Manuscript Formatting Tips


If you follow a few simple rules when you write your book, you can save a significant amount of time and money when it’s time to get it published.

The rules boil down to: “When typing your document, let the word processor do most of the work.” They reference options available in Microsoft Word, since that’s the word processor most people use. Similar options are available in most word processors.

WordDoc

Don’t worry too much about these rules. I can work with almost any text, as long as it’s stored as text in a computer file of one format or another.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask – there’s a form you can use at the bottom of the page.

  1. The main body of your book should be in a single file. It’s OK if peripheral items like the dedication, introduction, or “About the Author” are in separate files, but if you wrote each chapter in its own file, combine them into a single document before sending it to me.
  2. Use whatever page size and margins you want. I will change them as needed for publication.
  3. Type things in as simply as possible. You do not need to format your book for publication–I’ll do that for you. If you want a specific look, tell me what you want and I will apply that look to your book.
  4. Put a title at the beginning of each chapters or book section. It can be as simple as “Chapter 1”, or something more descriptive.
  5. DO NOT:
    • …use tabs or spaces to indent paragraphs
    • …hit [enter] at the end of every line. You should only press [enter] at the end of each paragraph.
    • …build a Table of Contents – I’ll do that for you
  6. If you do want to do some formatting, use Styles. When you want to change how blocks of text look, do not apply specific fonts or sizes directly to the text. Apply a Style instead.
    For example, if you want to change your default font or paragraph style, edit the “Normal” style. If you want to make your chapter titles look different, apply the “Heading 1” style to your chapter titles. If you want to italicize or indent an entire paragraph, make a new Style, apply the desired format to the Style, and apply the Style to the paragraph.
  7. The only exception to the “use Styles” rule is when you want to apply formatting to text within a paragraph. Examples: Bold, Italics, and Underlining.
  8. If your book includes pictures, insert them, along with any captions, in the appropriate place in your book AND send the original to me as a separate file. Ideally, original images should be .JPGs or .PNGs that are at least 300 dpi, but I can work with most file formats.

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