Being the personification of the well-read man is fun, but I also like to write. And there is no better tool to help writers generate quality printed and electronic books than The Chicago Manual of Style. This industry standard is thick, with the latest edition–the sixteenth–weighing in at over 1,000 pages.
The CMOS exists to bring conformity to the book writing process. Each chapter of this reference work gives guidance on grammar and spelling, chapter arrangement, page number placement, employing abbreviations, and almost everything else you might be curious about, at least for publishing books. Can’t recall if a colon goes inside or outside of a closing quotation mark? It’s in there. Are your coworkers fighting over when to start spelling out numbers in text? Chicago to the rescue!
For esoteric questions that might not be covered in the book, the editors sponsor a Question and Answer forum on the Chicago Manual of Style web site. Each month, the site publishes a “best of” list of questions and answers, all served up with a somewhat wry sense of humor. But don’t tick them off. To a recent question asking if it is “smartphone” or “smart phone,” the editors shot back with “Except for those extremely few of you whose moms we are, we are not your mom.”
The new edition of the Manual came out in 2010. Yes, I delayed the inevitable, but the book costs $65 retail and I already had the fifteenth edition. But this latest revision is filled with essential dictates on publishing electronic works, something not needed in earlier releases. For those who eschew paper, the guide is also available online for an annual subscription price of $35 (or less in bulk).
Book Site: www.chicagomanualofstyle.org