If you signed a Letter of Agreement to become a Wordsmith client, we created a stylesheet for you!
If you're an academic client with Wordsmith Writing Coaches and we edited a longish bit of work for you, we might have a stylesheet for you, especially if your work had complicated formatting, or if your professor/advisor/journal made exceptions to the standard style guide.
A stylesheet is simply a document that keeps track of the conventions and style decisions that apply to that particular writing project. It helps me as an editor to remember and consistently follow the general conventions and idiosyncratic style choices we made for that document. It also enables other editors to collaborate smoothly on that document: the stylesheet brings them up to speed immediately. A stylesheet is a meta-document, really: a document about a document.
It begins with the basic style guide: Chicago Manual of Style (CMS)? Modern Language Association (MLA)? American Psychology Association (APA)? The dreaded Turabian, or a unique set of submission guidelines?
Then it adds any formatting requirements or observations: make this standard manuscript format, or ebook-ready, or KDP-ready, or Lulu-ready, etc. (Some style guides include strict formatting guides too, like APA and Turabian.)
Then it keeps track of idiosyncratic choices made during the editing process, so that those choices are applied consistently all the way through: allowing a certain character to speak in run-on sentences, or using the spelling "okay" instead of "OK," that sort of thing.
It also serves as a handy repository for editorial questions as they arise, and a place to take notes on conversations with you the author about the work. It keeps all that information in one place, easily referenced during the editing and coaching process.
Normally, a stylesheet is a confidential internal document. We don't tell you that we're creating it, in the same way that we don't tell you that your next invoice is being prepared, or that we've moved you from "potential client/aspiring novelist" to "current client" to "published author" in our database. We just do it, because that's the responsible way to run our business. Most professional editors maintain stylesheets on their clients, and understand stylesheets when they see them, even if they don't conform to an industry standard for stylesheet format. (There isn't one.)
There may come a time when you want the stylesheet that goes with your writing project: if you cancel your agreement with us and take your work to another editor, for instance, and want to bring them up to speed quickly. You have every right to ask for that stylesheet, now that you know that it might exist... and a professional editor has every right to refuse to give it to you. Many professional editors consider it proprietary inside information; after all, it is our own personal notes concerning how we are going about our work.
But I don't mind sharing your stylesheet with you. It might make me nervous if you ask for it: in the publishing industry, it's a signal that you're not happy with me. But I like to take notes longhand, with a pen on paper, so now that you know what's going on, you might recognize that paper I'm writing on during our meeting is, in fact, your stylesheet.