Style Sheets 101: Why You Need One

Filed in Ask the Editor by on October 7, 2021 0 Comments

There are several ways to keep yourself and your writing organized. One great way is by creating and maintaining a style sheet ...

There are several ways to keep yourself and your writing organized. One is a writer’s notebook and the other is to create and maintain your style sheet.

Keeping all your ducks in a row as you write a book is no small feat! Let’s face it, you’re trying to keep track of the tiniest details that live within 50,000 or more words. Plus, you have way more important things to figure out, like your climactic moment and how to actually end your story.

What is a style sheet?

A style sheet is a document you add your preferences to regarding spelling, capitalization, and more for your manuscript. By keeping track of these little nuances, you ensure that you keep yourself consistent while writing. Plus, you’re also able to send your style sheet to your editor. This is a great way to communicate your specific style preferences to your editor so he or she knows not to override your stylistic choices with the Chicago Manual of Style rules.

What should you add to your style sheet?

Here is a list of items you can keep track of on your style sheet:

  • Spelling
  • Oxford comma usage
  • Numbers, times, and dates
  • How you treat numbers
  • Preferred hyphenations and abbreviations
  • Your target age group (especially if writing for children)
  • Any specifics you’d like to remind yourself of or communicate to your editor

Can you send a style sheet to your editor?

Having a style sheet to accompany your manuscript is a great way to communicate the decisions you’ve made for handling specific preferences in your book. Sending this information to your editor is incredibly helpful because you’re taking the guesswork out of the editor’s job and supplying him or her with a roadmap for choices you’ve made that may go against the traditional style found in The Chicago Manual of Style. Plus, if you include some backstory and character descriptions on your style sheet, you’ll be helping your fiction editor out a lot because he or she will be able to identify inconsistent descriptions more easily.

Style Sheets are Important for Book Series

If you plan to create a multi-book series, you’ll want to keep track of all the specific choices you made while writing the first one. This way you can maintain consistency throughout your entire book series. Readers will always notice small differences between books in the same series; more than you may think they would. 

To learn more about editorial services offered by Xulon Press, visit our Editorial Services page or call 1-866-381-2665 to speak with one of our publishing consultants.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


About the Author ()

Erika Bennett is the Content Manager for Xulon Press. She has worked in the publishing industry for more than a decade and her passion is to make sure great books find their way into readers' hands. You can also find her writing on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *