Your House Style: Styling your words for maximum impact
by Christina Thomas (Society for Editors and Proofreaders, 2009): 21pp, £5.00 plus basic postage (pbk), ISBN 978 0 9563164 0 0.
Reviewed by Michèle Clarke
This is the fourth title in the SfEP's series of guides and is very relevant to today's publishing scene. There are many occasions when I've received typescripts from publishers with no house style to follow. So my first emails back are full of questions such as: 'Do you use –ise or –ize?' and 'Authors have used two different styles of references – which do you prefer?'.
This little guide will help you to write a style guide for your own work or your publisher's house, or to ask the right questions. The main point stress is: Without a house style, there may well be no consistency, and it is consistency that engenders trust in a publication or even the publishing house itself.
How to write and what to include
It's good to see advice given not only on how to write and what to include in a house style guide, but also how it should be used by an editor once the work has come in, and what to do if you've had conflicting guidance or none at all.
There's also help on web style guides and other style guides in print, both general and from publishers and newspapers. A booklet worthy of any publisher's, writer's or editor's shelf.