Manuscript Preparation, Copyediting, and Proofreading

Q. My publisher has asked me to contact you. Do you have any experience as to whether various publishers of books will use a different style manual, say AP, for back covers and marketing copy (e.g., no serial comma, certain styles for word usage) than is used within the book (CMOS style)? Do publishers use different word spelling on a book’s cover than is used inside the book (e.g., openpit vs. open pit; socio-economic vs. socioeconomic, Website vs. website)? I work for a company whose marketing department has set their own style guide for marketing copy and book cover design that differs from that of the publishing department, who edits the body of the books. Does anyone else do this that you know of?

A. I can only speak for the University of Chicago Press, where we strive for consistency in our books, cover included. The jacket copy is copyedited by a book manuscript editor, just for that purpose. Occasionally the marketers will win the right to depart from style in a certain matter, but on the whole, we assume that readers would notice discrepancies and chalk them up to sloppiness.