals vs. spelling them out, specifically) that I had to update as per their guidelines. But I was kinda tickled that just about everything else was stuff I already knew.
- Yep, I use the serial comma.
- Yes, I space my ellipses properly.
- I already indicate plurals the way I should.
- I was already abbreviating dates with the apostrophe before the year facing the right way.
- I'm aware of all the dash rules--how en dashes indicate ranges and em dashes for in-text offsets and other uses.
- Capitalization is already how they like it.
- I hyphenate almost everything the way they want and don't hyphenate almost everything they don't want hyphenated. There are a couple hyphenation issues I want to keep nonstandard because they will confuse people otherwise (e.g., "nonasexual" and "nonsexual" are different things, and "non-asexual" and "non-sexual" make it clearer).
- Names of publications, TV shows, and blogs were already italicized.
Still, this is not at all intimidating. But who knows if something scary awaits me in an upcoming edit letter. . . .