The Chicago Manual of Style and Other Style Guides for Editors and Writers
I love my readers! And with few exceptions, the authors with whom I work, read, rate, and/or review. So it was, recently, that one of my authors loved his review and advised I should submit it to The Bloomsbury Review for possible publication in their magazine. He was very complimentary and assured me the review met their qualifications. That led to the review website and printout of their (four-page) submission guideline. Part of the “Style” instructions includes reference to use of The Chicago Manual of Style.
The Bloomsbury Review…
has been publishing the magazine since 1980 and accepts submissions for book reviews, essays, poetry, interviews, and book-related articles.
They want a minimum of 600 words (well, no problem there–I tend to get wordy) but no more than 1,000 words. The Bloomsbury Review also cites R. R. Bowker figures regarding ISBN numbers issued to more than 275,000 books per year, or an average of 753 books per day, or approximately 31 books per hour. The Review’s limitation of publishing a max of 1,200 reviews per year focuses on, among other arts, literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, biography and includes the self-published. While 85% of their reviews are assigned, the balance is unsolicited. (Uh Oh–it’s not looking good.)
The Book Sold by the Pound–The Chicago Manual of Style
It was not the first time that I’d seen The Chicago Manual of Style noted and I decided that along with that book, I’d also see if my local behemoth library carried it as well as English grammar and publishing book suggestions I’d observed suggested in other articles. Obviously, The Chicago Manual of Style (as well as the AP Style) is an entire college course.
The Associated Press Style Book 2016
The whole thing started with the Oxford (serial) comma argument and lead to the difference between that and the AP (Associated Press) Style Book. But then the AP style is dictated by that industry, that of “quick, space-restricted content.” (i.e., newspapers) [Wanna have a little fun and test your knowledge of the AP Style with a series of 70 automatically scored quizzes? (No, you don’t have to do the whole thing.) Each quiz consists of five multiple-choice questions, but, yes, you’ll need to subscribe and it’ll cost you ($6.95).]
The Chicago style writing uses lengthier verbiage (i.e., books), but as the ProEdit people point out, Chicago and comma start with a “C”. Therefore, it’s easy to remember that the Chicago style always uses the serial comma. The ProEdit people list five basic differences between the Chicago style and the AP style:
- Serial commas
I’ve also seen references to the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing and Grammar Girl. In addition, I also picked up from my library:
- The McGraw-Hill Desk Reference for Editors, Writers, and Proofreaders
- [Homework Helpers] English Language and Composition
- Grammatically Correct-The Writer’s Essential Guide to punctuation, spelling, style, usage and grammar (yawn–notice the lack of the Oxford comma in the title? Oh, the excitement generated by the difference in then or than!)
The MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing went out of print in 2016. Not to worry–there are two additional MLA Style Guides available (on Amazon)–one for Writer’s of Research Papers and the MLA Handbook. The MLA (Modern Language Association) Formatting and Style Guide is offered succinctly online by The Purdue OWL, Purdue U Writing Lab, 2016.
I’m thinking my best resource, however, is the Grammar Girl. If you’ve been writing for very long, you’ve likely crossed her path before. I really like her website, Quick and Dirty Tips (perfect, huh?!). Mignon Fogarty created Grammar Girl and is the founder and managing director of Quick and Dirty Tips. She has tons of expertise behind her, keeps up with the latest in grammar changes, and has the education, experience, and podcasting awards to prove it. She covers wonderfully exciting subjects such as “Singular ‘They,'” (whaa?) “Further vs Farther,” and passive voice–my nemesis.
I wonder what else The Bloomsbury Review requires besides the Oxford comma? Unfortunately, I just wasn’t that familiar with the rules of the Chicago style, but tried the best I was able. In the meantime, I’ll continue to use my Word Spelling and Grammar checker. The time line for response from the Review is 12 weeks. I’ve seen book bloggers refer to them before and wonder if you’ve heard of them or have any experience there. If I hear back from them–you’ll be the first to know. ©2017 Virginia Williams