Big News from The AP Stylebook!

You may (or may not) have noticed that I haven’t done a blog post for several months. I’m still editing, still managing my Christian Editors Association, and still enjoying my family and friends. But I haven’t had any “big news” related to writing or editing to share for a while. Until now!

I just received an e-newsletter from the publishers of The Associated Press Stylebook, the industry-standard guide for journalistic-style publications (the equivalent of The Chicago Manual of Style for books and popular-style magazines). It said that The AP Stylebook is switching from Webster’s New World College Dictionary to Merriam-Webster as their primary dictionary. The change will be made on May 29, 2024.

In this newsletter, they state, “We don’t take such a switch lightly. In recent years, we have seen that Merriam-Webster is more up to date and more in line with our approach.”

For those writers and editors who work with both books (or popular magazines) and journalist-style publications, this is fantastic news! While AP and CMOS agree in many areas, they do have some significant differences–like whether the Oxford comma, aka the serial comma, should always be used in a series of three or more elements (CMOS) or may be omitted if doing so does not present a possibility of misreading (AP). I suppose AP might come up with some exceptions to M-W spellings, but it sounds like they will accept the majority of them. Which will make things much simpler for those who have to keep the different style guides straight.

Want to keep up with trends like these in the writing and publishing world? Of course, writers’ conferences are a great way to do so. But I also highly recommend PENCON, the only annual conference for Christian editors. It’s virtual, so you can attend from anywhere in the world, in the comfort of your own home or wherever you can get online live streams and videos. All sessions are recorded, so you can enjoy them live during the conference (May 1-3 this year) or anytime after, at your convenience.

This year’s keynoters are Twila Belk, Athena Dean Holtz, Burton Laine, and Edwina Perkins. Workshop presenters include Barb Barnes (retired Baker Publishing Group senior trade editor), Katherine Hutchinson-Hayes (book coach/editor for Iron Stream Media), Amy Nemecek (nonfiction editor for Baker Publishing Group),Lincoln Reed (professor of film and media arts at Taylor University), Liz Tolsma (best-selling and award-winning author), Kelley Way (an attorney who specializes in copyright, trademark, and estate planning law), and several established professional freelance editors.

The workshops for PENCON 2024 include:

  • Building (and Keeping) a Relationship with a Traditional Publisher
  • Is Ghostwriting (Collaborating) for You?
  • Copyright Basics and Fair Use
  • The Ministry of Editing
  • Editing Flash Fiction
  • Editing Historical Fiction
  • Maximize Editing Efficiency Using Macros
  • Generative AI and the Publishing Industry

and many more!

While some PENCON workshops are geared specifically for freelance editors, many are equally applicable for writers as they edit their own manuscripts.

PENCON also offers lots of opportunities for virtual attendees to connect with one another, through live chats during sessions and in group Zoom fellowship meetings.

Registration for PENCON is open until April 19.