By John W Prince
How do I format my manuscript for publishing?
That’s a question we got often. So, here are five tips to follow.
- Give us your manuscript in Microsoft Word or Apple Pages. Some people like to use Google Docs and we can covert it, but sometimes something goes awry, and information may be lost. You can email the document, give it to us on a flash drive, or SD card. Word processing files are generally small so they can be emailed easily.
- Keep the document formatting very simple. Some authors like to center lines, add additional spacing, indents, play with margins, justification, page breaks, and page numbers. (Don’t do it!) When we get your proofed Word/Pages document we immediately convert it to an Adobe InDesign file. Not only is your Word/Pages formatting discarded, we sometimes have to remove the word processing codes because they interfere with the conversion. That can cause information loss as well as lost time. We like the manuscript single or double spaced, left justified (keep it flush left/ragged right), and with a consistent indent for paragraphs. Do not use the spacebar to center words or create additional word spacing. No need to try to make it look like a book page—we’ll do that for you.
- Speaking of paragraphs: One tab space indent only. Set the tab for any space over one-half inch to one inch. Do not indent with the space bar! (It makes our job much more difficult.) Do not add a space after the last punctuation mark of the paragraph. Do not double space (two “space bars”) between sentences—one space only. (Otherwise, we have to remove the second space.) Do not double space between paragraphs—just “Enter” at the end of the paragraph and one tab indent to start the next one.)
- A header with the book title, page number and other information is OK so long as it is created within the word processing program. (In both Word and Pages, double click at the top of the page, and enter your Header information.) That way we can easily remove it.
- If you are using photos or illustrations in your book, certainly include them in the word processing document to show desired position. (We will place the images as close to the desired position as possible. We are limited by book page size and formatting restrictions.) We will also need a separate folder of the images in high resolution in JPG, PNG, TIF, or PDF format. When images are copied from a word processing document they often lose resolution and sharpness. And don’t center the images or try to get the type to run around them; leave them flush left with type top and bottom.
Authors sometimes say that a manuscript page created using these tips looks ugly. That’s OK. The author’s job is to write the book. Part of our job is to make it look good.
Need advice about formatting your manuscript? Contact us. We’d be happy to help. Info@HallardPress.com.