Different publishing houses prefer different style guides, which is a very handy piece of information to know if you’re a writer or editor. If you are an author who self-publishes, the key is to pick a style you like best and move forward with that, making sure to stay consistent with one style. I tend to prefer CMOS.
Some of these resources require memberships to access their online style books, or you can buy a hard copy as a reference tool. AP and MLA you can access on the Purdue OWL website (see links below). Here are the typical ones I use:
- Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) is widely used for fiction and nonfiction books. http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html
- Associated Press (AP) is used more for journalistic pubs like newspapers, articles, magazines, and PR materials. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/735/02/
- Christian Writer’s Manual of Style (CWMS). I refer to this one a lot when editing Christian books.
- Modern Language Association (MLA) is more for academic papers and writings. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/
- Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors by Kathy Ide. I like this book because it takes all of the most common writing rules from a wide variety of sources and put them into one easy-to-access resource. Her other book, Polishing the PUGS (Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling) is also a mainstay in my library.