This, I understand, is the top style guide for publishing in the United States, so naturally, if you're editing for the American market, you need to have it. It turns out to be very sensible, with many explanations, and it is well laid out, with many examples and illustrations. It is also quite comprehensive, and seems to have everything covered. This makes it useful for anybody who has anything to write, as well as editors, proofreaders and publishers.
Yet another author specified the APA style, so I figured it would be easier to get the manual than fossick around on the internet. The book is entitled Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and is in its sixth edition.
It is much slimmer than the AMA manual, isn't as helpful as you might expect, and has some very surprising inconsistencies and omissions. I think this is because it really is aimed at academic research papers in psychology; it was never meant to be used in any kind of book for any kind of audience. If I were you, I'd only follow it if my journal publisher specified.
A journal I was editing for specified that abbreviations listed in the AMA Manual of Style were acceptable, so I figured I'd better buy me a copy. It has lots of useful advice on many technical subjects related to health and medicine, and I am wondering why I didn't buy it before. It also offers helpful tips on US style English, and appears to be well written, with helpful examples and interesting quotations.
Today, I was editing an article on the subject of writing in plain English. This reminds me that the Plain English Campaign have a collection of guides to help in writing clearly.
Not only is this the style guide for Cambridge University Press, but it is a helpful and comprehensive guide in all matters relevant to copy-editors. It has sections on the art of copy-editing, and instructions on applying a consistent style, with both explanation and examples.
For example, today I used it to help format 'short-title' references.
This book is an intelligent guide to better writing. I consult it occasionally on points of usage, or to check the correct use of a tricky word.
I bought this a long time ago in one volume with the Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors. I'm not sure, but I think I got it from that book club where you could buy 3 paperbacks for a fiver and never buy another book again. I've since upgraded to Oxford's New Hart's and an updated dictionary, but I never threw away the old copy. This turned out to be a good thing, because it (and the old edition of the dictionary) is one of the reference books specified by a possible new client.
Lists of journal abbreviations.
You know when you have to have all the references abbreviated, and your not sure what the correct abbreviation is? For this, many lists are required, but hard to find. I have bookmarked this one, which is fairly good (but not perfect).
WHO style guide
Today's paper was for a journal to be copyedited according to the WHO style guide. This is a comprehensive style guide, but there are lots of useful explanations for the unsure writer. Also, there is a PerfectIt set-up sheet to help, if you have invested in PerfectIt.
To settle an argument in punctuation and style, I turned to the New Hart's Rules. This is the style guide for Oxford University Press, and since it is conveniently sized and clearly laid out, and has lots of useful information on languages and specialist areas, it is very handy.