Everything changes. The Associated Press Stylebook and the Chicago Manual of Style used to be two very different animals. AP was for newspapers and magazines, the world of hard type and lead slugs and timelines. Chicago was for books and the world of traditional publishing. AP didn’t take the Oxford (or serial) comma; Chicago did. AP had no use for the en- or em dash (closed or open). Chicago described it in loving detail.
In this digital world, there’s a new emphasis on keeping up to date. So now both style guides are available as online subscriptions. It’s actually a wonderful way to use AP, since it’s very easy to search for words quickly. I’ve used Chicago’s online service as well in the past. It was more expensive and quite a bit less easy to search for what I needed.
So I decided to buy the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, #17. It comes in hardback at a hefty price, but there is something about having this book at your side that makes you more confident as an editor. I was delighted to see that the typeface has changed inside. They actually bold paragraph headings, making it easier to find what you need!
But furthermore, and here’s the shocker: AP and Chicago now both agree on a very important thing. They lowercase the word internet. Since this was one of the things I always checked for and held the line on when I edited, it was a bit hard for me to swallow at first when they announced the change a few months ago.
Other items they agree on: “email” is a closed word now, no hyphen. That’s pretty sensible. “Website” is spelled like so, not separated as it used to be (“Web site”). And the nice thing is, the World Wide Web remains the same in both style guides. It will take me a while to get used to “the web,” though (ouch).
So I will be turning to Chapter 7.80 in Chicago every now and then, just to refresh my memory. But on the whole, I like this new edition of Chicago; it strikes me that the editors strove for clarity and readability this time, and even flexibility … meeting their old frenemy AP halfway! The book description on Amazon even mentions self-publishing.
In other news, I’ve lowered my proofreading rates to .003 per word, bringing me more in line with other editors who work for indie authors.