How To Lay Out Your Manuscript Before You Submit
In this section:
Once you sign your contract, you need to
- lay out your manuscript in a specific way to prepare it for the Design stage
- make sure your style is consistent with your own preferences and our house style
Before you do any of this make sure your manuscript is as good as it can possibly be!
In order to make the design process efficient, we need you to format your manuscript in a very specific way, and upload to us as a Word file. Here’s how to make sure you get it right:
- Firstly, click here to download our Sample Manuscript Layout Word File. It contains all the info you need to format your manuscript correctly. Please read the entire document.
- Secondly, read the rest of this chapter, which provides valuable notes and exposition on how to format your document correctly and advice on how to ensure your style is consistent.
If you want to see how your manuscript is going to look at the end of the process, click here.
Make sure your Normal default document style is set correctly.
For newer versions of Word, click "Home" at the top left.
In the Styles section of the toolbar, right-click Normal and then Modify.
This will show you the default font, size and color. Set these as required (12pt, Times New Roman, black).
We need text without Paragraph Indents. When a Word doc is fed into InDesign (the program the designer uses), InDesign looks for “returns” and puts in an indent automatically. Your paragraphs must have no indents in them. To make sure of this, click Format then Paragraph
To make sure there is no indentation on a paragraph, make sure none in the Special box is selected and Line spacing is single and there is 0pt Spacing Before and After
- "Normalize" your text.
Now your default style in Word is correct, select all your text and make sure it is in the Normal style.
- Select all of your text by pressing CTRL/(CMD on Mac) +A.
- Click Normal text from your option bar up above.
Note: This process will change the formatting on your document, formatting (what was centered, may become left-justified or your italics may disappear, for example, as well as other changes) so be sure to carefully re-apply necessary elements.
- In the rare occasion you might need to indent (like a piece of text for a long quote) then use the ruler bar at the top of the page.
Select the text you wish to indent using the mouse, then slide the bottom manual indent indicator across to where you want it (that is the bit that looks like an inverted pyramid).
- Check the formatting in your document THOROUGHLY
After you do the above, you will need to go through and re-check the formatting.
Make sure everything is Normal text and make the font sizes, line spacing and text justification consistent. If you find you change the normal text and suddenly Word labels it something other than normal text, then it means you didn’t successfully disable Word’s nasty auto-format features.
Keep the layout simple as follows:
- Don't try to design your book in the Word file – the Designer will do this when making the proofs.
- Don't worry about page numbering.
- Do make sure your entire manuscript is in Word's normal style (see instructions below).
- Do use Times New Roman, 12pt for text, 14pt for headings, single spacing.
- The Designer will choose an appropriate font at the Proofs stage. If you have a specific font in mind for the finished book, please make a note in the Author Stylesheet section of your Production page.
- Don’t use grey or colored text. You can have any colour so long as it's black.
- Don’t use double spaces after full stops and after any punctuation like full stops, colons etc. In fact, don’t use double spaces anywhere.
- Do left justify your text.
- Don’t underline text. To add emphasis, use bold or italics.
- Don’t use automatic hyphenation; use hyphens only when they are part of a word.
- Do use a carriage return at the end of paragraphs.
- Don't use a carriage return at the end of lines (except for poems). If you do that, then someone has to take them all out again. This is possibly the most important point of all, and the most expensive to remedy.
- Don't indent paragraphs, as the design program will register the carriage return and do this automatically.
- Don't add an extra space between paragraphs; if you wish to denote a change of subject, please use a line of three asterisks.
- Do use the Page Break feature when starting a new chapter etc.
- Don't use multiple returns to start a new page.
- Don’t use the space or the tab key to indent text - use the ruler bar. The space bar makes different size spaces depending on the other letters in the line of text.
- Don’t indent or tab new lines (turnovers).
- Don’t produce tables of more than 5 columns width (do not use them at all unless absolutely essential).
- Don't use more than five line breaks to separate text. This creates blank pages in most reading devices.
- Don't use the automated footnote feature. All footnotes must be gathered together as manual endnotes. These can cause the ebook conversion to fail! See Footnotes below.
- Do add a blank line before and after indented quotes. The design program does not pick up indented quotes automatically, they have to be done manually, and this will help show the designer where the quote is in the text.
- Do insert a blank line before subheadings.
- If you want a blank line or two – hit the "return" or "enter" key twice and add “ZZZ Insert X Blank Lines”. Be sparing in your use of white space. Too much of it can end up looking like a printing error.
- Don’t be inconsistent, especially with things like using the numeral 0 and the capital O, and the numeral 1 and the letter I. Inconsistencies like this cannot be picked up on a global “search and replace” and have to be corrected individually.
- Don’t use "macros." This is a series of Word commands and instructions that you group together as a single command to accomplish a task automatically.
- Don't add images to the Word document. Images must be uploaded separately and their place in the manuscript marked with zzz. See APPENDICES: Images: Illustrations, diagrams, photos for instructions.
- Don't put in double spaces between paragraphs where the subject changes (they create too many problems, particularly at the top and bottom of pages, and are too easily seen as errors.) Either change the text to avoid the need for them, or put in asterisks, or a subheading.
- Don't include links to book retail sites in your manuscript. If the front-matter or end-matter contain a link to a website that references books for sale other than through Apple, the book is rejected for sale on their platform. If you add a link to your book or Author Page on Amazon, it will be rejected. If there is a link to a webpage that appears to sell books, it will be rejected.
- Do use accents and special characters from the “Symbols” option in your word-processing program.
- Do use en rules for ranges and em rules for a dash in the text.
- Do supply the font for the typesetter if you use mathematical symbols in the text. There are so many different ones around it is better for all if we use yours.
A carriage return is when you press the return button (⏎) on your keyboard in order to move your cursor the beginning of the next line.
You can see the carriage returns in your document in Microsoft Word by clicking the Show/Hide formatting marks on the Home ribbon.
Our feeling is that it’s best to stick with your preferred style, and confine copyediting to ironing out clear grammatical mistakes and making it consistent.
However, we do have a “loose” house style, which we set out below, and which our editors will work towards unless you tell us otherwise.
Please check that you are happy with this style – we cannot change your manuscript back after editing. If you have an alternative preference, make sure you let us know in the Author Stylesheet box.
Never assume that the Copyeditor or Designer will understand what you want unless you spell it out clearly.
There is an Appendix on more detailed questions of House Style.
Because we publish in both markets, UK or US/International spelling is the single main issue in styling. On the whole, we prefer to publish with American spelling.
There is no easy answer to this question.
- If your market is mainly in the UK, use UK spelling.
- If your market is more international, you should probably use US spelling.
- If you are a Canadian author, it's more complicated still. Spelling here is often closer to UK English than US English, e.g. "colour" rather than "color." We leave it to your judgment.
- If your book is written in a poetic style, or if language generally is a key issue, and we’re looking for a discerning readership rather than the mass market, keep with what you feel most comfortable with.
- If you’re an expert in matters of spelling, and want to keep primarily to English, one useful compromise is to use “old American” spellings derived from Old English, e.g. skeptical, organized.
- If you choose UK spelling, accept that many American readers will see mistakes.
- Whether you choose US or UK spelling, please be consistent, and say in the Author Stylesheet box which you want to follow. Our editors may change UK spelling to US/International spelling if you do not say so.
UK readers are more used to American spelling; so if a UK author reads a book which has American spelling, they are less likely to complain.
If an American reader reads a book with UK spelling, they are likely to be more bothered than the other way round.
In addition, most books sold in English-speaking countries like South Africa or Australia tend to have American spelling.
So we prefer American spelling overall (and quite apart from the question of sales, it’s closer to 17th-century English than modern UK spelling is).
- Use "ize" rather than "ise" where possible i.e. "recognize" and "realize," but "advertise."
- Examples of American spelling that differs to UK:
- Acknowledgments, aging, analyze, behavior, center, defense, emphasize, fulfill, insure, neighbor, baptize, baptized, baptism, favor, judgment, leveled, no one, practice, program, recognize, rumor, savior, splendor, traveler, worshiper, worshiped etc.
- The issue, of course, is broader than just spelling. It extends to punctuation, words ("kerb" or "curb," "bonnet" or "hood"—hundreds of them), idioms, abbreviations, etc.
- Please bear in mind that there is often no one single correct way to spell a word. For instance, "yogurt" outstrips "yoghurt" on Google by three to two, with "yogurt" being the norm in the USA, "yoghurt" more common in the UK though both are used, and both used in Canada, along with "yogourt."
- Invest in an American dictionary, such as Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
When we use American spelling, we also adopt American grammar, which most noticeably crops up in whether quotation marks come inside a full stop or outside it.
- UK books tend to use single inverted commas.
- US books tend to use double inverted commas.
- This has been changing in recent years, with the big sellers in the UK increasingly coming out with double inverted commas.
- So we tend to use that as our house style, but will follow author usage i.e. if you have single inverted commas throughout, we will not change them.
The preliminary pages (or “prelims”) are the opening pages of the book.
You do not have to have all of these, but please always provide a contents page for non-fiction.
These consist of (in this order, generally):
- Half title verso
- Title page verso
- Dedication or epigraph
- List of abbreviations
- Any general maps
It’s increasingly common for the first page or two of a book to be used for endorsements and/or reviews, as these will show up first on the Amazon Look Inside feature.
Which endorsements to choose is a question of judgement. It doesn’t look good having too many pages of praise by people the reader hasn’t heard of before you get to the start of the book, and it’s possible to “oversell.” However, short summary statements from reputable sources are helpful.
Lay out your endorsements like this:
An important and fascinating book about the origin, history and impending demise of the ego – humanity's collective dysfunction. The Fall is highly readable and enlightening, as the author's acute mind is at all times imbued with the higher faculty of spiritual awareness.
Eckhart Tolle, bestselling author of The Power of Now and A New Earth: Awakening to your Life's Purpose
- If you already have a book(s) published with us, leave a note for the designer to update the prelims on your previous title(s) to include the current one.
Always a right-hand page and carries the title.
Half-title verso (p.ii)
A left-hand page which may list other books you have written, others in the series, or be left blank. Feel free to add other books whether we are the publisher or not.
Title page (p.iii)
A right-hand page that carries the full title and any subtitle, the name(s) of the author(s) and the company logo.
Title page verso (p.iv)
This left-hand page will be completed by us to fulfill standard legal and bibliographical requirements and includes details of the copyright holders. For ease of ordering by individuals or shops who happen to come across the book and are not familiar with the publisher, we also include details of distributors around the world here.
Dedication or epigraph (p.v):
Used for a dedication if wanted, or contents. Sometimes the dedication may be placed on p.iv if we are short of space.
Pages, generally, begin on a right-hand page and should include:
- Foreword (with the name of the writer)
- Preface and introduction (if any)
- The part titles (if any)
- Chapter titles of the text, together with subheadings within each chapter
- End-matter titles including the Index
Check that the chapter titles match those in the text. Don't add page numbers – these will be added at the Proofs stage.
Written by the author to explain the purpose of the book and its target audience. It’s a chance for you to communicate directly with the reader, establish a relationship with him/her. It usually ends with your name or initials. Personal thanks are, generally, included at the end of the preface.
Usually written by a renowned expert in the subject at the invitation of the author.
Can be listed separately or included in the preface. It is not necessary to ask permission from people to acknowledge them. Acknowledgements for borrowed illustrations and tables should be included in the captions.
For fiction, and certainly for children's/YA, it's better to have Acknowledgements at the back of the book, so that there's less to scroll through on Amazon. Look Inside at the start.
List of abbreviations or acronyms
Any general maps relevant to the whole book
This may form part of the prelims or be included in the text, depending on length. Broadly speaking, if it’s short and by its nature stands outside the text, it should be in the preliminary pages; if it is long, it may be better treated as an introductory chapter to the text and numbered accordingly.
Prelims are traditionally numbered in roman figures in the proofs, which allows for last-minute changes without disturbing the pagination of the main text (Arabic numerals starting with 1 begin at the Introduction—if there is one—or Chapter 1 onwards).
We put a page number on the dedication page but not on the title page, contents page etc. It's a design choice – the designer we use thinks it looks better. It is not necessary to number these pages.
This is how your prelims will look in the designed book, although if you have endorsements, these will occupy page i and ii (see below), and the other pages will thus move forward (no need to worry about left/right-hand pages or numbering in your MS):
- If you have Parts, number them I, II, III, IV and refer to them in the text as Part I, Part II, etc.
- Part titles normally stand on their own on a new right-hand page, with the next (left-hand) page blank and the following chapter starting on a new right-hand page.
- Chapters should be numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 and referred to in the text as Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc.
- Chapter titles should not be too long – certainly below 50 characters (letters plus spaces etc.), so that they can be repeated at the top of each right-hand page as headlines.
- Chapter titles are best in capitals (i.e. the first letter of each word capitalized). If you want upper and lower case, their use should be consistent with the same words in the main text.
- For non-fiction, it is almost always preferable to have chapter titles. For fiction, its more usual not to. If you do not have chapter titles, skip the Contents page, and make a note to that effect in the Author Stylesheet box.
- It does not matter if chapter headings have already been used as titles for articles.
- New chapters start at the top of the next page. If they are short and there are lots of them, as in daily readings, and the length of the book is an issue, they will run on. If that is a problem, make a note on Author Stylesheet.
- Please insert a blank line before subheadings.
- Ensure that the headings within a chapter are consistent and logically ranked.
- Do not use more than three levels of heading (the chapter title does not count). Preferably, do not use more than one.
- Indicate their relative importance by using consistent fonts and/or type sizes for each level of heading and provide an explanatory key on the first page.
- Table headings and figure captions should not have full stops. Subheadings are best in bold, and smaller subheadings within a section, in italic.
- Don't center headings.
- Don’t type chapter and sub-headings in all capitals.
- Type in numbered lists, rather than using automated lists.
- If you want to use other ways of presenting information, such as boxes or tinted panels (tinted by typesetter), mark the first page with the relevant passages. Type “zzz” before and after the relevant text. Similarly type in “zzz” to mark where you want illustrations to appear, as in: zzz Fig 3.
Most copyediting queries are on the end-matter. End-matter headings should be included in the contents.
This might comprise, in this order:
- An Author Biography
- Previous titles: As well as having them mentioned in the prelims, you may also wish to add a more extended look at your previous titles to the end-matter with accompanying description and blurbs.
- Note to reader: An increasing number of authors do want direct contact with readers, and put their website and maybe email address in the prelims or end-matter of the book. You may want to consider this. There are disadvantages – there can be no responses, which might be discouraging; there might be too many, which can get tedious; they might be aggressive, which can be upsetting. But in general, it helps to create a community of readers. Don't mention specific sites, as Apple will reject any book that references a competing site such as Amazon.
- Example: Thank you for purchasing TITLE. My sincere hope is that you derived as much from reading this book as I have in creating it. If you have a few moments, please feel free to add your review of the book at your favourite online site for feedback. Also, if you would like to connect with other books that I have coming in the near future, please visit my website for news on upcoming works, recent blog posts and to sign up for my newsletter: http://www.AUTHOR.com}. Sincerely, AUTHOR
- Notes/References (comprises works mentioned in the text)
- Further reading (suggestions for texts that will provide additional information)
- Bibliography (texts consulted by author, maybe organized by chapter)
We include some copy about the imprint at the back of the book along the lines of:
If you have enjoyed this book, why not tell other readers by posting a review on your preferred booksite. Recent bestsellers from IMPRINT are:
LIST OF BESTSELLING TITLES IN YOUR IMPRINT
Find more titles and sign up to our readers’ newsletter at CLUSTER WEBPAGE. Follow us on Facebook at CLUSTER FACEBOOK LINK and Twitter at CLUSTER TWITTER LINK. Most titles are published in paperback and as an e-book. Paperbacks are available in physical bookshops. Both print and ebook editions are available online. Readers of ebooks can click on the live links in the titles to order.
In the ebook, this end-matter also includes live links to bestselling titles, our website and social media.
Every year, we review this end-matter and update which titles are listed. We tend to focus on the strong sellers. We cannot change the selection for different books, or get into discussions about which titles should be selected. It doesn't imply that you are personally endorsing these titles (though they will be from within the same imprint), just that the publisher is promoting them.
END-MATTER FOR STOP PRESS MURDER BY PETER BARTRAM, ROUNDFIRE BOOKS
Many books do not need footnotes. But if it is a reference-style work, it always helps to cite your sources, particularly for reviewers. They often come to snap judgments on books on the basis of the range of reference used. Give credit where it is due.
Do not use your word processor’s footnote or endnote feature – it does not translate footnotes or endnotes correctly when we feed the Word document through the design program.
If you send in a manuscript that has used this facility we will have to return it to you for amendment.
If you want to use footnotes or endnotes you must enter them manually.
Footnotes at the bottom of the page do not work in ebooks – pages show differently on different ereaders, and if you increase the font size for ease of reading, they are no longer at the bottom of the page. Linking notes is too expensive to do. So if the manuscript comes with footnotes at the bottom of the page, we will ask you to resend it with the footnotes at the end of the chapter.
The position of footnotes in the text is indicated by footnote indicators—superior numbers running serially throughout each chapter.
Present them in the numerical “Vancouver” style. Please don’t use roman numerals. They have to be changed individually, and it takes too long.
You must enter each endnote number in the text in Superscript to make it the right size. Superscript is on the Word formatting toolbar – it is the button that has x2 on it. To superscript, just highlight the item and click on the button, then type the endnotes in manually at the end of the chapter or the end of the book, in the same size type as the rest of the text.
Check that there are no omissions and that the number of notes in each chapter corresponds with the number of notes in the notes section.
If you have used automated footnotes or endnotes, here is how to strip them and add manually:
- Copy and paste all endnotes (in order) to a new document. They will all come out numbered 1, so renumber them manually in the new document.
- Go through the automated superscript numbers in the text one by one.
- Delete the automated superscript number (this will automatically delete the corresponding endnote).
- Replace it manually in superscript (press CTRL+SHIFT+= to superscript the number). Important note: Once you’ve deleted an automated superscript number the next automated number will become 1, so keep track of where you are.
- Copy and paste the list of notes from the new document back into the manuscript (at the end), and label them endnotes.
- Add them in a list at the back of the manuscript under "References."
- Please cross-check that all the references cited in the text are included in the list (and vice versa), and that the name(s) and date match (if using the author and year system).
- Please include the publisher and place of publication for book references, and the volume and page numbers for journals. Most manuscript queries arise from missing or inaccurate information presented in references.
- For more detailed information, and on how to quote internet sources, read the OU Harvard Guide to Quoting References.
We are not an academic publisher bringing out scholarly works. For popular books indices are not necessary. Sometimes, where they might be helpful, they are not worth the time and cost. Reviewers who complain about the lack of an index in a book are usually not familiar with publishing economics.
If you want to use a professional freelance indexer, you can find one via the Society of Indexers (UK) or the American Society for Indexing.
Do consider that, increasingly, most of your books will be bought digitally, where there will be no index, and making an index could be an unsustainable effort in time and cost. Also consider a “Select Index” of a couple of pages; it may be a good compromise, avoiding the need to include everything.
How to create an index by yourself
- Pull out words to be indexed as you do your final edit, and add them to the back of the manuscript. Important words can generally be picked out on a single reading.
- Put a note in the Production-Workflow notes that you would like to do an index. We will send you the final proofs, separately.
- When the final proofs are done, they will be sent to you.
- You can manually search the final proofs to find the correct page numbers that need to be in the index.
- Now you can complete your index and return it to us.
- If you wish to provide a full index, minor topics can be included in the more general ones with a “see” reference to the indexed term. This can be done as the index progresses, or a fuller index can be condensed in this way at a later stage.
- Use single spacing, with each entry beginning on a new line. Use a comma to separate each entry from the first page number.
Important note: when you get the final proofs in the form of a PDF of the book from the designer, your viewing programme may give you two options on how to display pages of the document:
- Numbered 1 onwards in Arabic, regardless of whether or not there are pages numbered in roman as well
- Exactly as numbered, e.g. i, ii for prelims; 1, 2, for main text
When you search the proofs, go for the second option, as otherwise all the page numbers will be out by the number of the prelims.
We get a lot of these, so many that we don't keep track of them... but here are a couple of recent ones:
And just to let you know that the books have arrived safely and in the most trouble-free manner. I am delighted with the look and the feel of them. I think the cover designer has done a magnificent job, as has everyone else connected with this project. I read the whole book through last night and was positively excited by what I read! The only minor flaws I detected were the repetition of the word 'that' at the end of line 14 on page 38 and my irritatingly unnecessary and gramatically faulty writing of the words 'far more' at the end of the last line on page 63. Otherwise it is all perfect - well, pretty close to that! I shall save the world yet, I tell you!!! Please forward this e to John Hunt, Trevor Greenfield and Denise Smith, and have a good day and a wonderful weekend. Regards, Richard.
Richard Oxtoby Trouble with Christianity (on receipt of books)
Could I just say how impressed I am by John Hunt Publishing. The cover of the book is brilliant and the speed of the publishing process puts other companies to shame. David Sunderland - These Chivalrous Brothers
I wanted to take a moment to say thanks to Dominic, Maria, Catherine, and the rest of the staff and management of Roundfire Books for everything they've done to make my new novel Fragile Brilliance become a published book. Everyone involved was so supportive of the book/manuscript from the beginning and I appreciated it so much. Everyone has treated me so well and treated me like a real author, which is something that really makes me feel special. I could not be more pleased with how the book looks and how it was marketed and distributed. My entire experience with you all has just been awesome! Eliot Parker - Fragile Brilliance