So, you have worked really hard on getting your manuscript finished. You are now ready and ABSOLUTELY sure that you are done and ready to get published. Before you send the manuscript off to the publisher or book designer, you need to make sure that your manuscript is truly ready and neat and tidy. It is much easier for the publisher or designer to work with an uncluttered document. Here are a few tips for getting your manuscript finalised and ready.
Avoid double spaces – Spaces are needed in certain places, but there should be no double spaces anywhere in the document. Ensure that all your white spaces are functional and single spaces.
Use styles for your document – Using styles makes things easier for you and the publisher. Some formatting doesn’t make it to the layout software the way you typed it. It is better with styles. Learn to use styles for your documents and not formatting.
Underlines and bolds are out – In publishing, underlines and bold are hardly ever used. Most book designers and publishers use italics to emphasise something and not underlines or bolds. Leave them out from the beginning. Boldface is still used for headings in some publications, but it should not feature in the body of your text.
Make a note of special characters – If your manuscript makes use of special characters or diacritical marks, make sure that your publisher knows about it. He or she will be able to advise you on the best way to make sure they are translated correctly and appear as they should in the publication.
Resolve markups before sending – Markups are comments from editors or other readers that need to be resolved before you send the manuscript to the publisher. The publisher will not know what to do with these issues and they should be resolved and completely removed from the document before it reaches them.
Follow these tips and your publisher will love you. Always make sure that you send a manuscript that is as complete as possible with the introduction, quotes, table of contents, etc. The better the quality of the manuscript you send, the easier and faster the publisher’s job will be.