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Why Self-Publishing Writers Need a Style Sheet


Editors use Style Sheets as a guide for treatment of specific items in documents- like language preferences, Punctuation and capitalization, formatting and Layout. Nearly all business have a style guide and editing style sheet is something similar to style guide, but limited to writing only. Multinationals use style sheets for their internal as well as external communication materials; editors and writers use them when they work on manuscripts. The benefits of using style sheets is manifold. It helps in providing a consistency in regard to the writing encompassing spelling of certain items, abbreviations etc. style sheet helps in saving time as one doesn’t need to keep looking at things over and over repeatedly. And finally the financial aspect, as the editor can save time with help of style sheet and can use the saved time for another assignment.

Sometimes, the client specify the style using a style guide If a client specifies using a style guide which the editor or writer use as a reckoner when they come across any contentious stylistic issues. Sometimes, the client share provide an in-house style sheet which they operate in office to ensure standards and specifications are met. However, when they are not provided by the client, the editor creates one to ensure inconsistencies are identified easily and stylistic preferences are identified. These style sheet editing become extremely useful while proofreading a very long document where consistency is to be ensured across hundreds of pages. They are helpful while working regularly for one client as well when he want to ensure consistency across documents.

How to create a style sheet for editing

The purpose of a style sheet is ensuring consistency in a document or a set of documents and hence while creating a style sheet for editing, the following things must be covered:

Linguistic preferences: this shall cover the type of dialect (eg. Which type of English is to be used?) , whether the writing style be academic, formal or informal, spelling preferences, preferred terminology and vocabulary, abbreviations, acronyms that are to be used, the numbers are to be written in words or I numerical only, time and date format, etc.

Punctuation: the comma usage, use of hyphens and dashes, use of single and double quote marks, spacing of ellipses.

Formatting and layout: preferred font size and typeface, usage of bold, italics and underlines, heading and subheading styles, the way to begin new chapters or sections, page numbering style, margin orientation, usage of headers and footers, how to present the images and other non-textual things.

In regard to the linguistic preferences, with the writing style, few areas are to be considered as each writing style has separate specifications. Like for academic writing, information on the client’s chosen referencing style, technical terminologies used, labelling of figures, charts and tables are to be considered in the style sheet. Similarly, in case of fiction or non-fiction, character names and key details, geography of the location, timeline of events and major plot points, slangs and non-standard spellings in dialogues and the presentation of the speech and thoughts of the characters are to be considered.

When one knows what are to be included in the style sheet, ideally the sections are to be broken down for easy reference where each section shall have a clear heading and shall cover one aspect of the document’s style. This shall make the style sheet easier for usage of anyone.

Self-publishing is the way of publishing where the author publishes his own book at his own cost and the publisher is not involved in the process. This is not a new development in the publishing world as self-publishing has been happening for more than 200 years. However, in this age of digitalization, the authors have realized that if professionals are not used in this process of publishing a book, the entire effort of publishing would be futile as the product shall not be able to compete in the market. Hence there is a new set of companies (“Assisted Self-publishing Providers” /”Self-publishing Service Providers” and the like) that have emerged in the market whose focus is providing a wide array of services to the author from where he can select the services required for producing a high-quality book.  In self-publishing, the absence of gatekeepers like literary agents and publishers help in diversifying and providing a space to the author. The earning of an author in self-publishing is much more and often more than 5 times than in case of traditional publishing. And the biggest advantage is the fact that there is more control over the publishing process and decisions are taken by the authors only. Moreso, qualitatively there is no difference between self-publishing and traditional publishing.


Branding has been defined by American Marketing Association saying brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers- hence one may consider a brand as the idea or image people have in mind when thinking about specific products, services, and activities of a company. A product can be easily copied by other players in a market, but a brand will always be unique.  A typical example is Pepsi and Coca-Cola- both tastes very similar, however for some reason, some people feel more connected to Coca-Cola, others to Pepsi. To build a brand, a marketing team follow a four-fold step.  First, the marketing team must determine the target audience. Here, fist one must determine the prospective buyers. Thereafter sue the available statistics and data of the prospective buyers, check on the strategy the other companies have taken to reach out to them and finally reach out to the prospective buyers to speak to them. Based on the feedback received from the prospective buyers, the product shall be positioned. Defining the company personality is the next step in building a brand and finally a logo or slogan is chosen based on the legworks mentioned earlier.  For a publisher, it is the author who is a brand, and they expect the association of the authors and their types to reflect the mission of the publishing house as a whole and distinguishes it from the competition. However, publishing brands are not on the mind of the readers, and they are only concerned on whether the book is good or a must-have. But most books or eBooks are sold through channel partners such as bookstores and wholesalers who service them and it is the stores that provide access to the consumer. This is where brand loyalty plays a pivotal role as it has a direct impact on profitability.


Proofreading is the process of checking a final draft with utmost care and correcting the typographical mistakes, grammatical mistakes and other issues pertaining to writing before finally the book goes for print. This is the last step of writing and is concerned mostly with the mechanical aspects of writing. Proofreading is the process of carefully checking for errors in a text before the author’s book is published or shared. This is the last stage of writing the book and in this stage, minor spelling and punctuation mistakes, typos, formatting issues and inconsistencies are corrected. Proofreading is extremely important for any book that is supposed to be shared with the readers, whether it’s an academic paper, a job application, an online article, or a print flyer. Based on the skills and budget, one chooses to proofread the text yourself or to hire a professional.